Golden Apple educators named

Seven educators at Catholic schools in the Diocese of Pittsburgh have received the 2021 Golden Apple Award:

  • JoLynn Clouse- principal, Saint Wendelin School
  • Darci Smith-  teacher, Archangel Gabriel Catholic School
  • Robert Childs- associate principal, Serra Catholic High School
  • Meloni DiPietro-Gunthoerl- teacher, Seton LaSalle High School
  • Emily Janocha- teacher, John F. Kennedy Catholic School
  • Mallory Gurney- teacher, Blessed Francis Seelos Academy
  • Lisa Radzanowski- teacher, Ave Maria Academy

The award recognizes their excellent performance in the classroom, church and community. Each educator will receive a monetary prize, thanks to the generosity of the Donahue Family Foundation.

Each week, The Pittsburgh Catholic will feature one of the Golden Apple honorees.

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Golden Apple Award Winner: JoLynn Clouse

School/position: Saint Wendelin, principal

Quote: “It takes a whole village to make this school.”

When JoLynn Clouse became principal of the oldest Catholic school still in operation in the Diocese of Pittsburgh, it was in danger of closing.

Saint Wendelin School in Carbon Center, Butler County, founded in 1845, staged a comeback, in large part due to the new principal’s drive, dedication and leadership.

Clouse’s commitment, collaboration and love for her job have been recognized with the 2021 Golden Apple Award. She expressed surprise and appreciation at the honor.

“I was not prepared for this news,” she said. “It’s humbling, and also validation that our school is thriving. It takes a whole village to make this school. I’ve just been a piece of that.”

After beginning her career in public schools, Clouse arrived at Saint Wendelin School in 2003, first teaching preschool, then second grade. When she was promoted to principal in 2011, there were only 58 students in grades K-8. She rallied teachers, parents, alumni and the community to support the school, launched fundraising and marketing campaigns, and helped double K-8 enrollment.

“I have found her to be an outstanding leader,” Father Matt McClain, pastor of Saint Clare Parish, wrote in a nominating letter. “She holds the teachers, students, and parents to a high standard…of work, excellence, dedication and transparency that she herself exceeds. That is why they so readily follow her.”

Sixth grade student Issiac Waller described his principal as “a born teacher and leader” who “encourages all students to do their best.

“I am blessed to have her see me through my early education years,” he wrote in his nominating letter.

Clouse earned a BA in elementary education from Slippery Rock University and a master’s in administration and supervision PK-12 from Duquesne University.

She is also active in her parish and community, volunteering at the Good Friday Fish Dinner, church picnic and Saint Vincent de Paul food drive.

Photo by Jim Judkis