Page 4 - MidWeek Kauai - June 23, 2021
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      After more than 40 years as an educa- tor with Maryknoll School, Mary Jane Vannat- ta still loves her job. It’s a testament not only to her campus but also the larger organization that serves pa- rochial schools around the state.
In four decades, Vannat- ta has garnered a plethora of knowledge and under- standing, and has touched hundreds of lives (includ- ing Hawai‘i News Now an- chor Stephanie Lum) — and those along her instructional journey have taken notice.
and compassion; all those things we treasure in our faith,” says Dr. Llewellyn Young, superintendent of Hawai‘i Catholic Schools. “I am so pleased she rose to the top. She is so deserving of this award, and it’s nice we can recognize that and give credit where credit is due.”
tine Educational Foundation for faculty development.
secondary schools statewide. All winners are chosen based on criteria that extend far be- yond excellence in the class- room, with an emphasis on how students develop spir- itually, socially, physically, cognitively and emotionally. In essence, the focus is on the child as a whole.
sive way, Vannatta was cho- sen not only for her success in the classroom, but also her academic accomplish- ments, leadership, service to the school and community, and ability to make a pro- found difference in the lives of her students, especially in their spiritual lives.
“It has been an awesome experience,” says Vannatta, who was named the 2020-21 Hawai‘i Catholic Schools’ Teacher of the Year. “I still learn a lot from everybody, including my colleagues and students. There’s never a year I don’t learn some- thing new.”
“She reached out to students who struggled and gave of her time, she reached out to families to make sure they had what they needed, she did what any good Catholic teacher is supposed to do when sup- porting students, allowing them to grow into responsi- ble citizens, filled with love
Along with the coveted ti- tle, Vannatta also won some pretty neat prizes, and even garnered one for her beloved campus. She can now dis- play The Golden Pine-“ap- ple” Award with pride, and is more than elated that she was able to earn Maryknoll School $1,500 from Augus-
Personally, Vannatta won a brand-new car, courtesy of Aloha Kia, and Par Ha- wai‘i, which operates Hele gas stations around the state, tacked on a $1,000 gift card for fuel. Presenting sponsors Chaminade University of Honolulu, Catholic Schools Hawai‘i, and John and Mary Lou Brogan, meanwhile, awarded Vannatta $1,000.
“All the dimensions of a child must be attended to,” adds Young, noting that this five-pronged approach is Hawai‘i Catholic Schools’ foundation of child develop- ment. “All Catholic schools look at a child holistically, not just academically.”
“Catholic identity is a very important one,” says Young. “Judges looked at how these teachers instill the Catholic faith and identity in their students, how they in- tegrate that into their subject areas. It ties into everything else, from community to school.”
The middle school edu- cator is the third winner of the annual Teacher of the Year accolade, which hon- ors excellence in education at Catholic elementary and
In the same comprehen-
Hawai‘i Catholic Schools faculty and staff, including its top educator for 2020-21, Mary Jane Vannatta, are the driving force behind the state’s next generation of leaders.
 Story by Nicole Monton
Photos by Anthony Consillio

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