The Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) is honored to be part of the career stories of three educators who were saluted by the White House on Jan. 25 as "Champions of Change."
A fourth educator who was spotlighted is another supporter of ACE, as seen in the formation for leaders in her diocese. ACE is pleased to join in thanking all ten of the champions of Catholic education who were spotlighted in the Washington, D.C., ceremony. They share in ACE's commitment to offer all young people, especially the disadvantaged, the opportunity for a high-quality Catholic education.
Among the honorees was Joseph Womac, a graduate of ACE’s ACE Teaching Fellows program
. In recent years, he has served as executive director of the Fulcrum Foundation, a Seattle-based organization whose fund-raising has helped more than 10,000 low income students attend Catholic schools. Sister Rosa Maria Ruiz, C.F.M.M., superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Tucson
in Arizona, was also one of the honorees. She noted that her purview includes an in-depth partnership with the Notre Dame ACE Academy initiative, in which ACE and Notre Dame are working with local educators to strengthen three diocesan schools.
A third honoree was Yvonne Schwab, principal of St. James the Less Catholic School in Columbus, Ohio. As the White House press release noted, “Mrs. Schwab and her staff have worked closely with the University of Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education. This connection has provided the staff with necessary training for the new population” of her school, which is largely Latino. A recent news story posted at ACE’s website described the school’s adoption of ideas from the ACE Catholic School Advantage campaign.Annette "Mickey" Lentz is chancellor of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis
. Among the steps leading to success in this honoree's schools, the Archdiocese has built partnerships with higher education institutions to help teachers earn advanced degrees. "Reflecting Mickey's ardent support of ACE, her archdiocese has sent more candidates to the Mary Ann Remick Leadership Program (RLP)
—preparation for a principal's duties and other leadership roles—than any other diocese," said Rev. Ronald Nuzzi, senior director of the RLP.
The salute to the ten educators included individual comments and panel presentations giving voice to the honorees' love for Catholic education. Womac, in his reflection, said that preserving the American dream for millions of American families involves preserving Catholic education.
"I saw this first-hand teaching in Catholic schools in Louisiana as a part of the University of Notre Dame's service program, the Alliance for Catholic Education," Womac told the White House audience. "I see it first-hand every day at work in the hopeful lives of thousands of students attending school with Fulcrum's assistance."