CTEL Leader Schools Earn Blue Ribbon Awards from U.S. Department of Education
By: Melissa Pavloff
Three school leaders in the Center for Transformational Education Leadership (CTEL) were honored in October when their schools received 2018 National Blue Ribbon Awards from the U.S. Dept. of Education.
These schools in the Archdiocese of Chicago—St. Francis Xavier School in Wilmette, Sacred Heart School in Winnetka, and Queen of All Saints School in Chicago—are led by CTEL members Colleen Barrett, Kristen Fink, and Kristina Reyes, respectively.
Established in 1982, the Blue Ribbon is awarded annually to honor students, educators, families, and communities for their dedicated commitment to academic excellence or reducing achievement gaps among different student subgroups.
“The entire community is thrilled and honored to receive this very prestigious award,” Reyes noted. “Receiving this award validates all of the hard work of the entire Queen of All Saints family from our faculty, staff, students and parents, and it serves as a reminder that everything we do is focused on creating an environment where all are valued and encouraged to strive for success.”
Seven of this year’s 49 private-school Blue Ribbon honorees are part of the Archdiocese of Chicago, and each was designated an “Exemplary High Performing School.” The Archdiocese, whose mission is “to provide an excellent Christ-centered education through an environment of faith, compassion and academic rigor,” has received a total of 102 Blue Ribbon Awards, the most of any private or public school system in the U.S.
CTEL, a program of the University of Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education, is an initiative designed to work with the Archdiocese to cultivate leadership skills through a multi-faceted, two-year program that synthesizes observational learning and individualized progress planning under an umbrella of core beliefs. CTEL Director Kole Knueppel explained that the program supports participants through the development of broader goals and leadership coaching.
Reyes attributed a large part of her school’s success to a cohesive set of common values.
“Our faculty has created and embraced core root beliefs, which gave us a platform to ensure that we are all committed and focused to the same principles,” she said.
Fink said that much of her school’s success traces back to the faculty’s endless commitment to the students.
“We are constantly looking at student data to determine where and how we can improve instruction, which in turn increases learning,” Fink said. “Our incredible teachers are willing to continuously reflect on their craft and make changes for the benefit and success of each and every student.”
Knueppel repeatedly praised the hard work of the three school leaders, and stressed that the Blue Ribbon Awards are a testament to the leaders’ commitment and talents.
“We are just honored and humbled to be partnering with these talented leaders. It’s a privilege,” Knueppel said. “We’re excited that their work is being recognized.”