The District of Eastern North America is proud to present the 2014 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 Chicago, IL, with the focus on The Lasallian Mission: Word, Witness & Invitation, these three educators will be honored for their dedication to the Lasallian family.

See the list of 2014 Nominees


WalkowiakDeacon William Walkowiak

Campus Minister
St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute, Buffalo, NY

Deacon William Walkowiak is now in his 11th year as Campus Minister at St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute. He has worked in some capacity in educational and spiritual Catholic ministry since 1976. Prior to his arrival at St. Joe’s in September 2004, Deacon Bill was ordained a deacon for the Diocese of Buffalo in 2002. He has a M.A in Pastoral Ministry and has attended numerous Lasallian education/formation programs with a particular emphasis on Lasallian Youth summer conferences in DENA. Deacon Bill was instrumental in bringing the Kairos retreat program to the school and oversees the Christian service program. (Program Booklet, 98 words)

Deacon Bill’s commitment to the young men and the community is in daily evidence through his work as Campus Minister. Since his arrival he has brought about a transformation in the spiritual life of all. He clearly lives this year’s theme of Word, Witness and Invitation. His colleagues can best testify to these three elements.

walkowiak-acceptingWord: Deacon Bill’s faith is the defining influence in his life. He openly discusses his faith not only in class or on retreat, but in the cafeteria or at sporting events. Students and faculty see Deacon Bill as an authentic, faithful, man of integrity, influenced by his own personal sense of zeal.” Witness: “St. La Salle knew students would imitate those who were so meaningful to them. Deacon Bill models his faith and goodness through his belief in our students and in the dignity of all men. His model is also one of direct action and an encouragement to our young people and staff to follow in his footsteps. Invitation: Deacon Bill has become a beloved figure on campus. He has the perfect temperament for campus minister. He is easy-going, a great listener, and always able to offer wise counsel to students and staff members alike. He is approachable and comforting—but can also challenge and inspire on a deeper level. (Public Citation, 216 words)

With deep gratitude and appreciation for his service in Catholic ministry and his 11 years as Campus Minister it gives me great pleasure to announce Deacon William Walkowiak as a Distinguished Lasallian Educator from the District of Eastern North America for 2014.


Cecilia-Gottsegen-Photo-1Mrs. Cecilia Gottsegen

Assistant Principal
Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School, Brooklyn, NY

Cecilia Gottsegen is now in her 40th year as a Catholic Lasallian educator with the last 34 years in service to the community at Bishop Loughlin Memorial HS. During those forty years she has been a teacher, counselor, and now Assistant Principal. From early on Cecilia was actively engaged in learning about the Lasallian Mission and embracing it. She is an LLI graduate, CIL participant, co-founder of an associative Lasallian group, member of the former LI-NE Mission Council, a delegate to two different mission assemblies, and has attended countless Lasallian education and formation programs. She is indeed the quintessential “first generation” Lasallian Partner! (Program Booklet, 103 words)

gottsegen-acceptingFor many years Cecilia was counselor and Guidance Director. In this capacity she has made an indelible mark on the lives of countless students and others entrusted to her care. Br. Peter Bonventre shared this, “Cecilia’s relationship with students, parents and faculty is extraordinary. Little wonder that they all genuinely like, admire and rely on her. Cecilia creates a confident and caring atmosphere wherever she is.”

Two years ago she was invited to take on the Assistant Principal’s position. Succeeding a long-serving colleague, she has embraced her new role and made it her own. Her principal say “I have never worked with anyone more committed and passionate about their life work.”

But what makes Cecilia special is her full embrace of the Lasallian Mission and Charism. As her colleague stated “Cecilia emphatically believes in our Lasallian Mission and will make any sacrifice necessary to ensure, like our Founder had done in the past, that our students and teachers alike are afforded equal opportunities to succeed both professionally and personally.

She is also one of the most loyal coworkers and friends one could ever want.”

