Five Holy Family University Alumni Named Recipients of 2024 Lindback Awards for Distinguished Teaching

Five Holy Family University School of Education alumni were among 60 teachers from Philadelphia public schools recently recognized as 2024 Lindback Award recipients. The Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation annually honors outstanding teachers who demonstrate excellence in promoting learning at the highest levels. The honorees each received a $3,500 award during a ceremony hosted on May 21, 2024 at the Philadelphia Film Society.

Holy Family alums Maureen Brower '08, M'12 (James G. Blaine School), Kimberly Fail M'20 (Hon. Luis Muñoz-Marín School), Joshua Maroney M'09 (The LINC), Deborah Soto-Diaz M'03 (Thomas Holme School) and Robert Smith M’23 (Roxborough High School) were selected from among the Philadelphia School District’s 9,000 teachers, nominated by administrators, and chosen by a panel of district and Lindback representatives.

“I was extremely surprised and filled with gratitude when I learned about my selection,” said Maureen Brower, a kindergarten teacher for the past 15 years. “Holy Family gave me the guidance and background needed to become an educator.  They taught me the science behind educating children and building relationships.  The dedicated staff and faculty in the HFU Education Department helped me to create confidence in myself and encouraged me to continuously seek out ways to become a lifelong learner.”

“I was with a coworker after school just catching up, and I refreshed my email and clicked on the congratulatory email,” said Fail, a middle school science teacher.  “I opened it and asked her if it was a mistake.  She was so excited and told me she was one of the people who wrote a letter recommending me. ‘I’m so happy I was here to see you open that.’ I honestly still can’t believe it’s real. I received my second master’s with a certification in teaching English language learners at HFU.  This has allowed me to more effectively teach science concepts to my EL students.”

”I was both surprised and humbled to hear of my recognition,” said Robert Smith, a special education high school teacher for 15 years, and an autistic support teacher for the past three. “The classroom is where I belong.  Earlier in my career, I left teaching after eight years when an opportunity arose in the food business, another passion of mine. After 15 years as a business owner/operator, I realized that I wanted to finish my career where it began, in the classroom. Going into my master’s at Holy Family, I decided to focus on two things, improving my assessment capabilities, as well as digging into the emerging educational technologies available in the classroom. This old guy learned so much!  My confidence has never been higher when assessing a student’s level of performance, and I’ve incorporated several of the new technologies that were introduced in my studies.”

This award recognizes individuals:
•    who create a positive, supportive learning environment to advance student proficiency in academic subjects, making learning relevant and fun;
•    who serve as a role model to students;
•    who establish trusting relationships with students, parents, guardians, and community members by being open and accessible for communication;
•    who motivate students to learn, explore and maximize their spirit of inquiry and critical thinking;
•    who possess knowledge and demonstrate various instructional strategies;
•    who connect collaborating and inspiring co-workers to energize students in positive ways; and;
•    who have not won the award within a 10-year span.

The Lindback Distinguished Teaching Award began at the high school level in 2008 and expanded to include K-12 educators in 2017.

See full list of 2024 Lindback Award winners.




Jan Giel