Congratulations to 2022 Archdiocese of Washington Veteran Teacher of the Year, Mrs. Stephanie Bolin!

Our 2022 Archdiocese of Washington Veteran Teacher of the Year is Mrs. Stephanie Bolin, as selected by the faculty and staff of St. Mary’s Ryken. Mrs. Bolin is in her 8th year as a teacher at St. Mary’s Ryken and is a 2010 graduate of St. Mary’s Ryken.  Mrs. Bolin was also our Novice Teacher of the year in 2016.  Mrs. Bolin currently leads our English Department.

President Rick Wood, Stephanie Bolin, Holly Kaufmann, Principal Catherine Bowes Credit: St. Mary’s Ryken

Mrs. Bolin leads her department and her students with a quiet grace and steadfast conviction in the value of a Catholic education to transform lives.  She faithfully serves our community in both student and retreats and faculty/staff retreats, in our 9th grade English classrooms, and on the Softball field as “Coach Bolin.”  She models her faith in her appreciation for the God-given gifts of each community member.  She takes special care in reaching “each child, every day.”  Her students learn the principles of Catholic Social Teaching through novels like To Kill a Mocking Bird and Lord of the Flies.  On bright spring or chilly fall days, Mrs. Bolin can be found seated with her students out on campus, discussing literature. 

Mrs. Bolin’s colleague Dr. Aaron Percich said, “What has struck me most is her ability to provide a truly Catholic education for her students. In pushing her students to excel, Mrs. Bolin never loses sight of and indeed beautifully fosters a real sense of personal dignity and worth in each student. Above all, it is her former students who are living testaments to this. When her students come to my classes, I find students whose minds have not only been sharpened by knowledge, but expanded by the wonder and beauty of literature.

In her classes, Mrs. Bolin’s students learn to deeply read literature, to write clearly and effectively and to speak with heart and courage.  Of her a student shared, “Mrs. Bolin is a great teacher.  She helped me truly understand how to write formal essays, cite sources in MLA format, and effectively annotate a passage.”  Of Mrs. Bolin, Principal Catherine Bowes said, “Mrs. Bolin is a positive and focused leader.  Her end-of-the-year notes for each of her department members always demonstrate her true appreciation for the gifts that each member contributes.”

“St. Mary’s Ryken prides itself on being a rigorous college prep school with a strong Catholic identity; that is why it makes perfect sense to honor Mrs. Bolin as its outstanding veteran teacher,” said her colleague and fellow English teacher, Mrs. Linda Szymkowiak. “Every day, Mrs. Bolin works tirelessly to inspire her students, players, and colleagues with her talent and diligence in the classroom and her compassion and spirituality in all that she does. We are blessed to have her as our colleague and as our department leader.”

Mrs. Bolin is a 2014 graduate of Radford University where she was a Division I athlete and Softball Team captain for much of her career there. 

Congratulations to 2022 Archdiocese of Washington Novice Teacher of the Year, Ms. Holly Kaufmann!

Our 2022 Archdiocese of Washington Novice Teacher of the Year is Ms. Holly Kaufmann, as selected by the faculty and staff of St. Mary’s Ryken.  Ms. Kaufmann is in her 3rd year as a teacher at St. Mary’s Ryken and like our veteran teacher of the year, is a graduate of St. Mary’s Ryken’s Class of 2016.  Ms. Kaufmann teaches in our Theology Department.  Of Ms. Kaufmann, Principal Catherine Bowes says, “Ms. Kaufmann is a gifted educator so early in her career.  Ms. Kaufmann holds her students to high standards and loves each of them as they work to meet those standards.  She engages students in organic discussions that require their understanding of the Word and also the application to their own lives.  She conducts her lesson-opening prayers with students stating their own special intentions. 

Ms. Kaufmann recently spoke with her colleagues about her own conversion to Catholicism, forged after the sudden death of her father during her time at SMR as a high school student.  Of this conversion, Ms. Kaufmann says simply, “I was loved into the faith.” Of Ms. Kaufmann, her department chairperson, states, “Holly has shown time and again her qualities of compassion toward others, strength in spirit amidst difficulty, and tenacity in crafting classes that motivate and impact our students on a daily basis. She truly brings Christ into the lives of others.”

Our School Counseling chairperson Mrs. Christine Jaffurs added, “Even as a 16 year old SMR high school student, Miss Kaufmann had a grace and gentle spirit that draws people to her and makes everyone feel valued.  It has been incredible to witness her students receiving the benefits of these same qualities she continues to embody.  I have loved being her school counselor when she was a student but love even more calling her my friend.”

One of her students concluded, “I have gone to Catholic school for a while, but I still learned new things from Ms. Kaufmann.  She teaches us in different ways and it makes it interesting.  She is a great teacher.”

Ms. Kaufmann was a 2020 graduate of Ave Maria University where she was a Mother Teresa Scholar. 

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