NCEA Board of Directors


The NCEA Board of Directors brings valuable experience and expertise from leaders in Catholic education, including clergy, superintendents, lawyers, educators, accountants, CEOs and university professors. NCEA's bylaws have been adopted to reflect the new board structure which aligns with the organization’s mission to lead, learn and proclaim the good news of Catholic school education.



Most Reverend Gerald F. Kicanas, D.D., Ph.D.
Apostolic Administrator
Diocese of Las Cruces

MOST REVEREND GERALD F. KICANAS, D.D., Ph.D, was appointed chair of the NCEA Board of Directors in 2018. Bishop Kicanas served the Diocese of Tucson since 2003 and became Bishop Emeritus in 2017. Before his assignment in Tucson, Bishop Kicanas was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago on January 24, 1995 and served as Episcopal Vicar of Vicariate I of the Archdiocese of Chicago. He was ordained a bishop on March 20, 1995. Ordained a priest on April 27, 1967, Bishop Kicanas currently serves on the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Catholic Education and Communications Committees, the Subcommittee on the Church in Africa and is a member and consultant to the USCCB Subcommittee on Hispanic Affairs. He has chaired and served on several other USCCB committees. He is a board member of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, known as CLINIC. He also is the former chairman of the board of directors of Catholic Relief Services (CRS), the U.S. bishops' overseas relief and development agency. He continues his involvement with CRS as a member of its Foundation Board. He is vice-chancellor of the Catholic Extension Society serving mission dioceses throughout the United States. Bishop Kicanas completed post-graduate work in several areas and earned a Ph.D. in educational psychology, a M.Ed. in guidance and counseling from Loyola University and a Licentiate in Sacred Theology from St. Mary of the Lake Seminary, Mundelein, IL.
Thomas Burnford, D.Min.
NCEA President/CEO (Ex Officio)
National Catholic Educational Association

THOMAS BURNFORD, D.Min., was appointed president/CEO of the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) in August 2016. Previously, Dr. Burnford served the Archdiocese of Washington as Secretary for Education where he managed the Superintendent of Catholic Schools, Director for Catechesis, and 22 professional staff members. He had oversight of Catholic education, including executive leadership, of a system of 94 Catholic schools and 139 parish religious education programs serving more than 50,000 students and 30,000 adults. Other highlights of Dr. Burnford’s two-decade career in the archdiocese include: developing and implementing policies for Catholic schools, including strengthening Catholic identity, establishing regional school agreements, and designing protocols for school viability planning; working with the Archbishop of Washington and pastors to increase tuition assistance to $6 million (from $800,000 in 2007) for students; lobbying and advocacy initiatives at the local, state and national levels, including support of the Opportunity Scholarship Program; restructuring urban Catholic schools resulting in the successful Consortium of Catholic Academies that now serves more than 700 inner-city students; executive planning for major events within the archdiocese, including archdiocesan catechetical days, large-scale strategic planning events and two papal visits (Pope Benedict XVI in 2008 and Pope Francis in 2015); and transitioning the archdiocese from individual school accreditation to a comprehensive system accreditation through AdvancEd.


Rich Bartlett
Co-Founder, CEO
CD2 Learning
RICH BARTLETT is the founder of CD2 Learning, a software technology platform for talent development and extended enterprise training. Using this software, Rich and his wife, Dena, together cofounded (MCFD), which provides online catechist management and Catholic faith formation for adults, youth and students. MCFD is used in a number of dioceses, including Washington and Chicago, and partners for content with publishers and nationally known Catholic organizations. Rich and Dena have strong feelings of gratitude for all the gifts with which God has blessed them and wish to give back their time, talent and resources to pass on "our beautiful Catholic faith to future generations."
Rev. John Belmonte, S.J., Ph.D.
Superintendent of Schools
Diocese of Joliet – Blanchette Center

REV. JOHN BELMONTE, SJ, superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Joliet, Illinois, joined the NCEA Board of Directors in 2013. Upon graduation from Marquette University, Father Belmonte entered the Society of Jesus in St. Paul, Minnesota, and pronounced vows in 1987. After years of study at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, and the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, Italy, he was ordained to the priesthood on June 14, 1996, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In 1997, he completed a Licentiate in Sacred Theology with a concentration in Sacred Scripture at Weston Jesuit School of Theology in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Father Belmonte completed a doctoral program in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at Loyola University Chicago in 2006. He has served as Director of Pastoral Ministry, has taught theology and social studies at the high school level and has served as principal of the Jesuit college prep high school in Milwaukee at Marquette University High School.
David L. Dennis
Partner (Retired)
DAVID DENNIS, a recently retired partner with KPMG LLP, joined the NCEA Board of Directors in 2012 and has been a significant member of the Board’s Finance Committee. A magna cum laude graduate of Indiana University and a licensed CPA in the state of Florida, David was appointed to the Florida Board of Accountancy by Governor Rick Scott. He is active on the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) and is the current chair of the Florida Board of Accountancy and a past president of the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
Angela Dinger
General Counsel
Sadlier, Inc.

