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Mary Ann Remick Leadership Program

Bustling ACE Summer Restores Energy? That's how the Spirit works!

Written by Stacey Brandt on Monday, 12 August 2013.

ACE summers are not like "normal" summers at RoseACESummer2013newsletterall. Instead of lazy days by the pool, the summer days of ACErs are bustling with activity: working, learning, sharing, planning, researching, presenting, and studying. There is remarkably little down time for the ACE faculty and staff and the teachers on campus participating in various programs and conferences. After all, ACE exists to sustain and strengthen Catholic schools. With a mission like that, how can we rest? We want always to be making progress, making change, making a difference. One observing from the outside might think that these summers could not possibly be restorative, yet somehow participants in the ACE program repeatedly leave Notre Dame's campus with fresh, smiling faces and a renewed zeal for Catholic education.

How can this be?

To find the answer to this question, we need to look beyond our work to become better educators and beyond the stellar community support offered here. The secret behind this renewal is found in the spiritual pillar of ACE, which sustains us all as individuals and as a community both in the summer and through the school year, when we are sent across the country to continue our work.

ACE has a tradition of praying with the Lord's words in Psalm 46: "Be still, and know that I am God." These words ought to comfort us, but I suspect that many of us also see them as a challenge. How can we possibly be still when there is so much to do, and only us to do it? How can we heed these words and still fulfill our call to be Christ's hands and feet on Earth?

With these words, God is not asking us to stop our work forever; indeed, we believe it is He who has called us to it in the first place. Instead, he is asking for a spiritual stillness and a rightly-ordered view of the work that we do. We are invoked to "Come, behold the works of the LORD," acknowledging that without the Lord, our efforts could never be enough, but with him, anything is possible; even stillness amid the whirlwind of an ACE summer.

As soon as I started looking for it, I realized that throughout the day, I constantly encounter this stillness around the summer's bustling campus.

There is stillness in the Grotto, which is always full of people, yet never lacking in peace.

There is stillness as ACE staff members come together in prayer as a natural part of each workday.

There is stillness as we pause together to appreciate the sunset.

There is stillness in visiting with people who truly listen and thoughtfully respond to your stories, ideas, and concerns.

There is stillness in communal meals, where friendships are formed and strengthened.

There is stillness when ACErs gather for Mass, greeting our Lord with reverence and one another with love.

There is stillness in the kind smiles that greet all who enter Carole Sandner Hall.

Although a physical stillness may not be present, these moments offer a glimpse of that inner stillness amid the commotion of summer that keeps us grounded. When we recognize that ultimately the Lord is in control, we can be still, trusting in His will for us and resting in His presence even as we go about accomplishing the many duties of each day.

This stillness is what allows us to leave this summer refreshed, with minds full of new ideas and hearts bursting with love, ready to serve the children of God.

Missioning Mass Sends Forth Teachers for Catholic Schools

Written by William Schmitt on Monday, 29 July 2013.

Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin Stresses Bond with Christ the Teacher

Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis presided at the Alliance for Catholic Education’s (ACE) Missioning Mass on July 26, invoking blessings for 260 teachers and leaders at the University of Notre Dame as they fan out around the country to serve students in Catholic schools.

“May their faith be enlivened and deepened as they bear witness to the Gospel,” Archbishop Tobin prayed during the ceremony that sent forth 173 recent college graduates enrolled in the ACE Teaching Fellows program and 48 aspiring Catholic school principals in ACE’s Mary Ann Remick Leadership Program.

The Mass in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart also missioned 39 teachers in ACE’s English as a New Language program, who will help diverse student bodies overcome language barriers.

Missioning caps the summertime tradition when an array of graduate-level courses and topical conferences bring to campus hundreds of people dedicated to ACE’s goal to sustain, strengthen, and transform Catholic schools.

Archbishop Tobin said in his homily that he shares ACE’s commitment to keep Catholic schools operating as “an instrument of evangelization.” He urged the educators to “welcome in Jesus Christ” as they go forth to their classrooms, heeding and incorporating the Word of God in their work. “Then, brothers and sisters,” he said, “we have something to give.”

He blessed medals depicting Christ the Teacher and crosses depicting Jesus washing disciples’ feet and accompanying children of the world. ACE founder Rev. Timothy Scully, C.S.C., joined other concelebrants and ACE program leaders in distributing the icons to educators who soon would travel to numerous partner dioceses.

ACE will celebrate its 20th anniversary during the 2013-2014 academic year. Father Scully and Rev. Sean McGraw, C.S.C., founded the Alliance for Catholic Education in 1993 to form college graduates as teachers for under-resourced Catholic schools, especially those serving disadvantaged children. That program, now ACE Teaching Fellows, became a springboard for other initiatives of formation and service.

Photos by University Photographer Barbara Johnston

Sen. Donnelly Encourages Graduates to Serve Students through Strong Education

Written by William Schmitt on Thursday, 18 July 2013.

