NCEA Honors Outstanding Contributions to Catholic Education

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Five awards presented during Indianapolis convention

During the annual NCEA convention in Indianapolis, the association honored five individual who have made outstanding contributions to Catholic education. Four NCEA awards were presented during convention general sessions. The Emmaus award was presented during the convocation of the National Association of Parish Catechetical Directors.

Catherine T. McNamee, CSJ, Award

Honors leadership in promoting a vision of Catholic education that welcomes and serves cultural and economic diversity and enhances services for students with diverse needs.

Sister Sharon Slear, SSND

Sister Sharon Slear, a member of the School Sisters of Notre Dame, is dean of education and outreach for the College of Notre Dame of Maryland in Baltimore. She has roots in Catholic secondary education in Florida and Maryland and was a graduate assistant to the director of the Catholic School Leadership program at Boston College. She is a tenured professor at the College of Notre Dame of Maryland and has served as chief of the education department, assistant and later director of graduate studies and, since 2004, dean of education and outreach.

She oversaw the creation of the Ph.D. program in the education department, aptly titled "Instructional Leadership for Changing Populations." She is a frequent presenter at educational conferences and has held leadership roles in many Maryland associations for education professionals.

C. Albert Koob Merit Award

Honors a distinguished Catholic educator who has made extraordinary contributions on a regional or national level.

Rev. William Leahy, SJ

In addition to his outstanding leadership since 1996 as Boston College's 25th president, Jesuit Father William Leahy has provided leadership to the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (an NCEA affiliate organization) and to the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. The Boston College Lynch School of Education and the Carroll School of Management have provided valuable consulting services to Boston Catholic grade schools. The Church in the 21st Century initiative has brought healing and hope to a troubled diocese. Begun in 2002 as a two-year effort to explore issues highlighted by the sexual abuse scandal, the institute now has become a permanent organization to explore issues facing the church today.

Msgr. John E. Meyers Award

Honors an individual who has supported Catholic education at any level or in any educational setting.

Rev. William F. Davis, OSFS

For 14 years, until his retirement in 2007, Father William Davis, a member of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, was a vigorous advocate for Catholic education. As both deputy secretary for public policy and interim secretary for education at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, he worked tirelessly to ensure that students, parents and faculty members of Catholic schools received the ful benefits due then under the law.Throughout the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (No Child Left Behind) and teh Individuals with Disabilities Act, Father Davis led the efforts of the Catholic community to inform and persuade members of Congress that independent and religious schools were vital to creating an educated citizenry and deserving of publicly funded support.

Father Davis was the chief organizer of Congressional Advocacy Days, which brought persons from across the countyr to Washington, D.C., to receive detailed briefings on government issues and opportunely to lobby on Capital Hill. His staff work on the U.S. bishops' statement, "Our Commitment to Elementary and Secondary Schools i the Third Millennium," ranks as one of his greatest contributions to Catholic education.

Leonard F. DeFiore Parental Choice Advocate Award

Honors and individual who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in promoting full and fair parental choice in education. …