NCEA President's Awards

The President’s Awards are presented in the names of past NCEA presidents to individuals and organizations who model the characteristics that advance the mission of Catholic school education and display the significant virtues of faith, support, leadership and development that impact Catholic school education in the United States.

The 2024 Lifetime Commitment to Catholic Education Awards recognize individuals who over a career have advanced the mission of Catholic education.


School administrators (principals, presidents, and heads of school), pastors, teachers, diocesan leaders, organizations and supporters of Catholic education may be nominated for these awards. Self-nomination is not permitted and nominators can only nominate one person for one award. Students and parents may nominate an individual. Nominator may not be related or in a relationship with the nominee.

For more information, contact Laura MacDonald.

C. Albert Koob Merit Award

This award is given to an individual or organization that has made a significant contribution to Catholic education at any level – early childhood, elementary, secondary, higher education – or in any educational setting, in one or more of these areas: teaching, administration, parish religious education, research, publication or educational leadership. The awardee’s service and contribution should be recognized as having current significance at the national level. Meet this year's awardee »

Msgr. John F. Meyers Award

This award is presented to an individual who has provided substantial support for Catholic education through contributions in the areas of development, public relations, scholarship programs, financial management, or government relations. Meet this year's awardee »

Catherine T. McNamee, CSJ Award

This award is presented to an individual or institution that offers exceptional leadership in promoting a vision of Catholic education that welcomes and serves cultural and economic diversity or serves students with diverse needs. Meet this year's awardee »

Leonard F. DeFiore Parental Choice Advocate Award

This award is presented to an individual who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in promoting full and fair parental choice in education. Meet this year's awardee »

Dr. Karen M. Ristau Innovations Award

This award is presented annually to an individual, school or program that has furthered the mission of Catholic education through an innovative program or approach. Meet this year's awardee »

Meet the 2024 President's Award Winners

C. Albert Koob Merit Award

Brother David Migliorino, OSF

Saint Anthony's High School, Diocese of Rockville Center
Melville, NY

Brother David Migliorino, principal at Saint Anthony’s High School, has been awarded the C. Albert Koob Merit Award after 50 years of service to Catholic education noting the impact he has on all he encounters. Brother David was the principal of Notre Dame Regional High School in Missouri. He is a member of the General Council of the Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn. Before becoming an administrator, Brother David taught American and world history at Saint Francis Prep in New York, Saint Joseph High School in Connecticut and Saint John the Baptist in Missouri. He then transferred to Notre Dame where he served for 20 years as a teacher and administrator. Brother David speaks lovingly of his devotion to Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton and how her mantra of “Be children of the Church” is critical to his commitment to Catholic school education. In his words, “l believe every child deserves to be educated academically but also spiritually and socially. Teachers are responsible to make our future the best by giving all the tools to their students.” Brother David has been the keynote speaker at national conferences for Catholic school educators where he eloquently shares his vision that every teacher reach out and find the lost child to allow them to grow.

Msgr. John F. Meyers Award

Tim M. LaMott

Retired, Business Owner
St. Mark's Catholic School, Diocese of Boise

Tim LaMott is the awardee for the Msgr. John F. Meyers Award. Mr. LaMott is a lifelong supporter of Catholic education. He was part of the first graduating class of St. Mark's Catholic School in Boise, ID, and has been donating his time, talent and treasure ever since. His children graduated from St. Mark's, and now his grandchildren attend. A retired business owner with numerous awards for top performance and excellence, he has dedicated himself to furthering the mission of Catholic education at St. Mark's and Bishop Kelly High School for more than 30 years. His dedicated service has been as building committee chairman for multiple projects, school foundation president, strategic planning committee member, capital campaigns manager, parish council member, master planning chairman, cub scout master and more. Most recently Mr. LaMott has completed a four-year, $4,000,000 renovation of St. Mark's Catholic School, including a chapel with the blessed sacrament reserved in a tabernacle. He and his wife MaryBeth are lead donors for the project. He also raised the majority of the funds, managed the project, organized volunteers, knocked down cinder block walls, climbed through crawl spaces, repaired HVAC units on top of the school and more. Mr. LaMott volunteered four years of his life for the St. Mark’s school community and for generations of young disciples to come.

Catherine T. McNamee, CSJ Award

Very Rev. Edward Chiffriller, SSJ

St. Francis Xavier Catholic School, Diocese of Baton Rouge
Baton Rouge, LA

Very Rev. Edward Chiffriller is the recipient of the Catherine T. McNamee, CSJ Award. To his parish and school, he exemplifies the gift of leadership by modeling grace through prayer, leading a student body of culturally diverse students and students from various social and economic environments. Fr. Ed, as he is fondly known, is extremely involved with and supportive of all aspects of student learning academically and is attentive to the prayer life of his students and their families. He promotes Catholic values daily by modeling his profound beliefs in the Catholic faith and stressing the power of prayer. Fr. Ed always joins the daily morning prayer service with the entire student body. He makes it known that he is available for any individual student’s needs and to employees in need of prayers and support Fr. Ed has always shown encouragement. He offers Mass to the school community frequently. Many of the members of the church join the school Masses to experience the valuable lessons he teaches through his homilies. He models his Catholic teachings by his participation in any type of academic or spiritual activity organized for the students. Fr. Ed relates to all students and their parents through his quiet, prayerful and supportive demeanor. He says it is his joy to see the excitement of students whether they are experiencing learning new things, tackling class lessons, participating in religious activities or simply being themselves.

