Building Community: Come Meet Our Staff at NCEA 2024

Written by Margaret Kaplow, Communications Manager, NCEA, [email protected]

We are thrilled to announce the lineup of extraordinary NCEA employees who will be an integral part of NCEA 2024.  With their unwavering dedication to Catholic education and a deep-rooted commitment to our shared mission, they are ready to inspire and connect with each and every one of you.

Register before February 23, 2024, and you can still get the Early Bird rate for NCEA 2024.

At the forefront of the NCEA 2024 Convention stands Lincoln Snyder, NCEA President/CEO. With great joy, he will host the prestigious awards dinner on April 1, open Convention and guide us through the State of Catholic Education on April 2, and close NCEA 2024 on April 4.  Ensuring that things go like clockwork is Christie Blewett, executive coordinator.

Headlining the General Session on April 3 is Josh Packard, NCEA Executive Vice President of Strategy and Operations. Josh’s deep understanding of the changing forms of religious expression in America and the spiritual lives of modern youth keeps him engaged with every aspect of Catholic faith and academics. Seek him out to engage in thought-provoking conversations on the future of education within our Catholic community. He’ll be speaking along with John Galvan and Megan Bissell at the General Session.

To explore NCEA Rise for your school or parish, seek out John Galvan, NCEA Vice President of Assessments. He’ll be leading a breakout session on April 3. John’s commitment to educational growth and impact is unparalleled. You’ll be amazed by his ubiquitous presence throughout the convention—it’s as if he has a twin!

In sessions and at events are Megan Bissell, NCEA Vice President of Research and Data, along with data analyst Sarah Roberts. They collect crucial census data from all dioceses on enrollment and staffing for the NCEA Annual Statistical Report on Schools, Enrollment and Staffing. The invaluable data this team collects provides a comprehensive understanding of Catholic education in the U.S. and informs important discussions about the state of Catholic education.

Covering every inch of the convention center with boundless energy is Jennifer Barnett, NCEA Director of Events. With her meticulous planning and attention to detail, Jennifer ensures that every session room is ready, meals are set and hospitality flows. Count on her to guide you through the event and make your experience truly exceptional.

Make your way to NCEA Central, where you can meet Wade Marshall, NCEA Vice President of Member Services, along with dedicated member sales associates, Tina Armistead, Sherri Jackson and Beth Gilliand. They are your go-to team for all things membership-related, from bookstore offerings to event registration, ensuring you stay connected to valuable resources and opportunities.

While at NCEA Central, be sure to shake hands with Cedric Bernescut, NCEA Director of IT and a member sales associate. His vast knowledge and experience enable him to provide exceptional service, and he might even surprise you with the number of NCEA books he’s read and sold throughout his career.

Laura MacDonald, NCEA Director of Professional Learning, can be found at sessions, engaging with presenters and sharing ideas with attendees. Her dedication to staying on top of the latest trends and insights in professional development ensures that the sessions are meaningful and impactful.

Sister Dale McDonald, NCEA Vice President of Public Policy, leads sessions on the critical issues that impact Catholic schools in the federal government, including school choice and Title funding. Her vast knowledge and passionate advocacy provide invaluable guidance for our Catholic educational community.

Father Tom Simonds, NCEA Director of Secondary Engagement, thrives in connecting with educators and administrators from around the country. You will find him presenting a session on April 4 and engaging in most Convention gatherings, where his warm spirit creates a welcoming environment for all.

Karen Berraras, NCEA Director of Leadership Engagement, is a familiar face and voice for many of you, be it from a Professional Learning Community (PLC) meeting or a phone call discussing accreditation or school leadership. Look for Karen in sessions, lunches and leading breakout sessions—she is ready to connect and inspire.

For all things marketing and business development, head to the Exhibit Hall, where you’ll find Crystal Berry, NCEA Executive Vice President of Marketing and Business Development, together with business relationship manager, Jessica Roberts. They will be working closely with our valued NCEA Corporate Partners, sponsors and exhibitors. Keep an eye out for marketing campaign manager Beth Rucinski, always seeking the next story that will inspire and inform our Catholic educational communities.

Throughout the Convention, our dedicated team from communications will be making their rounds. BeeJae Visitacion, NCEA Director of Communications, communications manager Margaret Kaplow, and graphic design and production manager Bea Ruiz will engage in social media, gather insights for future events, juggle media requests and outline the next Momentum magazine. Feel free to approach them anytime—they would love to connect with you.

Most likely to be found at registration, working behind the scenes, ensuring smooth operations, paying the bills and keeping finances in order, we have Melissa Mercer, NCEA Executive Vice President of Finance and Ana Hernandez, accountant and HR specialist. Their dedication and expertise form a strong foundation for the work we do.

As we prepare to gather for the NCEA 2024 Convention, let us embrace the opportunity to learn, connect and share the joys and challenges of Catholic education, Together in Pittsburgh: Connections, Commitments, Community.

Register today because we are looking forward to welcoming you to this exceptional event!