Ursuline News

Work of Heart Recipients Announced

The Work of Heart Award Program was created in partnership with The Catholic Foundation by a donor who sought to achieve a unique charitable purpose. The award, funded by a grant from The Catholic Foundation, was originally created in 2005.

Nominations are submitted by teachers, administrators, staff, chancery employees, students, parents, families, and anyone interested in Catholic education and the well-being of our Dallas area Catholic schools. The Work of Heart looks for “the unsung heroes” who are going the “extra mile” in serving our educational community and its members.

We are proud to announce there are two award winners from Ursuline Academy of Dallas: School Nurse Susie Murray and Assistant to the Dean of Students Cidney Ayotte.

Susie Murray’s nomination letter states, “Susie has been heroic throughout this health crisis, an unflappable port in a scary storm.  Even before COVID, however, she was always weaving herself into the fabric of school life. Always attending retreats to keep the girls healthy, chaperoning the Students Reach Out service club, and always being ready and willing to support a colleague in any way needed.”

She is honored and grateful to receive this award and happy to share the recognition with Cidney, who she notes as the most amazing person and critical in keeping the school clinic afloat with her important attendance record keeping.

“This year, I honestly feel that every UA teacher, coach, employee, and administrator deserve this recognition,” she said. “During this historic time, everyone has had to go above and beyond to keep Ursuline open and running while trying to keep students and staff as safe and healthy as possible. Everyone adapted and accepted every new challenge and dealt with constant changes, adjustments, and bumps in the road while always supporting, helping, and encouraging the students and each other.”

Cidney Ayotte’s nomination letter states, “[Cidney] consistently reaches out to teachers and students to correct records and to make sure students are present and accounted for. Her diligence and excellent communication skills make this happen quickly efficiently and with clarification of any complications. She follows up in real time to make sure each student is safe and cared for... She clearly cares about the person and not just completing the task. She truly models Christian charity in a task that others might see as technical, but with Cidney becomes labor of service and love.”

She truly appreciates this generous and special award.

“My position requires sending a lot of pesky emails and I have the feeling teachers cringe when they see something pop up from me! So, to find out that they recognize my motivation is rewarding enough but the award is extra nice,” she said. “I care about the Ursuline community and will continue to do my best to make certain attendance is in good shape…even if I have to nudge a little here and there!”

"Between Susie keeping us safe and Cidney ensuring we all knew where to find our students, it is not an exaggeration to say that they have kept us going all year," said Principal Dr. Andrea Shurley. "I’m grateful for their loving service, and so pleased that they have received this meaningful recognition!"