Sister Mary Timothy honored as Catholic School Educator of 2012

Ursuline Sister Mary Timothy Bland was named the Diocese of Owensboro, Ky., 2012 Catholic School Educator of the Year. Sister Mary Timothy teaches second grade at the Owensboro Catholic K-3 Campus. 

Sister Mary Timothy Bland holds her plaque naming her the 2012 Catholic School Educator of the Year.

“Sister Mary Timothy has been teaching for more than 44 years, so she has seen the whole range of educational practices and programs,” said Lori Whitehouse, the principal of the K-3 Campus who nominated Sister Mary Timothy. “She has willingly taken on the task of growing and changing her teaching style in order to meet the needs of an ever changing population of students while still maintaining a traditional approach to teaching for mastery. She has embraced technology and has willingly used it to enhance learning in the classroom. Sister Mary Timothy differentiates to meet the needs of individual students, and teaches each child they have their own gifts and talents from God.”

Whitehouse shared the following email from one of Sister Mary Timothy’s former students who was searching for her, as an example of why she should be considered the Outstanding Catholic Educator of the Year.

“My name is Kelley (Sims) Lambert. I was a first-grade student at a Catholic school in Kentucky (near Fort Knox) in 1974-1975. I don’t know the name of the school, but I do know that you lived behind the school, the school had a spaghetti fund raiser and we were in a classroom that was at the back of the school on the left. You had a human body model (I was fascinated with each lesson). You named my reading group after me (Kelley’s group). You sat by me every day at lunch and you always gave me your Popsicle.

“I have been searching for the Sister Mary Timothy who was my 1st grade teacher. I am hoping it is you. I have wanted to find you for so many years and not had any success. I want you to know of the impact you have had on my life. My year with you was wonderful. I felt that I had a bond with you. I didn’t have that connection with other teachers after 1st grade and truly feel that without the strong start that you gave me … without the bond … without the knowledge that I knew that you thought I was good and smart and capable — my feelings about school and my life would not have been as positive.”

Sister Mary Timothy has been an Ursuline Sister since 1964, and began teaching full time in 1967. She has taught the second grade since 1988, and said earlier this year her love of teaching is what keeps her in the classroom.

“The summer I don’t look forward to going back, I need to start looking for something else,” she said. “Having children that you can teach a skill, that ‘aha’ moment, that just makes it worthwhile.”

“Sister Mary Timothy truly has Christ as the center of the classroom,” Whitehouse said. “She uses Guidelines for Success with CHRIST as the acronym to teach children her expectations. She lets children know she has high expectations of them, and they strive to meet those expectations out of respect and love for her. She lives out her belief and faith in the church through her vocation as an Ursuline Sister. She has all kinds of neat little tricks and games to teach children about their faith and especially learning the parts of the Mass. She helps prepare students to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation and First Communion.”

Sister Mary Timothy lives in Owensboro and is a Eucharistic minister at Blessed Mother Parish. “Sister Mary Timothy is truly committed to being part of a team,” Whitehouse said. “She is willing to do anything that is asked of her. She works very well with her fellow second-grade teachers and meets with them weekly to plan together. Sister is always willing to meet with parents to determine the best educational plan for that child, or to figure out what accommodations can be made to help that child be successful.”

Sister Mary Timothy began her 45th year in the classroom on Aug. 8.