Commencement Address to ACE Teachers Highlights Responsibility, Potential

“Fighting for our Children’s Future,” the watchword emblazoned on the bus for ACE’s upcoming National Tour to celebrate Catholic schools, accentuates the call U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly issued recently to graduates at the 2013 ACE Commencement exercises.

Donnelly, a Notre Dame alumnus who represents Indiana in the U.S. Senate, addressed the 111 master’s degree recipients as their Commencement speaker, as a fellow advocate among the Fighting Irish, and as a policy-maker who has seen the high stakes in educating today’s young people.

“There’s no graduate program more important than what you have just finished,” said Donnelly at the July 13 event on campus. “This is the future of our country and our world that you’re going to be working with. You will be the face of Notre Dame, the face of our Church, the face of Jesus Christ, to people in some of the toughest areas we have in our country.”

He continued, “As principals and as teachers, part of being Fighting Irish is that you will fight for each child…. You will fight for an excellent education so that they have a chance.” Among many inner-city youths trapped in lives of turmoil and violence, a common thread is their disconnection from education.

“You provide hope, you provide [a] future, for many of these people,” Donnelly told the 85 graduates of the ACE Teaching Fellows program and the 26 graduates of ACE’s Mary Ann Remick Leadership Program. “You are the face of what they can achieve.”

The graduates and their families, convened in the Leighton Concert Hall of the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center, had joined ACE faculty and staff in welcoming Donnelly after ACE founder Rev. Timothy Scully, C.S.C., introduced the first-term U.S. Senator as “a tireless advocate for justice” and “a son of Notre Dame whose life and work stand as a powerful witness to the transforming power of education.”

Donnelly’s remarks invoked the graduates’ service to the Church, reflecting the “love and compassion” that Jesus taught, plus wise discernment between right and wrong. He also invoked service to the United States—“making our nation a stronger, better place.” School teachers and leaders in under-served areas are crucial in giving students a chance for success, he said, “so no pressure on any of you—but the future of our country is on your shoulders.”

Such a responsibility also brings satisfaction, especially from the students one serves, the Senator reminded his audience: There may be more glamorous jobs than teacher or principal, but nothing can beat “the reward you’ll get at the end of the day when these young people come up and say, you’ve changed my life.”

Following the ceremony, in response to questions, Senator Donnelly called himself “very fortunate” to be a product of Catholic grade school and Catholic high school. Catholic schools teach values and give a great education, he said, and they combine with the country’s public school system “to make sure every child has a chance” to be part of the range of educational opportunity.

We do have to fight together for our children’s future, Donnelly agreed. “So much of the challenges we face as a country—those challenges can be met if we’re able to get every child educated, have every child graduate from high school, have a chance for every child to gain the skills necessary to have a good job and great opportunity. So everything we aspire to as a country is directly related to how well we educate our people.”

Where does ACE fit into this effort? “One of the distinctive roles for ACE and Notre Dame is to be a backbone of the Catholic education system,” said Donnelly in response to the question. “When you look at this graduating class, they are going forth throughout not only our country but the whole world, in both teaching and administration…. As Catholic education continues on into the future, I think you will see the University of Notre Dame and the ACE program become an even more critical part of its future success.”

Catholic School Teachers and Leaders Prepare for Graduation at Notre Dame

Written by William Schmitt on Thursday, 11 July 2013.

Senator Joe Donnelly Will Deliver Commencement Address

Web 2011-ACE-Commencement-1

The University of Notre Dame will advance its role as the nation’s leading provider of Catholic school leaders on Saturday, July 13, when more than 110 graduates from the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) receive master’s degrees at the 2013 ACE Commencement exercises.

The Commencement, to be held in the Leighton Concert Hall of the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center, is an important milestone for the teachers, principals, and leaders of the ACE ACE Teaching Fellows and the Mary Ann Remick Leadership Programs who have spent the last two and three years respectively living out ACE’s mission to sustain, strengthen and transform Catholic schools while completing their coursework within ACE’s innovative instructional models.

Master of Education (M. Ed.) degrees will be conferred upon 85 graduates within the 18th cohort of ACE Teaching Fellows, which sends forth young teachers to serve in under-resourced Catholic schools in 26 dioceses across the country. The Remick Leadership Program, an initiative that prepares Catholic school educators for roles as principals and other leadership roles in Catholic schools, will award 26 graduates in cohort 10 with Master of Arts degrees in educational administration.

The keynote speaker for this year’s exercises will be Senator Joe Donnelly, United States Senator of Indiana and Notre Dame alumnus.

Representing the University of Notre Dame will be Christine Maziar, Ph.D., who is Vice President, Senior Associate Provost, and Acting Dean of the Graduate School. Also addressing the group of graduates, parents, and friends of the Alliance for Catholic Education will be ACE’s founder, Rev. Timothy Scully, C.S.C., director of the Institute for Educational Initiatives at the University of Notre Dame.

