Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists

Image by Miguel Á. Padriñán from Pixabay

Columbia Union Recognizes Educators of the Year

Story by V. Michelle Bernard

The Columbia Union Conference Office of Education (CUOE) recently honored five educators from across the Columbia Union with Outstanding Educator of the Year awards. 

Ruth Nino, associate director for Elementary Education at the union, says through this program, CUOE "seeks to appreciate and recognize outstanding teaching professionals that, as Seventh-day Adventist educators, have demonstrated consistent excellence in one or more of the following areas:

  • practical applications and/or promotion of creative, innovative teaching strategies that have proven to promote measurable student learning/academic growth
  • expansion of curricula and/or school programming (including extra-curricular activities) that enhance the enrichment of learning and students' day-to-day school experience.
  • implementation of programs and/or outreach that has significantly and measurably enriched the local communities (public and church constituencies) served."

Here is a snapshot of who and why the following educators were awarded:

Outstanding Administrator Award: Ken Knudsen, High School Vice Principal, Spring Valley Academy, Ohio Conference

Rick Bianco, Superintendent of the Ohio Conference, describes Knudsen as “leading by doing,” often assisting wherever help is needed in the school—administering an SAT test, opening the school early or closing up late. He also helped implement a major anti-bullying program at the school.



Outstanding Early Childhood Educator Award:  Delma Feitosa, Pre-Kindergarten 4 Teacher, Atholton Adventist Academy, Chesapeake Conference

Feitosa demonstrates “so much compassion for her students,” says Miya Kim, principal of Atholton Adventist Academy. She creates a positive atmosphere where students are nurtured in a developmentally appropriate classroom.



Outstanding Elementary Educator Award:  LaRhonda Howell, Kindergarten to Third Grade teacher, Sharon Temple Adventist School, Allegheny East Conference

Howell organizes a rigorous program in the classroom for her students. As a result of this and her individualization according to student needs, her students are very successful in their testing results, says John Alberty, Superintendent of the Allegheny East Conference.

Outstanding New Educator Award:  Monét Carroll, Second Grade Teacher, Ramah Christian Academy, Allegheny West Conference

Violet Cox, Superintendent of the Allegheny West Conference, describes Carroll as very well organized, possessing a good reflection of spiritual instruction and having a good rapport with students. “The students appear to love her,” she adds.



Outstanding Secondary Educator Award:  Addriene Rhodes, Vice Principal/English Teacher, Pine Forge Academy, Allegheny East Conference

Rhodes is a very innovative teacher and uses music and a lot of interactive questioning with her students says Gloria Perry, Associate Superintendent of the Allegheny East Conference.  She is a strong, positive teacher who goes above and beyond to help her students in their writing projects and drama skits. 

Nino also shares, “I think that our teachers were inspired to begin the school year [strong] after a tremendous Teachers' Convention in August 2023. Equipped with new tools and ideas, they were ready to do their best to serve throughout our Columbia Union Adventist schools.  … We are eternally grateful for their service to share Jesus' love in their classrooms and equip their students with tools to serve in the present and future.”

Add new comment