One of the biggest supporters of all that we do in this ministry is Bishop Kevin Vann! Ever since his appointment to the Diocese of Orange, Bishop Vann has publicly expressed his steadfast support for our schools. Having served as a member of the Diocesan Consultative School Board for the past five years, I have had the privilege of hearing Bishop Vann convey sincere words of gratitude for the dedication and commitment of our teachers. As a testament to his appreciation, each year Bishop Vann hosts a dinner event for all educators in the Diocese. Part of the evening is set aside to recognize teachers for their devotion and longevity of service, and each year one teacher is selected to receive the Bishop Vann Award for extraordinary service and contribution to Catholic education. This year, the deserving recipient of that award was our very own Mrs. Sharon Daniels!
The Diversified Learning Program at Sts. Simon & Jude School today is strong, effective, efficient, and highly respected. The primary reason for this success is Mrs. Daniels. The focus of differentiation is getting to know who our students are as learners so that we provide each one of them with experiences and tasks that will improve their level of academic success. For many years, Mrs. Daniels was our only Learning Support teacher, spending all of her time administering assessments, instructing small groups of students, meeting with parents, designing ILPs, meeting with teachers and the administration, attending workshops and seminars, and representing SSJ at many Diocesan and public school district meetings. As the student population at SSJ became more and more diversified, it was decided that additional assistance in this program would greatly benefit everyone involved. As the years progressed, our Learning Support faculty grew in numbers (we now have a team of 6 teachers) and the program effectively expanded under the guidance of our resident “expert.”
Even with the additional faculty, Mrs. Daniels is still sacrificing countless hours of her time beyond the normal school day. She remains single-minded in doing what she believes is best for the students. Throughout the years we have been grateful for those times when the most difficult of situations were resolved because of her expertise in special education and depth of understanding, for her caring and for her simply “being there.” She has the capability to handle every situation with discretion and tact, compassion and competence. Each year as we track the progress of our students we are extremely pleased to see the growth that has occurred as a result of diversified instruction and learning.
We are grateful for the expertise that Mrs. Daniels has contributed to the Diocese of Orange and to SSJ. Her affability, her genuine concern for every student, her unwavering support for the faculty and her faithful dedication to Catholic education have been the hallmarks of her tenure at SSJ, and the legacy of her ministry. Mrs. Daniels received a standing ovation from everyone in attendance as she walked up to accept her award! We enthusiastically join Bishop Vann and the Superintendent of Schools in congratulating her for this achievement, and we hope this remarkable educator remains with us for many years to come. We are truly blessed!