Equipping Disciples

Archbishop’s Dinner for Education honorees help students academically and spiritually

Eight educators will be honored at the Archbishop’s Dinner for Education for their positive impact on Catholic schools in northeast Nebraska. The honorees are being recognized for their commitment to helping students reach their full academic and spiritual potential.

“I’m thrilled for the opportunity to honor these outstanding educators,” said Vickie Kauffold, superintendent of Catholic schools for the Archdiocese of Omaha. “Their dedication to the mission of Catholic education and their model of the faith is an inspiration for all to follow.”

This year’s dinner is on Sept. 12 at the CHI Health Center Omaha.

As part of the nomination process, pastors, co-workers, students and parents submit letters of recommendation. Below is a list of this year’s honorees, as well as a brief excerpt from a recommendation letter written on their behalf.


Susie Sullivan, principal of Marian High School-Omaha

“Susie Sullivan is a ‘whirling dervish’ of motivation and action. She is deeply committed to Catholic education and to Marian.”

Jeff Ohnoutka, executive director of Columbus Catholic Schools-Columbus

“If you were to step foot into our school, you would see Jeff interacting with students everywhere he goes. In a school with over 350 students, Jeff knows each one by name and often engages with them in down-to-earth conversations. He goes the extra mile to encourage students to do their best and keep Jesus at the front of everything they do.”


Christy Vogel, St. Pius/St. Leo-Omaha

“Christy’s compassionate presence as the EL (English language) teacher at SPSL is nothing short of incredible …. She truly sees the face of Jesus in each child and treats them with dignity, encouragement and respect.”

Carole Willis, St. Mary-O’Neill

“I’ve watched her adapt her teaching methods and style when needed for students with learning disabilities and her gentle, patient encouragement for those who struggle with the basic academic skills. Carole’s dedication and her being an incredible role model to others of our faculty and staff is in many ways beyond description. She never gives up.”


Michele Sweetmon, Gross Catholic High School-Omaha

“She is fearless, she is determined, she is the embodiment of integrity and tenacity, and a role model for all of us as to what a disciple of Christ should be.”

Kim Knobbe, Guardian Angels Central Catholic-West Point

As a Catholic school educator, Kim cares deeply about the personal and spiritual aspects of students’ lives as well as their academic potential. Her sensitivity and awareness help bring out the best in academically challenged students so they may find success in their daily efforts and learn basic, lifelong skills along the way.

MAGINN FAMILY FOUNDATION EDUCATORS OF THE YEAR (for service to inner-city and underserved youth)

Jon Burt, Madonna School-Omaha

“During my time knowing Jon, he continues to display more Christian character than nearly anyone I have ever known. Jon Burt is the reason why awards like this are created.”

Jodie Sibbernsen, St. Bernard-Omaha

“She sees each of her students in God’s eyes, and they feel it. Her outward love of and passion for her students create a learning environment where everyone has value; everyone has something to offer.”

Now in its 47th year, the event raises money for needs-based scholarships to help students attend a Catholic school of their families’ choice. Historically, the dinner has raised enough money to provide tuition assistance for approximately 300 students. For more information on this year’s dinner, to buy tickets or to donate, visit https://archomaha.org/dinnerforeducation/

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