Longtime education leader Linda Kaiser has been awarded the “Lead, Learn, Proclaim Award” from the National Catholic Educational Association. This award is presented to individuals who are leaders, who show initiative to embrace new knowledge and changes, and who proclaim the mission of Catholic education.
Kaiser retired in January as director of the diocesan office of Catholic Education Ministries after working in education for 48 years. She was nominated for this award by Debra Meyer-Myrum, principal of Holy Trinity School in Pierz, and Christine Friederichs, principal of St. John’s Area School in Foley.
Meyer-Myrum began working with Kaiser more than 30 years ago when they were both enrolled at the University of St. Thomas studying for their master’s degrees in educational leadership.
“Over the years Linda has introduced, discussed, challenged and networked educational initiatives that have transformed me into the leader that I am today,” Meyer-Myrum said. “Linda is a person who [has been] deeply committed to the promotion of Catholic school education, especially in challenging principals to be top-quality Catholic educators of our children.”
Friederichs met Kaiser in 1992 when Kaiser was a principal at a local Catholic school.
“I have had the privilege of working with her as an educator and principal for 27 years. During that time, Linda saw in me the ability to lead, and she patiently waited over 16 years for me to say yes and accept a position as a principal. She graciously, with love, joy and steadfast support, stood beside me and became my mentor for receiving my master’s degree in educational leadership. Linda has been the backbone of my development as a Catholic school leader.”
Friederichs said it was Kaiser’s faithfulness and witness of leadership that merited the nomination.
“Linda is deeply passionate about growing our Catholic schools,” Friederichs added. “She has taken the initiative to encourage the bishop, clergy and educators to work collaboratively, using all of our gifts and talents for the sake of our mission and supporting Catholic schools in nurturing our young to be active disciples in the Church.”
Over the years, Kaiser nominated several leaders from the diocese for the Lead, Learn, Proclaim award — three of whom were also given the award in the past: Mary Sabin, Erin Hatlestad and Debra Meyer-Myrum. Two other women also received this acclaim when it was called the “Distinguished Principal’s Award” — Benedictine Sister Suzanne Slominski and Kathy Cziok. Kaiser said she is humbled to be honored among such esteemed women colleagues striving and thriving for excellence in Catholic education.
“I’m just so proud of our diocese and all of the educators we have right here in Central Minnesota,” Kaiser said. “To be in the midst of such phenomenal Catholic leaders is a joy. I’ve always embraced the mission of walking with people in lifelong faith formation. Jesus didn’t walk ahead and he didn’t walk behind people. He walked beside them. And that’s what we do in Catholic education. We really are living the Emmaus story.”