Seelos Academy Principal awarded Prestigious Golden Apple – The Ultimate Educator’s Award

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In the Diocese of Pittsburgh, it is known as the “Ultimate Educator’s Award” and a Wexford elementary school principal is among this year’s recipients. Mr. Robert Reese, principal of Blessed Francis Seelos Academy, will receive the Golden Apple Award, represented by an inscribed golden apple, certificate, and a monetary gift from Bishop David Zubik.

Nominees for this prestigious award are submitted by school principals, parents, students, and fellow teachers. A selection committee consisting of members of the Diocesan Schools Office, the Education Department from Duquesne University, and the Donahue Family Foundation chooses the recipients.  The winners are selected on a number of criteria, including an educator’s professional excellence, leadership, commitment to Catholic values, and devotion to teaching in Catholic schools.

The program is made possible by the generosity of the Donahue Family Foundation, who instituted similar programs in the Dioceses of Harrisburg and Youngstown. It is the 28th year for the award in Pittsburgh.   

Seelos Academy parents are thrilled that Mr. Reese was recognized for his dedication to Catholic Education. “Mr. Reese has always worked to give the kids the best school experience possible. He works tirelessly and is always doing things behind the scenes never looking for recognition. Best of all he does all of it with a smile. His love for the school, students and families is unquestionable,” said Tricia Pieto, former PTG president and parent of Seelos Academy alumni.

Visitors to Mr. Reese’s office will immediately notice that he is an avid Star Wars and Pittsburgh Penguins Hockey Fan. It is in these interests that he often finds common ground with students and is noted around campus for his collection of Star Wars-themed neckties.

“Mr. Reese has a wonderful rapport with the students, teachers, and parents. He always has the students’ best interests at heart,” said Michael Killmeyer, Regional Administrator of the North Hills Regional Catholic Elementary Schools.

Reese was principal of the former Saint Alphonsus School in Wexford since 2012 and oversaw its merger in 2017 with Saint Alexis School, forming Blessed Francis Seelos Academy. Prior to his role as full-time administrator, he taught for 14 years in the Diocese of Pittsburgh Schools and worked as a Vice-Principal. His academic record is impressive with an undergraduate degree in secondary education and master’s degree in K-12 school administration. He has certifications in Social Studies, English, and Math and is a certified K-12 Principal.

“Mr. Reese is very intelligent and is able to handle complex situations while providing a calming presence. He has the ability to bring people together and focus them on the betterment of Blessed Francis Seelos Academy,” stated Killmeyer.

Father David Bonnar, editor of The Priest Magazine, and newly appointed pastor of Seelos Academy’s host parish, Saint Aidan, recently wrote in his Priest Blog, after meeting Robert (Bob) for the first time, “Needless to say, there are so many questions for every principal in this unprecedented time. Perhaps you understand why, from my vantage point, I see this job as one of the most challenging in the Church. And yet, I was so humbled when I met with our principal because he was like a little kid the night before Christmas. Bob’s smile was wide and contagious. You see, as hard as the job may seem, he loves what he does.” 


About Blessed Francis Seelos Academy

Blessed Francis Seelos Academy is a Preschool through 8thgrade Catholic School located in the North Region of the Diocese of Pittsburgh. Seelos Academy was established in 2017 through a merger of St. Alexis Parish School and St. Alphonsus Parish School.  Located on two campuses in Wexford, Blessed Francis Seelos Academy integrates Catholic teachings with the culture, key values and traditions of family and community.