As part of the “first generation” Lasallian Partners, Cecilia has inspired all of us. She embodies our theme of Word, Witness and Invitation. She is the ultimate Lasallian animator.  (Public citation, 213 words)

With deep gratitude and appreciation for her 40 years as a Catholic educator and her thirty-four years of service to the Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School community and the Lasallian Mission, it gives me great pleasure to announce Mrs. Cecilia Gottsegen as a Distinguished Lasallian Educator from the District of Eastern North America for 2014.

Troy-(1)_2Mr. D. Troy Kennedy

Assistant to the Associate Executive Director for Staff Development
La Salle School, Inc., Albany, NY

Troy Kennedy has been affiliated with La Salle School since 1981. He is one of a few who returned to the agency to begin his career after having been a youth in La Salle’s residential program. He has been on staff since 1996, and is currently the assistant to the associate executive director for staff development. Troy has served as a child care worker, division manager, residential supervisor, and direct care trainer. He is certified in therapeutic crisis intervention, serves on numerous local community committees, and consults with outside agencies. He is a graduate of the Lasallian Leadership Institute. (Program Booklet, 99 words)

kennedy-acceptingTroy’s journey with La Salle School and the Mission is unusual. He first came in contact with the Mission when he was a young boy, removed from his home by the family court and placed in the care and custody of the state. He came to La Salle as an unruly, ungovernable, wounded and vulnerable child. Slowly overcoming these personal challenges and with the support of his community, Troy has persevered to not only survive but thrive. Since 1996, he has grown professionally and spiritually while contributing in direct,meaningful ways to creating hope and opportunity in the lives of young people who are at great risk.

Troy incorporates the Lasallian Mission into all of his work and personal life. He shares the “word” of our relational and caring Mission of hope serving as a trainer of and counselor to staff and parents. He is comfortable as a “witness” to the transformative experience of a Lasallian culture of care. And he constantly “invites” young people and their parents to make the changes necessary for their salvation now and later.

He shares his victories and failures while mentoring young people, firmly believing that these children deserve nothing less than his best effort. Simply put, his Lasallian journey continues to inspire and transform. (Public citation, 210 words)

With deep gratitude and appreciation for his eighteen years of service at La Salle School working with the lost, the last, and the least and his personal witness to the continued great need of our Lasallian Misison, it gives me great pleasure to announce Mr. D. Troy Kennedy as a Distinguished Lasallian Educator from the District of Eastern North America for 2014.

2014 Nominees

Congratulations to all of the nominees for Distinguished Lasallian Educators Award throughout DENA!

Mr. Darrick Freeman
Spanish Teacher
Calvert Hall College High School – Towson, MD

Mr. Robert Van Der Maelen
Religion Teacher
Central Catholic High School – Pittsburgh, PA

Mr. Jimmy Speidel
Mathematics Teacher
Christian Brothers Academy – Lincroft, NJ

Mr. Matthew Keough
Mathematics Teacher
Christian Brothers Academy – Syracuse, NY

Ms. Beverly Fields
Guidance Counselor
La Salle Academy – New York, NY

Deacon Gregory Albanese
Religious Education Teacher
La Salle Academy – Providence, RI

Mr. John Keenan
Teacher of Religion, Director of the David Program
La Salle College High School – Wyndmoor, PA

Mr. Matthew Michaud
Religion and History Teacher
La Salle Institute – Troy, NY

Mr. Alan Wendell
Senior Associate Dean of Students
La Salle University – Philadelphia, PA

Dr. Peter McCarthy
Assistant Professor of Special Education and Elementary Education
Manhattan College – Riverdale, NY

Ms. Rita Pratt
Campus Minister
Saint Raphael Academy – Pawtucket, RI

Mr. Thomas Sipowicz
Religion Teacher & Coordinator of Mission and Ministry
St. John’s College High School – Washington, DC

Ms. Laura Furey
Spanish Teacher
St. Peter’s Boys’ High School – Staten Island, NY

Ms. Virginia Meller
Business Teacher/Department Chair
St. Raymond High School for Boys – Bronx, NY

Sr. Mary Bur, IHM
West Catholic Preparatory High School – Philadelphia, PA