The District of Eastern North America is proud to present the 2012 Distinguished Lasallian Educators
Each year, The Brothers of the Christian Schools of the Lasallian Region of North America recognize Lasallian Educators for their outstanding work and dedication to the charism of Saint La Salle, with the Distinguished Lasallian Educator Award at the annual Huether Lasallian Conference. This year in Washington DC, with the focus on Faith in Action: Global Engagement Through Lasallian Education, these three Educators will be honored for their dedication to the Lasallian mission.
From the time of Lois’ appointment as Coordinator of Social Action in 1998 she has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to “do justice”. Indeed, Lois has worked tirelessly through her words and actions to instill in Manhattan College’s students an appreciation for the Lasallian core principle of concern for the poor and social justice. Through her leadership the development of the Lasallian Outreach Volunteer Experience (L.O.V.E.) has allowed students to participate in transformative service experiences for and with those who are most marginalized. These experiences take place both domestically and internationally and are led by student coordinators who are carefully mentored by Lois’ staff and are passionate representatives of Manhattan College and our Lasallian heritage. Lois, herself has planned and participated in programs in Ecuador, Kenya and Rwanda. In addition, through her role as Director of Campus Ministry and Social Action since 2002, and as an Adjunct Instructor in Religious Studies teaching a course on service learning and social justice issues, Lois has worked hard to bring issues of social justice to the forefront in the classroom and lecture hall. Indeed, Lois is now chairing a task force focusing on Manhattan’s emerging role with Catholic Relief Services (CRS). In this regard Lois is building on her work with CRS as a Fair Trade Ambassador-work which led to Manhattan’s recognition last year as a Fair Trade College, the first such school in New York City and the fifth in the nation.
Lois is an effective mentor to her undergraduate students, particularly student leaders. Lois’ relationship with groups ranging from Just Peace and the Muslim Student Association to the Green Club and Campus Crusade for Christ is warm and open. Moreover, she provides students with the right balance of challenge and support which characterizes her concern for their development as whole persons who, in the words of the Founder, are “entrusted to our care”.
The faculty and administration alike listen to Lois because of her zeal not her hubris. This past year Lois was offered the position of Assistant to the Vice President because she was a terrific advocate for what the College wanted to achieve in its new Strategic Plan. Lois graciously accepted this promotion, but not because of ambition or self-interest, but truly because she felt called to serve. Lois is anything but a professional climbing the career ladder in academe. To the contrary, Lois has lived her entire life in the Bronx and her life’s work is defined by passionate service first as a community organizer and now as a campus minister and educator.
William “Bill” Hynes is an exceptional teacher, an exceptional Deacon, and an exceptional man. He has trained the minds and opened the hearts of his students for each of the years he has taught Religion at St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute; moreover, he has held captive the full school community while offering a homily during one of our school-wide liturgies. Deacon Bill has a wonderful ability to engage (by whatever means) the students, to “win them”, and once he “has them”, he has them come to the realization of that which he Is trying to teach. Bill is exceptional in every sense as a teacher.
Additionally, Bill is a wonderful Deacon, a faith-filled man, a deep thinker and moderator of the SJCI philosophy club. Deacon Hynes serves his students and parishioners in whatever may be asked of him. Further, he meets all who he comes in contact with as they are and proclaims the good news through his personal faith and the model he presents. “Deacs” (as his students affectionately call him) possesses a confidence that allows him to excel in the often delicate and emotionally-driven arena of pastoral ministry. His heightened sense of emotional self-awareness allows him to balance the need to emphasize while also detaching himself in order to put the student’s individual needs firsrt. Deacon Hynes’ faith is the defIning influence in his life. He openly discusses his faith not only in class or on retreat, but in the cafeteria, at sporting events, and while enjoying time with colleagues at a local Buffalo establishment. Students and faculty alike see Bill as an authentic, faithful, man of integrity, influenced by his own personal sense of zeal. Not overbearing, rather he successfully uses humor in his story which fosters sharing, by making others comfortable to share their own faith.
