St. Catharine School principal Janet Weisner has been selected principal of the year by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus.

St. Catharine School principal Janet Weisner has been selected principal of the year by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus.

There are 54 schools in the diocese, spanning 15 counties. The schools have more than 17,000 students.

"I was very surprised," Weisner said Jan. 21, the day after the diocese announced her selection. "I didn't know about it until yesterday."

Weisner has spent 10 years at St. Catharine, 2865 Fair Ave. Before that, she worked in the diocese's Office of Catholic Schools and was the principal for six years at St. Andrew School in Columbus.

"Probably the most rewarding thing for me is being a part of the lives of children," Weisner said. "I have been here long enough to see them grow every year."

Working as a Catholic school principal also is rewarding for Weisner because it allows her to integrate her faith into her work in education.

"We have a wonderful staff of teachers who are always very supportive and willing to go the extra mile for me," Weisner said. "We have great parents."

Father Mike Lumpe, St. Catharine's pastor, said the award "speaks highly of the quality of Janet's abilities and her devotion to distinctive education."

Lumpe said Weisner's leadership skills are reflected in the level of excellence shown by faculty, staff and St. Catharine's more than 300 students, who are in preschool through the eighth grade.

"For some people a job is a job, but this is truly a vocation and it shows," he said. "We are very fortunate to have her."

St. Catharine School is participating this week in Catholic Schools Week, which runs Jan. 25-31. Some of the programs include students having lunch with their parents on Thursday and family movie night on Friday.

"Catholic School Week is a national event," said Jim Samuel, a member of the school's advisory board. "Each Catholic school takes up the theme of the year. This year it is service."

Students and parents participated in community service activities on Tuesday. Service projects included recycling, assembling teddy bears for children who have lost relatives and creating books for shut-ins and others who live in poverty.

"These are projects the kids in school work on year round," Samuel said.

Participating in Catholic Schools Week is important because it raises awareness within the community, Weisner said.

"It is also a time to celebrate what we are about," she said.

This year's theme also was important, she said, because St. Catharine is very involved in service. Administrators teach students how to help others and treat them with respect, Weisner said.