The Commencement ceremonies, a ticketed event scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m., will also feature the presentation of awards for distinguished service in support of Catholic schools. The Michael Pressley Award for Excellence in Catholic Education and the Michael Pressley Award for a Promising Scholar in the Education Field annually go to outstanding ACE graduates who have continued their careers enhancing ACE’s mission.

The Pressley awards are named for the prodigious and world-renowned scholar Michael Pressley, who served as the inaugural academic director of ACE’s teacher preparation program.

At the Commencement luncheon, Father Scully will present the Maureen T. Hallinan Award for Excellence in Catholic Education to Katie Baal, a graduate from the first cohort of ACE teachers, who assembled at the initiative’s founding almost 20 years ago. She went on to earn a Ph.D. in educational leadership and policy studies at Loyola University Chicago and pursued a distinguished career as a science teacher and administrator in Jesuit and public education. Dr. Baal has been principal of Loyola Academy in Wilmette, Ill., since 2011.

ACE presents the Hallinan Award for Excellence in Catholic Education in honor of Dr. Maureen Hallinan, the founding director of the Institute for Educational Initiatives, a world-renowned scholar and deeply beloved colleague who continues to inspire with her love of learning and truth. The annual award is bestowed in her honor upon an ACE graduate whose life and work reflect Dr. Hallinan's lifetime of service to the Gospel through the field of Catholic education.

The public events of ACE’s Commencement day will conclude with a Mass in Notre Dame’s Basilica of the Sacred Heart at 6:30 pm.

Watch the live stream at http://ace.nd.edu/livestream

Pressley Awards Go to Distinguished ACE Alumni Serving Catholic Education

Written by William Schmitt on Monday, 08 July 2013.

The ACE Commencement exercises scheduled for Saturday, July 13, 2013, will confer master’s degrees upon participants in ACE Teaching Fellows and the Mary Ann Remick Leadership Program, but the event also honors graduates of those programs who have continued their careers with excellence in the spirit of the ACE pillars of education, community, and spirituality.

Awards this year will go to three leaders who have played influential roles that support Catholic schooling.

The annual Michael Pressley Award for Excellence in Catholic Education will be presented to two past graduates of ACE formation programs: Jessica Gray Werner, Ph.D., who graduated in 2003 in the eighth cohort of ACE Teaching Fellows; and Michael Zelenka, who also was in “ACE 8” and also in the sixth cohort of the Remick Leadership Program, graduating in 2007.

David Yeager, Ph.D., who graduated from ACE Teaching Fellows in 2006 and is now assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, will receive the Michael Pressley Award for a Promising Scholar in the Education Field.

The three Pressley Awards are named for the prodigious and world-renowned scholar Michael Pressley who served as the inaugural academic director of ACE’s teacher preparation program.

Here is more information about the recipients:


Jessica served students in Jackson, Miss., as a teacher for three years during and after ACE. Then she began working with the Daughters of Charity, supporting their efforts to strengthen Catholic educational ministry in Ethiopia and Kenya, and later became director of the Vincentian Lay Missionaries. This work entails providing spiritual formation for the current volunteers in the Daughters of Charity programs in Africa.

Meanwhile, Jessica has also earned a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota, with a dissertation focused on principal and teacher training in Uganda, and she teaches education as an adjunct professor at the College of Saint Scholastica. A nominator calls her “a stellar example of an ACE graduate whose life has been transformed by Catholic education and social justice.” Jessica demonstrates a passionate belief in “the power of education” to change lives and “the unique gifts that the Catholic Church can offer” to transform structures and reform education.


Michael has continued to pursue his vocation in Catholic education as an educator in St. Petersburg, Fla., where he was assigned in the ACE 8 cohort. He now serves as principal at Incarnation Catholic School, which is also an ACE Teaching Fellows site. One of his nominators states, “We need more principals like him helping to form our teachers,” and he adds that Michael has “distinguished himself as a young and vibrant leader of Catholic schools, committed to excellence in every respect.”

In addition to his outstanding work as principal, Michael plays a variety of diocesan leadership roles and stays engaged with other Alliance for Catholic Education initiatives. He has implemented several projects at the school and diocesan level, published some of his work, and presented at national conferences. “He is an excellent example of the next generation of leaders we are aiming to prepare, support, and celebrate,” nominators affirm.


David’s nationally respected research in the fields of adolescent development and social psychology led him recently to the role of co-organizer and program chair for a special White House conference titled “Excellence in Education: The Importance of Academic Mindsets.” As reported recently for ACE by Andrew Hoyt, scholars from around the country gathered at the May conference to discuss new insights emerging from the work of David and collaborators at Stanford University. New findings suggest that students’ mindsets—how schools look and feel to these students—can affect whether they sustain motivation in the face of adversity. David and others have designed activities that redirect students’ mindsets and can dramatically reduce achievement gaps in some cases.

With a Ph.D. in developmental and psychological science from Stanford University, David has pursued studies yielding numerous journal publications, research grants, conference presentations, and other honors. During his studies in the ACE Teaching Fellows program, he taught language arts and computers--and coached basketball--at a Catholic school in Tulsa, Okla.