Looking Ahead in Catholic School Education



 A New Year’s Message from Dr. Thomas Burnford, Interim President

Beginnings, like the new year, always seem to imply a fresh start. I am pleased to begin this year with my own new opportunity – to lead NCEA in its work to lead, learn and proclaim, to serve and meet the needs of you, our members.

While Catholic Schools are in the middle of the academic year, the newness of the calendar year provides an opportunity for us all to think about the big picture of Catholic school education in the United States.  Things on my mind at this time include:

  • How can we build enrollments in Catholic Schools across the country by telling the story of excellent academics, safe schools, and faith formation throughout the entire life of the school? How can we tell this story in a way that connects our schools, as Catholic schools, to every person in the United States?
  • What will 2016 bring in terms of the growth of school choice for families, especially real choice in which tax funds follow families to the school of their choice? How do we address funding issues?
  • At the heart of Catholic schools are great teachers, principals and superintendents.  What are the best practices (and how can we share them nationally) for initial and ongoing formation in Catholic identity for our dedicated teachers and leaders? How do we retain our leaders and at the same time do effective succession planning?

I look forward to delving deeper into these big picture topics and the year of opportunity ahead for Catholic school education. On behalf of the NCEA Board of Directors, staff and myself, thank you for your membership and support. If you have ideas, or just want to chat, please call me at 571-257-0010 or e-mail me at tburnford@ncea.org.

Sincerely in Christ,


Thomas W. Burnford, D.Min.
Interim President

PS – See you in San Diego, March 29-31 for the NCEA Convention & Expo!



Be a part of NCEA’s New Year Bucket List!

NCEA has many exciting learning resources, professional development opportunities and events to help you round out this academic year and prepare ahead for the next! As we look ahead, we hope you will join us in completing the following NCEA New Year Bucket List!

  • The Winter 2016 issue of Momentum will be in mailboxes (both physical and digital) later this month! A member benefit, we hope superintendents will share with their principals and principals with their teachers.
  • National Catholic Schools Week kicks off January 31! This celebration week is a time where schools grow in community and faith. Now is definitely not too late to download your CSW handbook – this year’s version provides great resources, tools and templates to help you not only for Catholic Schools Week but in your year-round marketing!
  • NCEA Webinars are back! Whether it is leadership succession planning, Catholic identity curriculum integration, discovering how to use school data effectively or something in between, there is a topic for you! Mark your calendar today.
  • NCEA 2016 Convention & Expo is just around the corner, taking place March 29 -31 in sunny San Diego. The Convention is a time to celebrate, to acquire new knowledge, and to renew your spirit. San Diego is just the place for that to happen to you! It is not too late to register at the early bird rate. Registration rates increase on February 3, so please be sure to register soon to maximize your savings, and don’t forget to apply for any Title II-A funds you may be entitled to use.
  • A new NCEA website will be live later this spring. We’ve heard from members about their needs and are excited to share an interactive and informative platform for you to explore. Stay tuned for pilot and launch dates!
  • While summer may not be on your mind now, exciting upcoming professional development events may make that change!
    • STREAM 2.0 June 27 – 29 | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
      STREAM (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Arts and Math) continues to gather steam! Following the success of the inaugural STREAM symposium held in June 2014, this program will acquaint, enrich and facilitate Catholic school educators in the design and delivery of STREAM education and is design for the field practitioner through hands-on labs, classes and sessions.
    • Education Law Symposium July 7 – 10 | Louisville, Kentucky
      Co-sponsored by NCEA and St. Catharine College, this annual symposium is dedicated to providing the latest information on the law as it applied to Catholic education and ministry. Topics include legal case updates, faculty handbooks, board issues, sponsorship, health issues, special education, athletics, discipline issues, custody issues, technology issues, immigration and personnel issues. Registration is limited.
    • The Institute for Catholic School Leadership July 17 – 20 | Omaha, Nebraska
      Inspired by the past success of NCEA’s Principals Forum and Presidents Symposium, this leadership event is dedicated to serve current Catholic school leaders, as well as provide professional development in the preparation and development of the next generation of Catholic school leaders. Presidents, principals, pastors and governing bodies are encouraged to join us at this event.
    • Bearing Witness July 17-22, 2016 | Washington, DC
      NCEA is pleased once again to partner with the Anti-Defamation League for Bearing Witness. Bearing Witness is a unique professional development opportunity designed to provide Catholic school educators with the training and resources necessary to teach their students about the historical relationship between Jewish and Catholic communities and the impact of that relationship on Catholic teaching, catechesis and liturgy. Applications are due on April 15. Please visit www.adl.org/bearingwitness for more information.
    • The Superintendent Academy October 22 – 23 |Indianapolis, Indiana
      The Superintendent Academy provides innovative, timely and relevant information and practices for  superintendents, associate superintendents, and assistant superintendents in Catholic education.  While the Academy focuses primarily on new or nearly new diocesan leaders, it is also an excellent professional development opportunity for aspiring superintendents and seasoned veterans seeking a refresher.
    • Catholic Leadership Summit October 23 – 26 | Indianapolis, Indiana
      NCEA Catholic Leadership Summit is open to all NCEA members who are arch/diocesan directors who serve Catholic schools. The meeting consists of professional development sessions, inspirational keynotes and networking opportunities.