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Union Names Outstanding Administrators, Educators

Story by Taashi Rowe
Published 5/22/12

Pictured clockwise: Brian Kittleson, Elisa Maragoto, Cathy Tomlinson, Sheresa Woodson

The Columbia Union’s Office of Education recently named its 2012 Outstanding Educator and Outstanding Administrator award recipients. Cathy Tomlinson, principal and teacher at New Jersey Conference’s Cohansey Christian School in Bridgeton, and Allegheny East Conference’s Sheresa Woodson, a teacher at the Ephesus Adventist School in Richmond, Va., were recognized as outstanding educators.
Brian Kittleson, principal of Chesapeake Conference’s Spencerville Adventist Academy in Spencerville, Md., and Elisa Maragoto, principal of New Jersey Conference’s Lake Nelson Seventh-day Adventist School in Piscataway, were named outstanding administrators.
Calling the winners “richly deserving,” Hamlet Canosa, EdD, the union’s vice president for Education, confessed that “the task of determining who would actually be selected was, like in years past, a difficult one.”
Why They Teach
Nominated by their principals or their conference superintendent, the award recipients, who, no doubt have left lasting impressions on students and fellow teachers, shared why they loved teaching.
Teaching is a gift, says Woodson, a fifth- and –sixth-grade teacher with 18 years of teaching experience, 15 of which have been at Ephesus. She says, “When I think of my years of teaching, I have to thank God for giving me the opportunity to touch the lives of so many students.”
Cathy Tomlinson, this year’s second Outstanding Educator Award recipient, says, “My personal philosophy is to inspire students to do their best in all they attempt and provide opportunity after opportunity for each child to grow in academics and in a relationship with Jesus.”
Sadrail Saint-Ulysse, New Jersey Conference’s superintendent, says he nominated Tomlinson for the award because not only is she “a dedicated and loving Christian teacher whom we are very proud of … [she is also] a very innovative teacher who engages her students in meaningful learning. She coaches and partners with her students in the learning process. As a result, her students publish books, create outstanding artworks and are involved in the community.”
Elisa Maragoto, who won an Outstanding Administrator Award, says she derives a “personal sense of purpose in preparing my students for earthly success and witnessing their accomplishments. It’s also really rewarding and fulfilling to prepare them for eternity.”
Saint-Ulysse says he admires how Maragoto “leads her school in a Christ-like manner that is contagious. Her style of leadership results in a loyal and unified faculty and staff that should serve as a model to others. She is humble and a true servant leader.”

Outstanding Administrator Award winner Kittleson, who is completing his 19th year in Adventist education, says, “I am a principal because I am passionate about creating an environment where kids can flourish academically and develop a saving relationship with Christ.”
Carole Smith, Chesapeake’s superintendent, admires Kittleson’s willingness “to be a risk taker and embrace change as needed. He has high standards and is passionate about doing things well. He is quick to give the Lord credit for the success of school.”
In congratulating this year’s winners, Canosa said, “We are truly grateful for their respective vibrant, high-impact ministries and the many years of faithful service each has rendered.”


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