| NEWS |
SEPTEMBER 2, 2016
Retiring teachers: Sharing faith and friendships
By JOE RUFF
Bill Schlueter, recently retired English
teacher and coach from Roncalli Catholic High School, said bringing faith and
friendship into the classroom and sports
was a high point of his 47 years at the Omaha school.
“You can talk about the obligation and
morality of what is happening” in novels
and other material, building indirectly but
effectively on what students learn in religion class, Schlueter said.
And prayers at ball games, teaching
players to compete with honor and fairness,
holding team Masses – all are part of sports
and faith in Catholic schools, said Schlueter, a member of St. Leo the Great Parish
in Omaha, who over the years at Roncalli
was head coach for the volleyball, baseball,
boys’ cross-country, girls’ basketball and
boys’ golf teams.
Friendships formed with students,
teachers and parents also have been important, and will continue into retirement, said
Schlueter, who turned the lights out in his
classroom for the last time in May.
Schlueter is among 29 teachers and administrators who retired last spring and are
being honored in this issue of the Catholic Voice for 25 or more years of service to
Catholic schools in the archdiocese. He also
is the longest-serving, although nine others
served 40 years or more. Thirteen retirees
served 30 or more years, and six served a
quarter century or longer.
“Bless their hearts for giving so much to
Catholic education and the church,” Patrick Slattery, superintendent of archdiocesan schools, said of all the retirees. “They
are in this to build up the church and work
for disciples of Christ. They give so much.”
Kathy Redding served 44 years at Mercy High School in Omaha, in a career that
included 26 years as librarian and 18 years
as the home economics teacher – delivering a range of courses from sewing and tailoring to interior design and architecture,
parenting and child development, food and
A Christian who appreciates Mercy
High’s emphasis on faith, knowledge and
service, Redding said faith and friendships
with faculty, administrators, students and
parents played big roles in her approach
and love for teaching.
“It was great to be able to pray with the
students, pray with the faculty, with a parent,” she said. “Your faith is what gives you
Those touchstones also apply to Chris
Arnold and Paula Lenz, both of whom retired last spring after 43 years of service to
Arnold said she was touched by a school
Mass the last two years celebrating the sacraments, with a procession that included
second-graders after their first Communion and eighth-graders after confirmation.
“There’s something about that … the
holiness of it all,” said Arnold, a member of St. Joan
of Arc Parish in Omaha.
“You just hope the kids really grasp what they’ve received.”
Lenz said she enjoyed incorporating prayer into ev- BILL
erything she did, teaching SCHLUETER
students about world religions and listening to their concerns.
“The picture of how things fit together
… I was able to do that very, very well in a
Catholic school,” she said.
Arnold spent her entire career at St.
James/Seton School in Omaha, where she
was honored last spring when administrators named the preschool playground in
her honor. She served the last five years as
principal and 14 years as assistant principal.
Arnold started at the school in 1973 teaching sixth grade, and from 1979 to 1997 she
taught reading to students in kindergarten
through sixth grade and was an administrative assistant.
Lenz’s career included teaching world
history, geography and current affairs the
last 14 years at V.J. and Angela Skutt Catholic High School in Omaha.
But her service in archdiocesan schools –
all in Omaha – began at St. Philip Neri School
from 1971 to 1974, teaching first grade, firstand second-grade religion, seventh- and
eighth-grade world history and art.
She taught religion at Boys Town middle
and high schools from 1976 to 1986 and
Father Flanagan High School from 1986 to
1993; character skills and campus ministry
at Skutt Catholic from 1993 to 1998 and
then social studies from 2002 until her retirement. She was dean of students at Roncalli Catholic from 1998 to 2001, and while
at Skutt Catholic she served as head swimming coach, helped with campus ministry
and student council and was chair of the
social studies department.
Lenz also taught for two years at a Catholic elementary school in Illinois, one year
with the Peace Corps in South Korea and
three years in public schools in Millard.
She also taught education classes at the College of Saint Mary and Creighton University, both in Omaha.
A member of St. Robert Bellarmine
Parish in Omaha, Lenz pointed to friendship as another foundation for her work in
“I just loved the atmosphere,” Lenz
said. “I’ve felt very blessed, the administrators I’ve worked with, the colleagues I
have worked with over the years. It’s been
very, very special.”
40 OR MORE YEARS
In addition to those listed above, all
schools in Omaha unless noted:
John Naatz – 42 years, Creighton Preparatory School, principal, English and
journalism, head football coach junior varsity, assistant coach varsity; Roncalli Catholic (1976 to 1979), English and journalism, coach in football and track; Guardian
Angels Central Catholic High School, West
Point (1971 to 1976), English and journalism, coach in football and track.
Bonnie Petersen – 40 years, St. James/
Seton, second and fourth grades; St. Columbkille, Papillion (1976 to 1979), second grade.
