Welcome to the NCEA 2016 Convention & Expo!  We have a wonderful crowd of nearly 5,000 teachers, administrators, pastors and board members. Catholic education, my friends, is very much alive and well!  For those of you able to attend, thank you for being here in San Diego with us to lead, learn and proclaim the good news of Catholic education.

This week, more than 275 professional development sessions will be presented for you to acquire new skills and knowledge. You will have the opportunity to join in prayer and encounter Jesus Christ with thousands of Catholic educators from throughout the world as we gather each day for beautiful and inspirational liturgies.

We have Catholic educators here from every state and 16 international countries.  This includes leaders and Catholic educators from Australia, the Caribbean, Canada, Germany, Japan, the Marshall Islands, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Spain, Thailand, and England.

For many of you here, this may be your first experience with NCEA, and some of you have been coming to Convention for longer!  No matter where you fall, it is our hope that you will discover new things that you can share with your communities, colleagues, and students and that your faith and commitment to Catholic education will be strengthened as you listen to and engage with others.

NCEA 2016 is a time to celebrate, to acquire new knowledge and to renew your spirit. We will celebrate the gift of Catholic education through engaging in professional learning, participating in social gatherings, and affirming or building new connections with other Catholic educators.  And we are doing all this for the sake of those we serve – the students in our schools whom God has called us to love, form and educate.

Over the last year, we have developed new service areas that are dedicated to leadership development for principals, presidents, pastors, board members and superintendents, and profession­al development for teachers with a strong emphasis on the integration of Catholic values throughout the curriculum.  NCEA encourages you to stop by NCEA Central in the Expo Hall to learn more about these opportunities and connect with staff while you enjoy your stay here in San Diego.

We are also kicking off the NCEA Lead. Learn. Proclaim. Advisory Councils that serve as a representative voice of NCEA members to help guide our programs and services.  These three councils will meet here for the first time at Convention.

May God bless you throughout your journey this week in San Diego!