The Distinguished Lasallian Educators of RELAN – 2017: Br. Joseph Brienza, Dr. Jeanette Mines, Br. Dale Mooney, Mr. Timothy DeNezza

The District of Eastern North America is proud to present the 2017 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 Denver, CO, with the focus on the theme  “One Call, Many Voices: Dialogue, Inspire, Transform,” these three educators were honored for their dedication to the Lasallian family.

See the list of 2017 Nominees

Br. Joseph Brienza, FSC

Christian Brothers Academy – Lincroft, NJ

A Christian Brother since 1964, Joseph Brienza, FSC, has served in six different Lasallian ministries during his 49 year educational service journey. While most of his professional career was as a history teacher, he also has served as a campus minister, religion teacher, vocation director, and now serves as a freshmen and sophomore guidance counselor at Christian Brothers Academy in Lincroft, NJ. His colleagues view him not only as that “older” Brother to his students but to them as well. His gregarious nature and authenticity has endeared him to all he has encountered over these many years.

Brother Joseph Brienza’s humility, care for the students entrusted to his care, and his deep spirituality have impacted thousands of students and colleagues for nearly five decades. His response to his vocational call and call to our Lasallian mission is best heard from the voices of current colleagues echoing those of years past…

  • Personally, I regard him as an older brother, and so do all of his students.
  • Brother Joe is one of the most selfless and compassionate people that I have ever encountered. His positive attitude is intoxicating and he encourages others to be better people simply by his everyday actions and demeanor.
  • What comes first in Brother’s mind is simply this – how can we help young men become the epitome of Lasallian students.
  • Spend a moment in his company and you will learn two things very quickly: he loves to laugh and he absolutely loves God.
  • Brother Joe has shown Jesus to me in the living spirit of the word, through his actions, his dedication and his honesty.
  • Brother Joseph’s faith, compassion, and work ethic are second to none.
  • Brother Joe works tirelessly…to ensure he can be the best counselor and professional…
  • Brother Joe is willing to go outside of his comfort zone and devote endless time to make the students experience…memorable.

With deep gratitude and appreciation for his 49 years of service in Lasallian ministries and for the Lasallian Mission it gives me great pleasure to announce Brother Joseph Brienza, FSC as a Distinguished Lasallian Educator from the District of Eastern North America for 2017.


Maureen O’Connell, PhD

Associate Professor of Christian Ethics and Chair of Religion
La Salle University – Philadelphia, PA 

Dr. Maureen O’Connell, while relatively new to the Lasallian Mission, has made an immediate and significant impact upon the La Salle University community. As a distinguished scholar and prolific writer and presenter, Dr. O’Connell has spear-headed a revitalization of the Religion Department, evidenced by a significant increase in majors and minors. Leaving a tenured position at Fordham University, Maureen returned to her deep Philadelphia roots embracing her sense of symmetry with the Lasallian charism and her commitment to justice. She has channeled her passion, generosity, and imagination into helping to build and give witness to a vibrant, participatory, inclusive community at La Salle.

Dr. Maureen O’Connell fully grasps the centrality of community within the Lasallian Mission and Charism. It is her ability and drive to foster community that has impacted not only the university campus but the neighborhoods surrounding La Salle as well. Her pedagogy and spirituality reflect a call to justice and to witness to what we as Lasallians value and hold dear. Let us then hear a few voices reflecting on her professional and personal call and response…

  • She is a model scholar who synthesizes scholarship with teaching and social responsibility
  • Maureen embodies the living dynamic of association for mission
  • She advocates an agenda that is student-centered and rooted in a deep commitment to justice
  • Maureen’s vigorous and resolute commitment to achieving the aims of Catholic higher education in a Lasallian key is unmistakable.
  • Her students talk about how her style of teaching and her ability to challenge them makes them think critically…
  • Maureen educates students with zeal.
  • She is, in the vision of De La Salle, a minister of grace, a builder of the church, an ambassador of Jesus Christ..
  • She is…adept, engaged, a collaborator, empathetic, an advocate, tireless, one with profound integrity, confident, patient.

With deep gratitude and appreciation for her service at La Salle University and to the Lasallian Mission it gives me great pleasure to announce Dr. Maureen O’Connell as a Distinguished Lasallian Educator from the District of Eastern North America for 2017.


Mr. Robert T. Scott, AFSC

St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute – Buffalo, NY

Robert T. Scott, AFSC has served in numerous roles throughout his 48 year career at St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute. He joined the faculty as a Religion and History Teacher in 1971, served as Vice Principal for 20 years before becoming Principal then the school’s first lay President. In each role, Mr. Scott’s contributions and genuine care has impacted thousands of young men and their families. In recent years, his tireless fundraising efforts remain focused on ensuring that a quality St. Joe’s education is affordable and accessible. As a testament to his service, he became an Affiliated Member of the Brothers in June 2001 – the Institute’s high honor.

Since the beginning, Robert Scott has responded to the call to live the Lasallian Mission in the footsteps of the Founder. Central to his journey has been the impact he has had on the lives of the young men of St. Joe’s. For nearly five decades, their lives have been deeply influenced, shaped, and cared for by Mr. Scott. Listen now to the voices of his community…

  • Whether interacting with students, faculty and staff, parents, alumni, trustees or anyone in the community, Mr. Scott is constantly referring to the works of De La Salle and reminding us that we are part of a larger community.
  • He has devoted his life to the young men at St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute and exemplifies the tradition and brotherhood created by the Brothers of the Christian Schools.
  • Mr. Scott’s faith is the defining influence in his life.
  • Students and faculty see our leader as an authentic, faithful, man of integrity, influenced by his own personal sense of zeal.
  • He embodies exactly what La Salle meant when he said “see Jesus in the students in front of you”.
  • Bob began his career as a Religion teacher, and he hasn’t stopped catechizing and evangelizing since.
  • His legacy is thousands of young men who have grown up into community leaders.

With deep gratitude and appreciation for his 48 years of service in Lasallian ministries and for the Lasallian Mission it gives me great pleasure to announce Robert T. Scott, AFSC as a Distinguished Lasallian Educator from the District of Eastern North America for 2017.

2017 Nominees

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

Mr. Thomas Barna
La Salle College High School – Wyndmoor, PA

Mr. John Bauersfeld
Calvert Hall College High School – Towson, MD

Mr. Robert D. Bewley
Christian Brothers Academy – Syracuse, NY

Ms. Jeanne M. Bunn
De La Salle Academy – New York, NY

Br. Eric Henderson, FSC
Central Catholic High School – Pittsburgh, PA

Mr. Thomas J. Martin, III
La Salle Academy – Providence, RI

Ms. Irene Murphy
St. John’s College High School – Washington, DC