Incredible Teacher Award Winner Mary Ellen Gross

Pictured above: Mary Ellen Gross and her third grade class gathered around the chair that has been in her classroom since her first year as a teacher.


November 15, 2019

Contact: Melissa Hamilton


The Catholic Schools Center of Excellence Recognizes Teacher from Notre Dame Academy with Incredible Teacher Award


November 15, 2019, Minneapolis, Minn. – The Catholic Schools Center of Excellence (CSCOE), a nonprofit organization that supports the 79 preschool-8th grade Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, is pleased to announce the recipient of its 2019 Incredible Teacher award.


Congratulations to the winner, Mary Ellen Gross, a third grade teacher at Notre Dame Academy in Minnetonka. Mrs. Gross has dedicated more than 25 years to her career as a Catholic school teacher. CSCOE will award Mrs. Gross $1,000 for personal use and $1,000 for her school classroom.


CSCOE’s Incredible Teacher contest celebrates one teacher who is making a difference in the lives of his or her students.


“Teachers play such a vital role in the development of our youth,” said Gail Dorn, president of CSCOE. “We wanted to honor Mrs. Gross for her outstanding commitment to Catholic education and to her students.”


The nominations were submitted online by members of the Catholic school community via social media using the hashtag #IncredibleTeacher. They captured the essence of what makes a great teacher: personally caring for the wellbeing of each and every student in their classroom, creative classroom teaching informed by their Catholic faith, a connection with students, an exceptional role model, and an uncanny ability to push students beyond what they think possible.


Below is an excerpt from one of Mrs. Gross’ nominations, which speaks to how she has gone above and beyond the call of duty in unique and exceptional ways.


“Mrs. Gross handles her classroom with so much grace and love. She is tough on her kids when they need it, and the first to give out hugs when that is needed too. And she always seems to know when the kids need the hugs and love. She just gets it. She understands families and home life and how those things can impact life and studies at school.


“I think we ask a lot of teachers. I think that is especially true of Catholic School Teachers [sic] – they often feel like an extension of our families. As a parent, I always felt like she was on my family’s team, in many ways leading with her wisdom and guidance. There is nothing more comforting than knowing you are sending your kids off to a teacher who is going to give them exactly what they need in any given day. I always felt that way with Mrs. Gross… She always strives to be better and do better.”



CSCOE is a nonprofit organization with a two-part mission: to help Catholic elementary schools enhance excellence and increase student enrollment. For more information, visit

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Catholic Schools Center of Excellence