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Celebrating Miss Foster- St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Distinguished Elementary School Teacher Award Winner

St. Madeleine Sophie School is overjoyed to announce that our own Miss Joanne Foster is this year’s recipient of the Albany Diocesan  Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Distinguished Elementary Teacher Award which honors a Catholic school teacher who has promoted a school’s Catholic educational vision and who has a strong awareness of a school’s Catholic identity and mission. The teacher is one who has demonstrated excellence in teaching skills and has a positive effect on the moral growth of students. 

We feel that there is no one more deserving of this incredible honor than Miss Foster.  

Miss Foster, as over 1,000 St. Madeleine Sophie School students have lovingly called her for 39 years, is second to none.  Having spent her entire teaching career at SMS, she is nothing short of an institution.  Many a parent has commented that after a dinner table conversation that began with “Miss Foster says”  plans, practices and even bad habits have changed.  “Miss Foster says that snacks should ALWAYS be healthy, no junk”, BAM! only fruits and veggies appear in lunchboxes.  “Miss Foster says I have to practice ALL my sight words and math facts”, many a family was sitting on the edge of the bed past bedtime making sure they were practiced.  Additionally whenever a former student returns for a nostalgic visit the first stop they make is with Miss Foster, happily reliving the year they spent with her, the fun they had and the material they learned.  

Everyone agrees that routine is what Miss Foster is best known for.  You can imagine how 2020 has affected those people who love routine.  Now, she could have checked out, or given up but not our Miss Foster!  In order to reopen our school safely we needed to move two of our classes out of our building into another part of our campus.  Any organized person with over 38 years of materials lovingly categorized might freak out about moving to another building, but Miss Foster eagerly and excitedly recreated her incredibly personalized classroom (Covid-safe of course) across the parking lot. 

We now call her Gumby, with the help of her friend and assistant Mrs. Brenner they are beyond flexible, embracing the new reality and challenges of teaching and learning in the Parish Hall.  Happily in their own little pod, not only learning and using new technology, but teaching and troubleshooting for our newest teacher and colleague.  Once a self described technophobe, she truly is a tech wiz now!!

Living out the words of our patroness St. Madeleine Sophie Barat- “Be Humble, Be Simple, Bring Joy to Others”,  Miss Foster doesn’t merely concentrate on her classroom, but looks out for our entire school.  She lovingly decorates our school windows with each changing season, she is our DASC representative for accreditation at the diocese, she helps out with drama club, liturgy choir,  and anything else going on at school.  For years Miss Foster has helped plan our Advent and Lenten retreats.  She also lovingly makes homemade pretzels for every member of our school community  as our Lenten Retreat snack, something all current students look forward to and one of those memories that graduates always recall when fondly remembering their time here at SMS.

A product of Catholic Schools, from St. Luke's to Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons to the College of St. Rose, she continues to give back to ND-BG as well, as a member of their Enrollment Management Team.

A truly a pillar of our community, having touched thousands of lives with her incredible passion for Catholic education, her deep conviction to her faith and her love of St. Madeleine Sophie School Miss Joanne Foster definitely deserves the Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Distinguished Teacher Award!