Leonard F. DeFiore Parental Choice Advocate Award

Dr. Galey Colosimo

Juan Diego Catholic High School, Diocese of Salt Lake City
Draper, UT

The Leonard F. DeFiore Parental Choice Advocate Award honoree is Dr. Galey Colosimo. Dr. Colosimo has worked in Catholic schools for close to 30 years. His unwavering dedication to championing school choice legislation for Utah families is commendable and proved to be a great success. He played a pivotal role in shaping and advancing school choice legislation in Utah where 54 percent of Utah Catholic school students currently receive scholarship assistance. His tireless collaboration with legislators, community leaders and school choice advocates yielded tangible legislative outcomes as a school choice bill passed in January 2024. His advocacy ignited the broader movement toward empowering families, especially those with limited financial means, with the opportunity to choose from a variety of educational opportunities, including Catholic education. About 300 Catholic school students in Utah gathered at a rally in early February to thank the state’s legislators who passed the school choice bill that will help thousands of students through its scholarship program. Dr. Colosimo's remarkable contributions, including the formation of the Utah Private Schools Association (UPSA) as an active partner of a broader coalition championing legislative efforts to promote school choice, underscore his dedication to the advancement of parental choice in education.

Dr. Karen M. Ristau Innovations Award

Senior Capstone Project at Chaminade Julienne Catholic High School

Chaminade Julienne Catholic High School, Archdiocese of Cincinnati
Cincinnati, OH

The Senior Capstone Project at Chaminade Julienne Catholic High School has been bestowed the Dr. Karen M. Ristau Innovations Award. The project challenges students to apply the lessons of their Catholic education by actualizing the values of the school’s founding orders, the Marianists and Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. All projects connect to Catholic Social Teaching and are also inspired by Sr. Dorothy Stang SNDdeN ‘49, who was martyred in 2005 for her work regarding human dignity, justice for the poor and sustaining the balance of the rainforest. Seniors complete group projects covering justice topics ranging from the sanctity of life, homelessness, mental health, immigration, fair trade, environmentalism and more. With the guidance of adult mentors, groups research a justice issue through the lens of Catholic Social Teaching and then design a project that materializes into a specific product or action. Once completed, they present their project at the Stang Symposium and write an individual reflection on how the principles of servant leadership connect to their lives. The Senior Capstone Project is in its tenth year. It was first imagined by Molly Bardine, teacher, English department chair and Mission Integration Team co-chair, who wanted to move students from their service experience to understanding how their faith can inspire them to work for justice based on the foundation of Catholic Social Teaching to make lives better through servant leadership.

Meet the 2024 Lifetime Commitment to Catholic Education Award Winners

Father Damian Anuszewski, O.SS.T.

DeMatha Catholic High School, Archdiocese of Washington
Hyattsville, MD

Father Damian Anuszewski is the longest-serving Trinitarian in DeMatha history. He has served as an administrator, faculty member, team moderator, emcee, bookstore manager and servant leader, during his 50 years in the community. He has officiated at countless weddings, performed numerous baptisms and presided at myriad funerals—no Trinitarian has served so many alumni and their families at times of joy, at times of welcome and at times of sorrow. A stalwart of the DeMatha community, Fr. Damian, has been a remarkable role model living a mission-driven life. His career of service includes teaching every level of theology and accounting (and other business classes), serving as department chair and rector, serving on archdiocesan committees, being the chaplain for the athletic program and moderating various clubs. The Father Mike Malloy Scholarship Fund is an umbrella for all funds that provide financial aid for students who would not otherwise be able to attend DeMatha and a scholarship from that fund is named for Father Damian Anuszewski.

