A listening heart, respect, community outreach and involvement, volunteerism, engagement, innovation, leadership – these are the attributes shared by two longtime St. Joseph’s Indian School employees that made them standouts to receive national awards at the Council on Residential Excellence Banquet in Little Rock, Ark.
Brock received the Catherine Hershey Award “Educator of the Year,” and Odis was honored as Catherine Hershey “Houseparent of the Year.” The two have been with St. Joseph’s Indian School 18 and 19 years respectively.
Brock’s nomination cited the 5th grade teacher’s mastery as an educator who engages students and draws them into understanding because he makes content relevant to their life experiences. Whether using the idea of a motel and its multiple levels of rooms to teach volume or explaining averages with basketball scores, Brock has the students’ attention, and they learn. He organizes and hosts STARBASE, leads field trips and is instrumental in a regional knowledge bowl.
“It was a feeling of complete shock and disbelief having no knowledge of even being nominated,” said Brock. “I am very honored to be named CORE Educator of the Year. I have worked with, now and in the past, some very deserving candidates for this award.”
Odis was recognized for his ability to connect with a traumatized student, his strong and positive relationships with students’ families and his participation in the school’s summer outreach Bookmobile that travels to communities throughout the state. The students’ culture is a priority to Odis, who on his personal time completes research on Native American culture and sacred sites in order to supplement the education on the topics provided by the school. He goes the extra measure to take students on field trips to these sites to build pride in the students’ understanding of their ancestry and identity.
“I feel lucky to have this job, I feel really fortunate to have had the partners I’ve had and for the donors who have enabled all of us to work with these great kids,” said Odis. “Getting the award means to me that I have had allot of great kids to work with over the years and they have made it easy on me. It takes a team to be a good houseparent, and I’ve always had a great one.”
We are so proud of Brock and Odis for their accomplishments. Send them your virtual high fives and a thumbs-up by leaving a comment on this story!