Finally, Deacon Hynes is Lasalilan in philosophy, in outlook, and in action. He is a Buttimer graduate; he has presented the life of John Baptist de La Salle to SJCI’s new faculty for each of the last several years, and he has travelled and worked with Lasallians in Israel, Kenya, Thailand, Vietnam, and Sri Lanka. St. John Baptist de La Salle prayerfully, but adamantly, reminded his Brothers to “look beyond the rags” and see the face of Christ in the children before them. Bill’s words and actions clearly reveal just how seriously he takes these words. Many of our students approach him on a regular basis in order to share their concerns and to seek his counsel. They find in him a listening, non-judgmental individual who has the beautiful gift of “touching hearts” and being “present” to them in their time of need.
Taysha’s faith and Gospel living is clearly exemplified in her relationship to the young men at San Miguel. Taysha is often the first person to have contact with San Miguel students in the classroom through group guidance and outside the classroom as Dean of Students and as coach of soccer and basketball. The young people she meets are frequently insecure, hesitant and fearful in their relationship with others. Lacking any positive self image they find no foundation for self esteem.
Day after day Taysha meets each student, respectful of the unique individual before her, and accepting each where the young man is in his life’s journey. Taysha is the School’s Good Shepherd. Through her persistent care Taysha discovers the needs of each child and responds with love, understanding and that kind of presence which invites appropriate change of behavior where needed. When confronted by a difficult student or a challenging situation, she’ll look from all angles and find a new way to approach an old situation that may, at first glance, seem hopeless. She works tirelessly until she finds the right solution to a student in crisis. She knows that there is no cookiecutter solution to a problem.Taysha’s persistent presence affirms gifts in the young person which he has not even recognized. It is not an exaggeration to say that this relationship to Taysha has repeatedly changed the lives of San Miguel men releasing the treasure hidden and captive within each of them.
That Taysha lives out of a faith in God’s presence, acts as an older sister and touches the hearts of the Miguel men can’t be denied. It is clearly evident in the respect and love the young men have for Taysha. This is obvious in their willingness to accept criticism and suggestions for corrective behavior from Taysha. It is apparent in the way they seek out her guidance, play with enthusiasm and determination on the athletic field and always practice good sportsmanship even when they are treated poorly.
De La Salle expected his teachers to represent Christ to those they taught and to realize they were part of a community for educational service to the poor. Taysha’s example of compassionate presence, persistence in helping the young to discover their best self often hidden beneath pain and rejection, and her respect of each member of the staff in the San Miguel community are marks of a true Lasallian. The beauty of Taysha Paulo is that she was “Lasallian” way before she embraced the moniker. For her, the Lasallian way of walking with young people, especially the poor, was like putting a hand in a glove. Taysha is a witness to God’s love through her faith in the Gospel and awareness of God’s presence especially in the young men, in her Christian zeal for the young, especially in helping them to discover God’s holy presence is first of all within them, and through her energetic and respectful participation in the San Miguel community. She is an extraordinary human being; an excellent administrator and coach; a devoted faculty member; an exemplary and outstanding Lasallian Educator!
The Office of Lasallian Education for the Lasallian Region of North America (RELAN) will honor Br. William “Bill” Mann, FSC, with the Brother John Johnston, FSC Award, the Region’s highest honor. The award is presented to those whose leadership, teaching, evangelization, or scholarly research and writing have borne witness to an abiding faith and zeal, and whose efforts have had a transformative impact upon the founding story as lived today.
Brother William Mann has exemplified these qualities over his more than 40 years of service including as a teacher, leader, lecturer, and scholar. He has touched the hearts of Lasallians in his work at many levels, from single schools to conferences to the headquarters of the worldwide Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools. Bro. William is currently the 13th president of Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this academic year. Not only does he encourage academic excellence at every level at Saint Mary’s, he has focused on specific initiatives that strengthen the Lasallian Catholic nature of the University. Prior to becoming Saint Mary’s president in 2008, Bro. William served as Vicar General, the second highest officer in the worldwide Institute. He also previously served as Provincial and Auxiliary Provincial of the former Long Island-New England Province. Bro. William is a founder and long-term lecturer at the Buttimer Institute of Lasallian Studies. He also inaugurated and now serves as an editor of AXIS: A Journal for Lasallian Higher Education, an electronic journal serving Lasallian colleges and universities.
The full list of Distinguished Lasallian Educator nominees from around The District of Eastern North America >