By Janelle C. Gergen/Associate Editor, OND
Crookston, Minn. – Tamara “Tamy” Kraft of Cathedral School, Crookston, will receive the 2018 Lead. Learn. Proclaim. Award from the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) for dedication and commitment to excellence.
Kraft is one of 26 recipients among nominated teachers, administrators, diocesan leaders and organizations dedicated to the nation’s Catholic schools. She will be recognized during the annual NCEA Convention & Expo that will take place April 3 – 5 in Cincinnati, Ohio. According to NCEA, the annual award “honors those whose ministry is Catholic school education and who have demonstrated a strong Catholic educational philosophy, as well as exceptional ability, dedication and results”.
“It takes dedicated people in the schools, the dioceses, the parishes and the communities to carry out the mission of faith formation in Catholic schools. They are the living messengers of God’s purpose from generation to generation,” said Barbara McGraw Edmondson, Ed.D., NCEA chief leadership and program officer.
Kraft, who has taught at Cathedral School for 33 years, was selected as the first Diocesan Teacher of the Year, an award given at the Diocesan Schools In-Service Day in August 2017. Tina Stanger, Director of Catholic Schools, said Kraft stood out as a nominee in the diocese because she is not only active in Cathedral Parish and her summer parishes, but also Catholic education at the diocesan-level. She has been on more than one accreditation team visit to other schools and as a result, she has been able to bring back valuable information for Cathedral School’s strategic planning purposes.
Upon Kraft’s reception of the Diocesan Teacher of the Year Award, Stanger said, “She shows strength of character as well as adaptability to changes in her school.”
A majority of the standards for the diocesan award were based on the NCEA’s criteria for the Lead. Learn. Proclaim. Award. Kraft’s principal, Patricia Jones, felt she was deserving of the national honor, so with the endorsement of Stanger in the Office of Catholic Schools, Jones nominated Kraft.
Jones feels privileged to have Kraft as a co-worker, saying she is a dedicated educator, consummate professional and a faith-filled leader. “Tamy believes deeply that teaching is about the development and the maintenance of personal relationships with her students and their families; a belief grounded on her strongest relationship: her faith, trust, and devotion to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,” said Jones.
Kraft plans to retire at the end of the school year. “I have always felt grateful to have a job that I have loved and enjoyed for 33 years. … So to have won one of these awards is just a beautiful way to end my teaching career at Cathedral School,” she said. She thanks her husband, Steve, and sons Michael and Mitchell for always supporting her teaching career.
When she considers her many years in Catholic education, Kraft says she will remember the children and the families the most. “It has been a joy to watch students from my early years have children and then send them to Cathedral School. When my former students have their children in our school, I feel that is an opportunity to continue to share the faith with coming generations,” said Kraft.