Faculty Innovators Connect and Inspire Each Other at MacGinnitie Luncheon

Grounded in the heritage of Catholic education, Marist School offers a traditional learning experience in many ways, yet the school also thoroughly embraces innovative pedagogy as it forms students in the image of Christ and prepares them to be global-ready servant leaders.
To highlight and foster innovation happening in the classroom and beyond, Marist annually provides a faculty member with the MacGinnitie Award for Innovation, which was established in 2006 by Barbara and Jim MacGinnitie. Each year, Marist School’s Advancement Office hosts a luncheon for the MacGinnitie family to celebrate with the most recent award recipient and reconnect with and hear from past award recipients. The luncheon provides an opportunity for award recipients to share, collaborate, and inspire one another, sparking ideas through conversation about the different ways in which they can continue to innovate. This year’s luncheon took place on March 30.

The MacGinnitie Award for Innovation provides recognition and professional enrichment opportunities to a faculty member, teaching or non-teaching, whose initiative and innovation have made a recognizable difference in Marist’s education program, the delivery of critical services, the school’s standing in the community, and/or its fidelity to the mission. Award recipients are nominated and selected by their peers and receive a stipend.

Marist School Principal Mr. Kevin Mullally said, “The MacGinnitie Award for Innovation represents Marist’s tangible commitment to providing a leading-edge education to our graduates and helps us to recognize those on our faculty who live most deeply their dedication to educational innovation and who work to provide our students with experiences that require them to develop key skills for success in today’s world, like creativity, empathy, communication, and critical thinking. We are so thankful for the generosity of the MacGinnitie family that allows us to recognize these individuals who have such a powerful and lasting impact on our students.”

Since the inception of the MacGinnitie Award for Innovation, Marist School has recognized these deserving faculty members who were present at the recent luncheon with the MacGinnitie family:

Mrs. Carol Rivera (Science)
Mr. Kevin Lisle (Science)
Dr. Shannon Crunk Hipp ’94 (English)
Mr. Eric McNaughton ’90 (Fine Arts)
Mrs. Erica Buchanan (Modern & Classical Languages)
Mr. Christopher Michaud (Business, Computer Science, & Engineering)
Ms. Sarah Conn (Science)
Mrs. Amelia Gleaton Luke ’01 (Student Activities)
Mrs. Judy Guebert (Math)
Mr. Robert Von Hagen (College Counseling)
Mr. Mike Burns (English)
Mr. Mark Craddock (Fine Arts/Band)

The luncheon provided an opportunity for present and past award recipients to connect with one another, to discuss how they weave innovative techniques into their pursuits, and to share the professional development opportunities that allow them to continue growing in knowledge and skills that will benefit all Marist students.

The 2021 recipient of the MacGinnitie Award for Innovation is Mrs. Carol Rivera, a science teacher who has taught at Marist for 12 years. Mrs. Rivera brings hands-on, real-world experiences and creative teaching techniques to students in the science classroom and forges partnerships with flagship research institutions like the Georgia Institute of Technology. Going beyond the usual science curriculum, Mrs. Rivera embeds topics related to diversity, equity, and inclusion into her lessons. She said, “It’s nice to receive an award for something that I love doing—teaching. I’d like to thank the MacGinnitie family for sponsoring this award which encourages and recognizes innovation in the classroom. This award will allow me to continue fostering inclusion in my classroom and making sure all students are represented and seen in the curriculum.”

Award recipient and Band Director Mr. Mark Craddock has been integral in developing and leading Marist’s exchange program, helping the school achieve its strategic priority of forming global-ready servant leaders by leveraging the international network of the Society of Mary and providing opportunities for students to practice and engage in constructive dialogue with people who are different from them. He said, “I get inspired everyday by everybody I work with. They inspire me to do better. We have amazing faculty and staff here who are clearly doing this as a profession and a career and loving what they do. It’s a nonstop flow of amazing moments and creativity, and at the luncheon, it’s even more so when we’re finding out what everyone is doing.”

Other MacGinnitie Award for Innovation recipients further reflected on the impact the award has had on their work. English teacher Mr. Mike Burns said, “I view my job as an educator to be largely about my being an avid learner—of everything. If I’m doing it right, I’m constantly asking myself what can I learn from this and how can I use this in class? The MacGinnities have been an amazing resource for the faculty to continue to learn and to innovate and to inspire us to be better learners and teachers. The Marist Organic Garden and the American Experiment courses are direct results of their support.” 

Director of College Counseling Mr. Robert Von Hagen manages the Career Connections Summer Internship Program with the Marist Alumni Office. The program, which he developed after receiving the MacGinnitie Award, provides juniors with summer internship experiences that explore and develop specific career interests. He said, “I am so appreciative of the MacGinnitie family and their support of innovation at Marist. We are very excited to bring back the internship program after a two-year hiatus caused by the pandemic. This summer, we’ll have 30 rising seniors in placements with Marist alumni and friends in many different career fields.”

Interested in creating an endowed fund to benefit faculty/staff at Marist School? Contact Mrs. Angela Dorsey in the Advancement Office at

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Marist School

3790 Ashford Dunwoody Road, NE
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An Independent Catholic School of the Marist Fathers and Brothers