Committee announces 2024 Lewis Award finalists

Above: Mary Barber, Jennifer Stutz and Amy Smith, finalists for the 2024 Lewis Award.

The Lewis Award Committee named three finalists Jan. 19 for its annual award for teaching excellence.

Mary Barber, of St. Egbert School in Morehead City, Amy Smith, of St. Mary Magdalene School in Apex and Jennifer Stutz, of Immaculata School in Durham, were selected from nominations made earlier this school year.

The committee shared the following information about each finalist:

Mary Barber teaches 5th graders at St. Egbert School in Morehead City. She earned a Master of Education degree in Science Education from Clarion University in Pennsylvania. Barber believes in the vitality of students reading and writing across curricula. These fundamental pursuits uphold in Barber's words "the importance of proper grammar" and "the impression of neat cursive" as cooperating details in today's technology infused classrooms.

Amy Smith teaches 4th grade students at St. Mary Magdalene School in Apex. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Dayton in Ohio. Smith acknowledges the multi-generational, relationship-building legacy of Fred Rogers and his television program, Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, as her inspiration for developing a dynamic learning community. "Students love making connections to real world scenarios and project-based learning,” she said.

Jennifer Stutz teaches middle schoolers English/Language Arts at Immaculata School in Durham. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the State University of New York - College at Oneonta. Stutz affirms the vitality of "teaching students to understand how they learn," and empowering students with relevant executive function skills. "This concept helps me design more creative and differentiated lessons," Stutz said.

The recipient of the 2023-2024 Lewis Award for excellence in teaching will be announced mid-March, with a celebration in April.

The Lewis Award was named for Monsignor Gerald Lewis to honor educators in Catholic Schools in the Diocese of Raleigh. It was initiated in 1992, and its endowment was established in 2008.