Mallory Gurney

      For the second year in a row, a Blessed Francis Seelos Academy faculty member has been awarded the Golden Apple Award, the ultimate educator’s award in the Diocese of Pittsburgh. Mrs. Mallory Gurney is among this year’s recipients. She was honored with an inscribed golden apple, certificate and a monetary gift from Bishop David Zubik. Last year, the principal, Mr. Robert Reese, received the award. 

       School principals submit nominees for this award, from 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. The winners are selected on several 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.  

       In 2020, shortly after the abrupt shutdown across the state due to the pandemic, Gurney recognized the change would be hard on her kindergarten students. So she decided to load her car with essential learning materials, as well fun surprises, and delivered them to every one of her students. She visited students from 12 area school districts, making for a long but rewarding afternoon. Families embraced this gesture by dressing up (she did, too) as Superheroes, making signs, and standing outside waiting to give a simple but memorable wave from a safe distance. Gurney drove over 100 miles to visit each of the 22 homes of her students. “This is a memory that these students and families will carry with them for a lifetime,” stated kindergarten parent Julie Byrne. “She has a special gift for teaching, specifically for reading and writing, and she shares her gift with each of her students daily. She cares about and celebrates their everyday successes – large and small –and spends her days building the foundation for a lifelong love of learning for students of all abilities.” 

        In 2019, Gurney joined the Seelos Academy faculty and made an impact by creating a nurturing and creative classroom culture. “Mrs. Gurney created and developed a ‘Poetry Cafe,’ where her students showcase their reading and oral presentation skills. In preparation for the Poetry Cafe, which is held around Mother’s Day each year, she creates an atmosphere to welcome and make a memorable experience for her students’ families. Using a microphone, Gurney’s students, one by one, read famous poems to their families in attendance. The students also read and perform together as a group. A great deal of effort goes into putting the Poetry Cafe together, and it is just one of the many ways Mrs. Gurney makes kindergarten memorable for her students and families,” stated Reese in his recommendation letter for the award. 

        Mallory is a graduate of Thiel College and holds a Master’s degree in Reading and Language Arts from Duquesne University. She and her husband, Jason, have two children, the oldest of which will be carpooling to school with Mallory to attend kindergarten.