St. Raphael School Principal Teri Dwyer has been named a 2019 recipient of the prestigious Lead, Learn, Proclaim Award from the National Catholic Educational Association. The award recognizes outstanding efforts, contributions, and achievements on behalf of Catholic education and was bestowed upon 27 winners this year.

The award was announced at the Jan. 27 Catholic Schools Week Mass at St. Raphael Parish by Chris Buchleitner, an assistant superintendent of schools for the Archdiocese of Washington, and Tom Burnford, president and CEO of NCEA.

“I’ve known Teri for about five or six years,” Buchleitner said. ”I was formerly the principal of a school in P.G. County, a Catholic school, St. Mary’s of Landover Hills, so I was able to work with Mrs. Dwyer professionally as a peer, and I can tell you that she has a tremendous amount of respect from her peers and the respect of all the folks down at the Catholic Schools Office. So all of you are very lucky here to have her as your principal here at St. Raphael’s.”

Burnford explained that the NCEA award honors outstanding achievements made on behalf of Catholic education. “This year, NCEA is recognizing 27 awards across the country to organizations, schools, higher education, and individuals serving in roles of leadership in Catholic schools,” he said. “These awards will be formally presented at the NCEA 2019 convention in Chicago on April 23 in front of 9,000 Catholic school educators, which is the largest gathering of Catholic school teachers on the planet.”

Dwyer was chosen from more than 150,000 teachers and administrators, as well as diocesan leaders.

“The LLP award is a celebration of all that is good in Catholic schools. Our awardees are those individuals whose dedication, commitment, enthusiasm and care help to build dynamic communities where students are challenged and inspired to explore, to enjoy and to reach their potential as young people of faith and endless possibilities,” said Dr. Barbara McGraw Edmondson, NCEA chief leadership and program officer.

After the announcement, students, faculty, and alumni gathered with Dwyer for a photo in front of the altar with a large banner celebrating her award. It has been a year of accolades for Dwyer.

Last September, she was named the Archdiocese of Washington’s 2018 Distinguished Principal of the Year.

Each year, all of the principals in the archdiocese vote for the person whom they think should be the principal of the year based upon his or her strong faith and leadership qualities.

Dwyer has been the principal since the school’s founding in 2006, but her connection to St. Raphael goes back even further, to when she became the director of the St. Raphael’s Nursery School in 1990. That year, her youngest daughter, Meghan, was beginning the program as a three year old.

(This article was provided to the Catholic Standard by MJ Zafis-Garcia of St. Raphael School’s Office of Marketing & Development.)