Mary Fiala

Superintendent, Office of Catholic Schools, Diocese of Youngstown
Youngstown, OH

As a teacher and principal, Mary Fiala created environments for kids steeped in Catholic tradition and faith formation. Her students' and community's experiences were always founded on a context of faith. After becoming superintendent, she maintained a focus on forming teachers through faith formation, professional development and upholding school Catholicity standards. Principals were always hired based on a zeal for the faith formation mission of the school, provided retreats and formation experiences and were given ongoing new standards for growing the Catholicity of their schools through a host of programming. Mrs. Fiala was vigilant in extending her Catholic formation through various parish and diocesan programs as well as professional, spiritual development opportunities through agencies such as the University of Notre Dame. She has embodied a compassionate, lived gospel ministry throughout her career. Mrs. Fiala exemplifies the mission of Catholic education in her words and actions, engaging students in service-learning activities addressing such issues as poverty, inequality and stewardship. As a principal, she provided those same opportunities for students and teachers holding food drives, sponsoring families, and starting a recycling program. As a superintendent, Mrs. Fiala focuses on the formation of well-rounded individuals who are academically competent, spiritually aware, socially responsible and committed to serving others. Mrs. Fiala has shown her leadership in the community through a Catholic lens. She has initiated and participated in service projects such as raising money for and planting trees at a local nature habitat. Like St. Francis of Assisi, she is passionate about the environment and has a love for animals.

Michelle Peduto

Secretary of the Secretariat for Catholic Schools and Superintendent of Catholic Schools, Diocese of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, PA

After nearly five years as superintendent of Catholic Schools in the Diocese of Pittsburgh, Michelle Peduto has made the heartfelt decision to retire from her position effective June 30, 2024. This announcement, though bittersweet, reflects her desire to focus on her health and quality time with her family, as she continues treatment for metastatic breast cancer. Mrs. Peduto has a total of 21 years of service in Catholic education in Pittsburgh. A beacon of inspiration, she steered the schools through the COVID pandemic and regionalization efforts to address evolving needs and her passion is clear in supporting Bishop David Zubik’s vision for sustainable, affordable and accessible Catholic education. She also works with Father Tom Burke on the Catholic Education Plus radio show to foster understanding and support for teachers and students facing real issues in our schools.

Sister Lenore Schwartz, OSF

Retired Principal of St. Boniface School, Lafayette Catholic School System
Lafayette, IN

Sr. Lenore Schwartz entered the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration in 1966. As part of her calling to the consecrated life, Sr. Lenore became a teacher and first served in 1968 in Hammond, IN. She has been assigned to schools in five dioceses in Indiana, Illinois and Louisiana over the years, as a teacher and then principal. In her last assignment, Sr. Lenore was the principal of St. Boniface School in Lafayette from 2000 until her retirement in 2021. Despite her retirement, Sr. Lenore continues to work for the Lafayette Catholic Schools by providing faith formation opportunities for the faculty and staff, including sessions about Rembrandt’s painting of the Prodigal Son and icons. She has also spearheaded an initiative focusing on living the Corporal Works of Mercy, encouraging students, families and the greater school community to focus on one Corporal Work of Mercy each month throughout the school year. Additionally, Sister Lenore has become the resident expert on Catholic history in the Greater Lafayette area and her personal behind-the-scenes tours, quizzes and dinners have become a hit at the annual Gala. Because the essence of Catholic education is not just “bricks and mortar,” Sister felt it vital to meet the needs of her students at St. Boniface. She started a first-ever art-enrichment program, developed school music and band programs. In addition, she spearheaded heretofore unheard-of Catholic ecumenical initiatives for the students to the local Russian Orthodox Church and Tibetan Buddhist monks visiting the community. For this she was conferred with a Tibetan Jael-dhar or Khata scarf by the visiting monks.

Dr. Samuel Torres

Retired Superintendent of Catholic Schools, Diocese of San Bernardino
San Bernardino, CA

Dr. Samuel Torres, a dedicated servant of Catholic education for 27 years, has held various influential roles throughout his career. At the K-12 Bishop Walsh School in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, for 12 years Dr. Torres taught Spanish, coached high school baseball, taught religion, served as dean of students, assistant principal and principal. More recently, Dr. Torres was principal for nine years in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles for Pomona Catholic School. In both archdioceses, he worked tirelessly to thoughtfully merge schools and ensure accessibility for marginalized families. At Pomona, he successfully implemented strategies that led to increased enrollment, higher matriculation rates to college, improved test scores and strengthened community relations. As the first Latino superintendent to serve the Diocese of San Bernardino in June 2018, Dr. Torres formed invaluable networks to support families in this diverse and vibrant diocese. Committed to the mission of Catholic education, he believes that his unique experiences, combined with spiritual growth, have positioned him to respond to the changing landscape of Catholic educational institutions. As an American of Mexican descent, he has brought a vital perspective to actively encourage marginalized families to embrace the transformative power of Catholic education. With a deep appreciation for his involvement in supporting and consulting with Catholic school leaders nationwide through the Western Catholic Educational Association (WCEA), Dr. Torres leaves a legacy of inclusion and a steadfast commitment to nurturing the Body of Christ within our schools. As he embarks on retirement, he looks forward to cherishing time with his spouse Maggie, their grown children who also attended Catholic schools and their growing family of grandchildren.

Laudato Si'

Following the principles of Laudato Si'.


Momentum Magazine

Relevant, timely and important articles and best practices in the realm of Catholic education.


Faith Assessments

Tools to evaluate your religious education programs.