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 | By Danielle McGrew Tenbusch

Catholic school teachers recognized for faith, leadership and service

Exceptional teachers make an exceptional education possible.

The annual Excellence in Teaching Award recognizes and celebrates the positive difference Catholic school teachers in the Diocese of Saginaw make in the lives of their students, schools and communities. Communities are encouraged to nominate teachers who exemplify what it means to be a Catholic school teacher.

The 2023-24 recipients of the Excellence in Teaching Award are Sally Johnston and LeAnne Osborn.

Sally Johnston retired this summer as the fifth and sixth grade teacher at St. Mary’s School in Alma. Mrs. Johnston dedicated her entire 40-year career to Catholic education, 37 of which were at St. Mary’s. In 2023-24, she was the most nominated teacher in the diocese. Nominees noted her strong faith, sense of humor, service, creativity and community participation.

Those who nominated Mrs. Johnston said:

  • “Her positive nature encourages other colleagues to stay positive in the teaching field. She often relies on her faith and is a role model for all.”
  • “Community service projects and giving are a big part of Mrs. Johnston’s classroom. … She is present in her parish life as well, serving at various ministries and leading by example.”
  • "Mrs. Johnston is a role model of the school who leads, guides and teaches students Catholic values in our school. She demonstrates Catholic values in her teaching and in her daily interactions with the students.”

LeAnne Osborn teaches middle school theology at St. Brigid Catholic School in Midland and serves as the school’s coordinator of Catholic identity and Catechesis of the Good Shepherd catechist. Nominees wrote about her strong faith, leadership in the school’s implementation of Catholic liberal education and the staff’s faith formation and the impact of the experience she provides in the Atrium, classroom and field trips.

Support for Mrs. Osborn included:

  • “LeAnne is a gifted educator who communicates Christ’s peace in everyday interactions with parents, students and staff.”
  • “LeAnne has been a godsend to not only my children, but also myself. The instruction in the classroom goes far beyond the walls of the school. Her teaching on the Catholic faith has elevated all of us in our family.”
  • "She embodies the fruits of the Holy Spirit in the atrium with the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd through her peace, patience, kindness, gentleness and faithfulness.”

Both recipients were surprised with the award at schoolwide gatherings and received a stipend of $2,500 through Catholic Community Foundation of Mid-Michigan (CCFMM) endowments in recognition of their contribution to Catholic education.

“What clearly stood out in the submissions for both Mrs. Osborn and Mrs. Johnston is the impact they have on the formation of their students, families and colleagues,” Dr. Lynn said. "Both teach our faith, but more importantly, they live and model the faith in a way that positively engages others. The way they carry out their ministry is a great reminder for all of us regarding the daily opportunity that we have to evangelize. I am grateful for their service in our schools.”