Peg Lowndes – 40 years, St. Pius X/St.
Leo, religion coordinator, fourth- and fifthgrade teacher; former St. Bridget (1976 to
1978), second grade; plus four years teaching in a Catholic school in Salix, Iowa.
Maureen Vesely – 40 years, Holy
Cross, fourth, fifth and sixth grades.
Terrie Bowder – 40 years, Norfolk
Catholic, Norfolk, kindergarten, first and
second grades, First Communion formation; St. Mary, Wayne (1984 to 1988), kindergarten, first Communion formation;
Norfolk Catholic (1982 to 1984); St. Mary
(1979 to 1981) and (1974 to 1978), reading
and language arts first through sixth grade,
first and second grade, First Communion
Patricia Travis – 40 years, Marian
High School, theology, campus ministry,
school liturgist; St. Pius X (1979 to 1980),
seventh- and-eighth grade math, music;
Holy Name (1978 to 1979), seventh- and
eighth-grade math, music; Holy Name
30 OR MORE YEARS
Scott Sibbernsen – 39 years, Creighton Preparatory School, mathematics,
head coach golf, assistant coach basketball; plus teaching math at Creighton
University and three years teaching at a
Catholic high school in Illinois.
Omer (Mike) Concannon – 38
years, All Saints, sixth- through eighthgrade science, religion and math; former St. Richard (1993 to 2008), fifth
through eighth grade; All Saints (1988
to 1993), sixth through eighth grade;
Catholic Southeast Educational Center
(1981 to 1988), fourth through eighth
grade; former St. Joseph (1978 to 1981),
fourth through sixth grade; plus four
years an assistant professor-statistician
at a public nursing college in Omaha.
Jill McCormick – 38 years, Norfolk Catholic, Norfolk, first grade; plus
five years teaching in public schools in
Meadow Grove and Norfolk.
Dave Miller – 36 years, Our Lady
of Lourdes, physical education; Roncalli Catholic High School (1980 to
2008), physical education and health,
head coach in boys’ soccer and tennis,
freshman basketball, assistant in football and boys’ track, athletic director.
Sondra McSwain – 35 years,
Duchesne Academy of the Sacred
Heart, dance teacher.
Diana Iden – 35 years, Guardian
Angels Central Catholic, West Point,
kindergarten and sixth grade; plus five
years in public school.
Jim Krueger – 35 years, Creighton
(1976 to 1977), seventh- and eighth-grade
math, religion; Holy Name High School
(1972 to 1974), music, religion; plus three
years teaching at Catholic elementary
schools in Colorado, New York and Missouri.
25 OR MORE YEARS
CONCANNON MCCORMICK MILLER
Preparatory School, English, junior varsity football coach; Daniel J. Gross
Catholic High School, Bellevue (1987 to 1990), English, football and wrestling
coach; Roncalli Catholic
(1979 to 1987), English, JIM
football and wrestling KRUEGER
Nancy Berg – 32 years,
St. Mary, O’Neill, sixth grade; plus
eight years in O’Neill public schools.
Susan Krugman – 32 years, St.
Mary, O’Neill, kindergarten; plus 13
years in O’Neill public schools.
Society of the Sacred Heart Sister Lucy Hayes – 32 years, Duchesne
Academy of the Sacred Heart, archivist,
morning portress, sacristan, moderator
of Children of Mary; plus 25 years served
in the order’s schools in California.
Kevin Ingemansen – 32 years, St.
Isidore, Columbus, principal; St. Margaret Mary (1984 to 1992), principal;
plus eight years as educator and administrator in Mead, Neb., public schools.
Paula Holder – 31 years, St. Pius X/
St. Leo, eighth-grade science and literature; plus five years teaching in Catholic
schools in Lincoln and McCook, Neb.
Patty Shinkle – 30 years, St. Joan of
Arc, first grade.
Mary Jane Uhing – 29
years, St. Rose of Lima,
Crofton, sixth- through
and English, fifth grade,
fourth and fifth grades
combined, fourth grade;
plus one year teaching at
a public school in Winner,
Sharon D’Agosta – 29
years, Creighton Preparatory School, chemistry.
Carol Nish – 27 years,
St. Vincent de Paul, librarian; St. Joan of Arc (1989
to 1994), librarian.
Sharon Leuschen –
25 years, Daniel J. Gross
Catholic High School,
Bellevue, Spanish; former
Cathedral High School
(1990 to 1994), Spanish;
plus one year at St. Albert
High School in Council Bluffs and 12 years in
Omaha public schools.
Janet Costello – 25
years, Our Lady of
Lourdes, fourth through
sixth grade; plus three
years teaching in public schools in Council
Rita Adams – 25
years, Holy Cross, kindergarten, first and second grade; St. Thomas
More (1991 to 2004),
director of religious education and kindergarten