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 new 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.
Diocese of Tucson
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 Cardinal Wuerl 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 over 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 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, also cofounded MyCatholicFaithDelivered.com (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."
Kevin Baxter, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Catholic Schools
Archdiocese of Los Angeles
KEVIN BAXTER, Ed.D., was appointed Senior Director and Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles by Archbishop Jose Gomez on July 1, 2015. Kevin is a part-time faculty member in the School of Education at Loyola Marymount University, where his courses include Private School Law and Ethics and Organizational Leadership, among other current topics. Kevin is the author of Changing the Ending (NCEA, 2011), which focuses on innovation and new approaches for Catholic schools so they can grow and thrive for future generations. He wrote a chapter in The Practitioner’s Guide to Catholic School Leadership (NCEA, 2012) titled “Financial Leadership in Catholic Schools” and has been published in Momentum magazine. His keen interests are leadership in Catholic education, dual language immersion, special-needs inclusion in Catholic education and the law and Catholic/private education.
Rev. John Belmonte, S.J., Ph.D.
Superintendent of Schools
Diocese of Joliet – Blanchette Center
REV. JOHN BELMONTE, S.J., 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
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 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.
Sister John Mary Fleming, O.P.
Secretariat of Catholic Education
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
SISTER JOHN MARY FLEMING, O.P., joined the NCEA Board of Directors in 2012, upon her appointment as the Executive Director of the USCCB’s Secretariat of Catholic Education. A member of the St. Cecelia Congregation of Dominicans, Sister’s educational training includes a B.S. in Elementary Education, a M.Ed. in Educational Leadership and Supervision, an M.A. in Theology and a J.C.L. in Canon Law. She has, during her ministerial years, provided leadership to schools and colleges, as well as to her own religious congregation. Sister has provided inspirational seminars and workshop presentations to a host of diocesan schools and school departments.
Michael Galligan-Stierle, Ph.D.
President and CEO
Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities
MICHAEL GALLIGAN-STIERLE, PH.D., became a member of NCEA’s Board of Directors in 2010, upon his appointment as the new President and CEO of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (ACCU). Prior to this appointment, Michael served as USCCB’s Assistant Secretary for Catholic Higher Education and Campus Ministry. He came to this role after years in college-level directorships of campus ministry, including Wheeling Jesuit University and the Archdiocese of Miami. His ministerial career also includes parish-level adult education and faith formation.
Sister Mary Agnes Greiffendorf, O.P.
SISTER MARY AGNES GREIFFENDORF, O.P., 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.
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. Dr. Ospino 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.
St. Ignatius of Loyola Catholic School
TIMOTHY REILLY, Principal of Saint Ignatius of Loyola Catholic School in Cincinnati, Ohio, joined the NCEA Board of Directors in 2013. Beginning his leadership career at St. Ignatius in 2008, Tim leads a highly regarded and respected school in the Cincinnati area. He takes great pride in leading a school that successfully engages a wide range of exceptional learners. His school aggressively and intentionally embraces the whole child. Under his leadership, the joy-filled climate and Catholic Identity of St. Ignatius is clear to all who interact with the students and staff. Tim leads a very committed faculty, who are consistently engaged in ongoing professional development. 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.
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.
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, Dr. Shank 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, Dr. Shank 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. Dr. Shank 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 Chief Executive Officer 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. Dr. Woo 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. Dr. Woo 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