ACE logo

ACE Honors Three Graduates with Pressley Awards

Theo Helm on Monday, 17 July 2017.

As part of an annual tradition recognizing the outstanding work of its graduates and supporters, the University of Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) honored three members of the Catholic education community who have set themselves apart with their commitment to their fields of expertise.

The Michael Pressley Award for Excellence in Catholic Education is awarded to ACE graduates who have distinguished themselves in making significant contributions to the ministry of Catholic Education. The Michael Pressley Award for Promising Scholar in the Education Field is given to an ACE graduate whose work in academia echoes Dr. Pressley’s commitment to strengthening education through research and scholarship. Both awards were presented as part of ACE’s Commencement ceremonies on July 15, 2017.

The Michael Pressley Award for Excellence in Catholic Education


Brynn Johnson, ACE Pressley Award Winner As a member of ACE 14, Brynn Johnson taught fourth grade at Holy Family Elementary School in Birmingham, Alabama. Her interest in serving all students to the best of her ability led her to enroll in ACE’s Teaching Exceptional Children Program. Now, as a middle school math teacher at The Academy of the Sacred Heart in New Orleans, Johnson continues to serve students and families through her commitment to a curriculum rooted in creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving. Johnson has been awarded two fellowships through the Fund for Teachers; these have allowed her to travel to Southeast Asia and Spain and create global studies units for elementary students. She most recently won the 2017 Grosvenor Teacher Fellows Award through the National Geographic Society and Lindblad Expeditions. Through this fellowship, Johnson will lead teachers in their development as educators committed to geographic knowledge and global awareness.


Carl Loesch, Pressley Award WinnerCarl Loesch is the Secretary for Catholic Education in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend and a member of ACE 12 and the sixth class of the Mary Ann Remick Leadership Program. For more than 20 years, he has dedicated his life to serving others through Catholic education. From 1991 to 2000, he worked at Bishop Dwenger High School in Fort Wayne as a theology teacher, wrestling coach, and service coordinator. In addition to founding the first high school Habitat for Humanity chapter in Indiana, Loesch’s high school service group made over thirty mission trips to Appalachia and built seventy ramps for those with physical disabilities. Loesch returned to the University of Notre Dame to work at the Center for Social Concerns, where he directed the National Youth Sports Program and coordinated a series of one-credit service learning experiences for Notre Dame students. In 2004, Loesch became principal of Marian High School in Mishawaka, where he served until becoming Secretary for Catholic Education in 2014. 

The Michael Pressley Award for a Promising Scholar in the Education Field


Dan Bowen, Ph.D., ACE Pressley Award WinnerDr. Dan Bowen taught middle school social studies at Montgomery Catholic Preparatory School as a member of ACE 13 before pursuing a doctoral degree at the University of Arkansas in education policy. The inspiration for Bowen’s research, which examined the value of “non-core” subjects and school-sponsored, culturally-enriching activities, stemmed from his ACE experience as a tennis coach, supervisor for the youth and government program, and coach of an improv comedy club. As a postdoctoral fellow at Rice University, Bowen became a research affiliate with the Houston Education Research Consortium before taking his current role as an assistant professor of educational administration at Texas A&M University. Bowen serves as the principal investigator of Houston’s Arts Access Initiative, a policy designed to increase arts educational learning opportunities and resources for students from historically underserved populations. In addition to publications in peer-reviewed journals such as Teachers College Record and Educational Researcher, Bowen’s research has been featured in The New York Times, NBC Nightly News, CNN, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, Education Week, and others.

Share this story. . .

Search News