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Marlene Clayton of Ellinwood named diocesan ‘Teacher of the Year’

Marlene Clayton, lead teacher at St. Joseph Catholic School in Ellinwood, has been named Teacher of the Year for the Diocese of Dodge City.
“I was really surprised to receive the award, and very humbled,” she said.             
Clayton received the award at the KAIRS Teacher of the Year banquet held in Topeka Feb. 2.
The Kansas native began teaching part-time at St. Joseph in 2002, and was soon offered the full-time position of Lead Teacher. She not only teaches English, Religion, and homeroom classes, but handles the administrative duties typically reserved for a principal.
Clayton attributed her teachers and parish/school secretary Jamie Komarek with helping to make it a positive and enriching work environment.
“For me, it’s a privilege to work at St. Joseph, the oldest Catholic school in the diocese,” she said. “I’ve come to learn in time that this really is a ministry. To serve children, and to teach about God is a real honor for me.”
Clayton was born and reared near Pilsen, hometown of the future saint, Father Emil Kapaun -- a point of pride for Clayton. She is married to John, and has three children: Maggie, Joseph, and Michael, and a granddaughter, Emery. Marlene is a 2001 graduate of Newman University.
St. Joseph School was founded in 1885 by German immigrants. Clayton has continued the tradition of keeping the school rooted in the teachings of Jesus.
“Students are nurtured to develop a love for others as well as themselves, all along striving towards high academic achievement,” she wrote on the diocesan website.
“We include daily classroom prayer and twice-weekly students’ Masses, all of which help form a well-rounded student. St. Joseph School boasts a legacy of high academic achievement with a focus on God.”
In her nomination letter, Superintendent of Schools Trina Delgado wrote, “Marlene is an extremely compassionate, level-headed, faith-filled woman. She seems to have been made to be a teacher, especially one in a school where faith is the central theme.
“Marlene deals with all situations that arise in the position as teacher and school administrator with class, diligence and humor.  ...She personifies the role of faith leader.  The Diocese of Dodge City, and the community of Ellinwood are so blessed to have her as one of us.  I am blessed to call her my co-worker and my friend.”  

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