ANGELA DINGER serves as general counsel for William H. Sadlier, Inc. Sadlier Publishing has been a longtime corporate partner with NCEA and a prolific publisher of catechetical programs, Pre-K through adult. Angela attended Georgetown University for undergraduate work as well as her Juris Doctorate. For five years, Angela worked for Chadbourne & Parke LLP, before taking her position at Sadlier 13 years ago. In addition to her work, Angela is on the Georgetown University Library Board and serves on the Advisory Committee for Cristo Rey New York High School. Along with the Sadlier family, Angela has a proven track record of commitment and support of Catholic education.
Mary Pat Donoghue
Executive Director of the Secretariat of Catholic Education
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Over her 28 years of service to Catholic education, MARY PAT DONOGHUE is perhaps best known for her tenure as principal of St. Jerome Academy in Hyattsville, Maryland, where she led the effort to move the parish school from near failure to a now-thriving and growing institution. Before then, she served as a vice principal and as a teacher in the classroom; since then, she has consulted nationwide with superintendents, pastors and principals, sharing her experience in teacher formation and supervision, curriculum implementation, and financial stability, in conjunction with the Institute for Catholic Liberal Education. Mary Pat holds a Bachelor of Science in elementary education from the University of Maryland, and a Master in Education Administration from Trinity University, Washington, D.C. A native of the Washington, D.C. area, Mary Pat currently resides in Silver Spring, Maryland.
Sister Mary Agnes Greiffendorf, O.P.
Aquinas College

SISTER MARY AGNES GREIFFENDORF, OP, is a Dominican Sister of St. Cecilia Congregation from Nashville, Tennessee, a community that has engaged in the apostolate of Catholic education for over 150 years. Sister Mary Agnes has been a member of the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia since 1997. She has taught at both the elementary and the secondary school levels, served as an elementary school principal, and director of education for her religious community. She is currently president of Aquinas College in Nashville, Tennessee, an institution of higher education focused on educator preparation. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Teacher Education from Aquinas College (Nashville), a master’s degree in Educational Administration from the University of Notre Dame, a master’s degree in Religious Studies from Providence College, and is currently a doctoral candidate in Catholic Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at The Catholic University of America.
Bishop Gregory J. Hartmayer
Diocese of Savannah

BISHOP GREGORY J. HARTMAYER, OFM Conv., is the fourteenth Bishop of the Diocese of Savannah, appointed by Pope Benedict XVI on July 19, 2011 and consecrated and installed on October 18, 2011. He joined the Order of Friars Minor Conventual, commonly known as the Conventual Franciscans, and took his simple vows in 1970 at the St. Joseph Cupertino Friary in Ellicott City, Maryland, before making his solemn profession in 1973. He received a Master of Education in Secondary Catholic School Administration from Boston College in 1992. Bishop Hartmayer also has been a member of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Administrative Committee and the Committee on Priorities and Plans, and currently serves on the Subcommittee on Aid to the Church in Central and Eastern Europe.

The Reverend Dennis H. Holtschneider, CM
Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities

FATHER DENNIS H. HOLTSCHNEIDER, CM, is the newly appointed president of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (ACCU), as of July 2019. Fr. Holtschneider is formerly the executive vice president and chief operations officer for Ascension Health, the world’s largest Catholic health system. Prominent in the field of Catholic higher education, Fr. Holtschneider served as president of DePaul University in Chicago, the nation’s largest Catholic university, from 2004 to 2017. A Detroit native, Fr. Holtschneider earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Niagara University in 1985. He studied for the priesthood at Mary Immaculate Seminary and was ordained in 1989. He received a doctorate in administration, planning and social policy in 1997 from Harvard University. Currently, he is a faculty member for several higher education leadership programs at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, as well as the Boston College Institute for Administrators in Catholic Higher Education.

Richard N. Kappler II
Chief Executive Officer

RICK KAPPLER serves as the CEO of a large family office based in Wilmington, DE for a major branch of the DuPont family. The family office serves over 40 family members, including spouses, children and grandchildren. Rick also serves on the board for the family office of the Oscar Meyer family, including on their investment and executive committees. Prior to this role, he worked at the Carlyle Group in Washington, D.C. Rick served in a number of progressive roles for global and multi-asset class investment portfolios with assets under management of over $2 billion. Rick also has a corporate finance background serving in a CFO role for multiple and geographically diverse investment funds both before and after Carlyle’s IPO facilitating activities across departments. Rick obtained an MBA from Duke University. He also is a CPA and graduated from James Madison University with a bachelor’s degree in accounting, a concentration in accounting information systems, and a minor in history.
Hosffman Ospino, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Theology and Education
Director of Graduate Programs in Hispanic Ministry
Boston College, School of Theology and Ministry

