RIVERTON — Teachers from the Pacific Alliance for Catholic Educations (PACE) have served in the Diocese of Salt Lake City since the opening of Skaggs Catholic Center in 1999. In a diocese where there are no Catholic colleges and a small pool of Catholic teachers, PACE has been a real asset to several of our Catholic schools for the past 11 years.
Saint Andrew Catholic School in Riverton welcomed one PACE teacher, Kathleen Dudek, last year; and a second teacher, Christina Shelton, this year. Dudek teaches second grade and Shelton is a fourth grade teacher. They come with enthusiasm, the energy of youth, and knowledge of the latest theories and research-based methodology in education.
PACE is a program out of Portland University, modeled after ACE from Notre Dame University. PACE teachers are enrolled in a masters/credential program at the University of Portland. They receive a Master in Education degree after three summers. During the summer they take classes and when the school year begins they head for teaching positions in Alaska, Utah and Washington State. The focus of their service is to poverty areas or mission areas where funds are tight or the Catholic teacher base is slim.
Our PACE teachers live in community with those serving at the Skaggs Catholic Center in Draper. They receive a stipend rather than the usual salary, sacrificing to give of their time and talent. While serving, they receive much help from an assigned mentor in the school, a Salt Lake-based supervisor, the principal supervisor and a representative from Portland University checking in frequently.
As one of the staff, they take part in all school activities, contributing to the growth of the school. Dudek prepares her second graders for First Eucharist, working with Saint Andrew’s director of religious education.
Dudek, who is from Chicago, is a graduate of St. Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Ind. Shelton, from Hawaii, holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Portland. Both have jumped right in to the Utah scene, preparing for running the half marathon in Park City in October. Their challenges are those of any young person out on their own for the first time: cooking for the group, keeping house, planning group prayer, and learning to share responsibilities and accountability are but a few.
St. Andrew School is enjoying their presence. We will work hand in hand with them to help them develop as teachers and persons during their time serving our school community.