Catholic school educators and faculty gather for prayer and professional development

Teachers listen to priest speak at professional development day

On Monday, March 6, Catholic school teachers, faculty and staff gathered for a diocesan-wide professional development day at the Center for Ministry in Saginaw.

“Over 200 Catholic school staff members gathered to learn from each other, share best practices, review new textbooks, break bread, be inspired and encounter Jesus,” said Krista Willertz, Catholic identity and curriculum coordinator for the Diocese of Saginaw. “Staff members gave suggestions for different breakout sessions then signed up to lead some of the sessions, with chancery staff, community leaders and vendors leading the remaining learning opportunities.”  

“We are grateful to provide this day of support to our teachers and faculty, and we thank all those who shared their gifts and talents through the day’s presentations,” said Cormac Lynn, superintendent of Catholic schools. “The day was just one aspect of our continued commitment to support our schools through the Our Catholic Schools initiative.” 

The Holy Spirit was evident throughout the day, which began with a keynote address from Father Adam Maher, chaplain of Nouvel Catholic Central Elementary and Middle and High Schools.  

“You’re the doorway for others to have fellowship with God,” he reminded attendees.  

Father Adam likened the life of a Christian to the Sea of Galilee versus the Dead Sea. There must always be fresh water coming in and flowing out for there to be life, he explained. He continued by challenging everyone to deepen their relationship with Jesus, making their own faith more personal to help students experience a relationship with God. 

Following the keynote, attendees chose from 32 offered sessions, addressing a wide variety of spiritual and educational topics. Presenters included: 

  • Andy Gielda, All Saints Catholic Middle and High School, Bay City 

  • Rodney Terwillegar of Our Lady of Lake Huron Catholic School, Harbor Beach 

  • John Lambright of Sacred Heart Academy, Mount Pleasant 

  • Susie Hollingshead, Sherri Nemeth, LeAnne Osborn, Chris Wakeman and Laura Wilkowski, all of St. Brigid Catholic School, Midland 

  • Gabbie Marguery of St. Elizabeth Area Catholic School, Reese 

  • Dorri Garrow of St. Michael Catholic School, Pinconning 

  • Julie Wigen and Dan Decuf of Nouvel Catholic Central High School, Saginaw 

  • Father José Maria Cabrera of All Saints Parish 

  • Saginaw Township Police Department Seargeant Chris Fredenburg and School Resource Officer Andy Carlson 

  • Krista Willertz, Catholic identity and curriculum coordinator for the Diocese of Saginaw 

  • Beth Bauer and Minerva Gonzales of the Diocese of Saginaw 

  • Deb VanSumeren, education coach 

  • Numerous representatives from vendors working within education, such as textbook publishers 

“The day was well-attended and well-received,” Willertz said. “These professional development days help ensure our educators are always learning and growing as we continue our commitment to excellence.”