HOSFFMAN OSPINO, Ph.D., is assistant professor of Hispanic Ministry and Religious Education at Boston College School of Theology and Ministry. His research work focuses on the dialogue between faith and culture, with particular attention to the U.S. Hispanic Catholic experience. He has authored and edited several books, including Hispanic Ministry in the 21st Century: Present and Future and the works resulting from two groundbreaking national studies for which he served as the principal investigator: Hispanic Ministry in Catholic Parishes and Catholic Schools in an Increasingly Hispanic Church. Hosffman worked for the National Confederation of Catholic Education of his native Colombia. He and his wife Guadalupe are actively involved in Hispanic ministry in the Archdiocese of Boston.
Karen Rauenhorst, RN, MPH
Mark and Karen Rauenhorst Foundation

KAREN RAUENHORST, RN, MPH, serves the Catholic Relief Services Foundation and is a founding board chair and current member of the Aim Higher Foundation. Mrs. Rauenhorst was acting president of St. Catherine University in St. Paul, MN from June 2016 – August 2016 and is a trustee for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis in addition to serving on several other boards and foundations. After receiving a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Creighton University, Mrs. Rauenhorst then received a Master in Public Health from the University of Minnesota. She worked in clinical settings and in nursing administration at several hospitals in the Midwest from 1975 – 1986 and maintained her Minnesota nursing license until 2017.
Timothy Reilly
Saint Xavier High School
TIMOTHY REILLY is the president of Saint Xavier High School in Cincinnati, Ohio, the largest private school in Ohio. Saint Xavier is an all-male college-prep school highly regarded for academics and athletics. Tim also is an alum of Saint Xavier as he was of Saint Ignatius of Loyola where he previously was principal. Tim joined the NCEA Board of Directors in 2013. As principal for 23 years at St. Ignatius, Tim led a highly regarded and respected school which successfully engages a wide range of exceptional learners and intentionally embraces the whole child. Tim has shared his gifts and talents with NCEA by chairing the Board’s Institutional Advancement Committee, as well as chairing an Awards Selection Committee for the NCEA president.
Leisa Schulz
Superintendent of Schools
Archdiocese of Louisville

LEISA SCHULZ currently serves the Archdiocese of Louisville, Kentucky, as superintendent of schools. This experienced educator has significant NCEA involvement. Additionally, she has worked with USCC’s Federal Assistance Advisory Commission (FAAC). Leisa is currently working to increase Latino enrollment in the archdiocesan schools, where she says the biggest challenges to Catholic education are financial and demographic shifts. She remains committed to enhancing and improving academic and faith-formation programs, identifying governance structures and providing ongoing training for Board members and cultivating future leaders of Catholic schools.

Matthew Shank, Ph.D.
President Emeritus
Marymount University

MATTHEW D. SHANK, Ph.D., became Marymount University’s sixth president in July 2011. With a strong commitment to Catholic higher education and an understanding of Marymount’s diverse, inclusive learning environment, he began his first year by initiating a visioning process to clarify the university’s identity and the way forward. Input from the Marymount community contributed to the resulting vision, which states in part that “Marymount University will distinguish itself through a culture of engagement that fosters intellectual curiosity, service to others and a global perspective.” Before coming to Marymount, Matthew served for three years as dean of the School of Business Administration and professor of Marketing at the University of Dayton. Prior to joining the University of Dayton, he was a faculty member at Northern Kentucky University and chaired the Department of Management and Marketing. An accomplished scholar, Matthew has published numerous articles, presented at many conferences, and is the author of the book Sports Marketing: A Strategic Perspective (5th Edition). He has consulted with more than 75 organizations in the areas of marketing research, strategic planning and marketing strategy. Matthew holds a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from the University of Wyoming and a Master of Arts in psychology and a Ph.D. in experimental psychology from the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

Carolyn Woo, M.S.I.A., Ph.D.
Former President and Chief Executive Officer
Catholic Relief Services

CAROLYN Y. WOO, M.S.I.A., Ph.D., joined the NCEA Board of Directors in July 2017. She is the former president and CEO at Catholic Relief Services (CRS), where she also served on the Board of Directors. Prior to her role at CRS, she was dean at the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business. Carolyn also was associate executive vice president for Academic Affairs at Purdue University and was the first female dean to chair the accreditation body for business schools (AACSB: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) and directed its initiative for Peace through Commerce. Carolyn serves on numerous boards, including: Catholic Charities USA; Aileron Foundation; the Board of Regents, University of Portland; the Board of Governors, University of Notre Dame Australia; Archdiocese of Baltimore Independent Child Abuse Review Board; Executive Council on Development of the Center for Strategic and International Studies; and USCCB’s Migration & Refugee Services and the International Policy Committee. Dr. Woo attended Purdue University, where she received her B.S. in Economics, M.S.I.A. and Ph.D. degrees.

Board Members Emeritus

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