Kelly Thompson, a first grade teacher at St. Ambrose School in Brunswick, was one of three educators nationwide who were recognized by the National Catholic Educational Association with the prestigious Lead. Learn. Proclaim. Award. The award was presented as part of the NCEA 2021 conference, which was conducted virtually April 6-8. Winners were recognized in a virtual tribute.
A teacher in the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland for 15 years, Thompson has been at St. Ambrose School for three years. St. Ambrose is a K-8 STEAM school, offering programs in science, technology, engineering, art and math for its students.
The award highlights the work being done in Catholic education communities across the country. In addition to educators, three principals and three pastors were honored.
Thompson said she tries to live as if she is wearing her faith on her sleeve. She is a mother and a teacher who works to be a role model for her own children and the students
at St. Ambrose. Leading by example, she said she strives to be a loving Christian “through my service to others and the kindness I show to all.” She ties faith into her classroom activities, sprinkling in faith learning experiences and conversations of love, service and morals.
Before joining the St. Ambrose faculty, Thompson taught at the Academy of St. Bartholomew in Middleburg Heights and St. Christopher School in Rocky River.
“It is said that adversity reveals character. Mrs. Thompson came to me two weeks before we started the 2020-2021 school year asking to move to a then-vacated first grade teaching position. Her faith, vision and willingness to give the best for each of her students and our school family are what challenge and inspire her. We are blessed by the strength and excellence of Mrs. Thompson and also our entire faculty who work tirelessly to provide everything for every student every day,” said St. Ambrose Principal Lisa Cinadr.
Frank O’Linn, superintendent of Catholic schools for the Diocese of Cleveland, also offered his congratulations to Thompson.
“We at the Office of Catholic Education are delighted to see Mrs. Thompson recognized by the NCEA for her excellence in forming young people. She provides a shining example of the dedication and care that all Catholic educators are called to emulate,” he said.
In reflecting on her award, Thompson said she didn’t do anything big, but admitted the countless little things she does every day, when all put together, “make a big difference in the lives of the children I teach.”
Father Bob Stec, St. Ambrose Parish pastor, echoed her remarks. “It’s the little things that make a big difference,” he added.
“Catholic schools offer an education that combines Catholic faith and teachings with academic excellence,” Kathy Mears, NCEA interim president/CEO. “We draw on the Church’s long tradition of educating the whole person: mind, body and spirit. This is done as a community pursuing faith, truth, beauty, goodness, wisdom and virtue. These leaders are the core of our Catholic school education system and serve as inspiration to all of us working within the framework of Catholic education.”
Last year, Amy Morgan, St. Ambrose technology director, received a LLP Award. Previously, Father Stec (2018) and Cinadr (2019) were honored by NCEA.
For more information or to view the complete biographies and all 2021 LLP Award recipients, click here.