Director, Institute for Educational Initiatives, University of Notre Dame
Rev. Timothy R. Scully, C.S.C. is a professor of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame, a Fellow and Trustee of the University of Notre Dame, a fellow of the Helen Kellogg Institute for International Studies, and currently serves as director of Notre Dame's Institute for Educational Initiatives.
Fr. Scully, along with Fr. Sean McGraw, C.S.C., co-founded the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) in 1993. Since its beginnings, ACE has grown to include a wide array of resources and services to underserved faith-based schools throughout the United States, becoming the nation’s premier provider of talent and energy to strengthen and sustain these schools.
Ordained a Holy Cross priest in 1981, he served his first years of priesthood in Santiago, Chile. He earned master's and doctoral degrees in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley, after graduating summa cum laude from Notre Dame in 1976 and receiving his master of divinity degree in 1979. He is the autor of numerous scholarly books and articles, including four books published by Stanford University Press.
Scott W. Hamilton is Managing Partner at Seton Education Partners, a not-for-profit working to revive and expand opportunities for disadvantaged children in America to receive a Catholic education that builds knowledge, character, and faith. For eight years he was the Managing Director of the Pisces Foundation, a San Francisco-based philanthropy created by Doris and Donald Fisher, founders of the Gap, Inc. In this role, he created the KIPP Foundation and served as its President and CEO. Since its launch in 2000, KIPP Foundation has created over eighty independent public schools across the country based on the nationally acclaimed KIPP Academies in Houston and New York. Previously, Hamilton served as Associate Commissioner of Education in Massachusetts, establishing and overseeing the Bay State’s pioneering charter school initiative. He was recruited to Massachusetts from Washington, D.C., where he held posts in the White House and the U.S. Department of Education.Betsy Bohlen
Partner, McKinsey & Company
Elizabeth "Betsy" Bohlen is a senior consultant at McKinsey & Company, a top-tier international management consulting firm, where she focuses on strategy, finance and marketing issues for consumer goods companies. Prior to joining McKinsey, Ms. Bohlen was an investment officer for the Slovak America Enterprise Fund in Bratislava, Slovakia and a financial analyst at The First Boston Corporation (now Credit Suisse First Boston), a global investment bank.
Ms. Bohlen serves on the Advisory Committee of ACE Consulting and is on the Board of the Music of the Baroque in Chicago. She has also led numerous pro bono engagements for the Archdiocese of Chicago.
Ms. Bohlen holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School, where she was awarded First-Year Honors. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame, graduating with highest honors.
Stephanie Saroki is co-founder and general partner of Seton Education Partners. Previously, Saroki launched and for over five years directed The Philanthropy Roundtable’s K-12 education programs. The Roundtable is a national association of over 580 individual philanthropists, generous families, foundation staff and trustees, and corporate giving officers. Saroki grew the K-12 Education Breakthrough Group into the Roundtable’s largest, most active, and best funded program. She spearheaded a series of private and public conferences, as well as a major, one-of-its-kind publication, on how philanthropy can best be employed to revitalize urban Catholic education. Saroki also recently served on the strategic planning committee for the Archdiocese of New York’s system of schools, chairing the committee on school leadership. Prior to joining the Roundtable, Saroki was a Teach For America corps member in Oakland, California, where she taught high school English. She then attended Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government as a Dean’s Fellow. While completing her Master’s degree at the Kennedy School, Saroki worked at the Office of Management and Budget.
Darla Romfo serves as President and COO of the Children’s Scholarship Fund, a nonprofit dedicated to providing scholarships for low-income children in grades K-8.
Prior to joining CSF, Ms. Romfo was Legislative Director and Counsel to Sen. John Breaux (D-LA). In that position, she worked closely with the Senator in his capacity as a member of the Senate Democratic Leadership and as Chairman of the Bipartisan Commission on the Future of Medicare. She also worked closely with Senator Breaux on the National Commission on Retirement Policy and helped develop a comprehensive Social Security and Retirement Reform Bill.
Joshua Hale is the Executive Director of the Big Shoulders Fund in Chicago, Illinois. The Big Shoulders Fund has provided support for inner-city Catholic schools located in Chicago’s most underserved communities for 23 years. Currently, the Big Shoulders Fund has a $40 million endowment and supports 93 schools serving more than 25,000 students.
Mr. Hale is involved with numerous professional and philanthropic organizations and, most recently, was accepted as a fellow in the Leadership Greater Chicago program and nominated to participate in the Chicago Council on Global Affairs’ Emerging Leaders Program.
Previously, Mr. Hale was Director of Development / Public Relations and a member of the Management Team at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Chicago, Illinois. Prior to that, Mr. Hale worked for The Hale Group, Ltd., a strategic management consulting firm, participating in a variety of projects including financial modeling, market analysis, acquisition prospecting and strategic planning.
Mary Claire Ryan was named Executive Director for the NativityMiguel Network of Schools in July of this year after serving as Executive Director for the Bronx Charter School for Excellence. She was the Founder and Director of the Cornelia Connelly Center; a NativityMiguel Network School for girls in New York City until June 2005 after which she served as Director of Mission Assessment for the NativityMiguel Network. Mary Claire has been a member on various national and local boards some of which include: Girls Prep Charter School in NYC, Cristo Rey New York High School, several Schools of the Holy Child, and Nativity Mission Center.
Dr. Mary Crowley McDonald is the Secretary of Education and Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Memphis (
Dr. McDonald has received numerous awards for her work in the field of education. She is an accomplished author. Her first book, A Light Reflected, was published in 2003. She writes a regular column for the West Tennessee Catholic Newspaper. She is also a guest writer for several local and national publications. Dr. McDonald regularly conducts workshops and retreats for educators, and is a national speaker in the areas of faculty and staff development, leadership, and Urban Education.
Nicole Stelle Garnett joined the Law School faculty in 1999. She received her B.A. from Stanford in 1992, where she graduated with honors and distinction in political science. She received her J.D. from Yale Law School in 1995.
Professor Garnett served as a law clerk for the Honorable Morris S. Arnold of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit (1995-1996) and for Associate Justice Clarence Thomas of the United States Supreme Court (1998-1999). Professor Garnett also worked for two years (1996-98) as a staff attorney at the Institute for Justice, a non-profit public-interest law firm in Washington, D.C.
Professor Garnett’s primary research interests include property, land use, and local government law and education reform. She is a Fellow of Notre Dame’s Institute for Educational Initiatives and, from 2008-2010, a Provost Fellow. During the Spring 2007 semester, Professor Garnett was a Visiting Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School.
Howard Fuller is a Distinguished Professor of Education, and Founder/Director of the Institute for the Transformation of Learning at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Immediately before his appointment at Marquette University, Dr. Fuller served as the Superintendent of Milwaukee Public Schools June 1991 - June 1995.
He is the Chair of the Board of the Black Alliance for Educational Options;; the Chair of the Board of the Alliance for Choices in Education in Milwaukee; the Chair of the Board of CEO Leadership Academy and serves as the Chairperson of the Charter School Review Committee for the City of Milwaukee. He also serves on the Board of Directors of Quest Milwaukee; Transcenter for Youth; the Johnson Foundation; the Joyce Foundation; School Choice Wisconsin and the Advisory Board for The Big Picture Compan
Dr. Ronald Bowes is the Assistant Superintendent for Public Policy and Development for the Diocese of Pittsburgh. He has raised over $17 million over a seven year period through tax credit funding. This funding has provided thousands of grants for needy students to attend Catholic schools.
He has taught United States History in Pittsburgh Public Schools, led the battle for school choice in Western Pennsylvania, and established a large grassroots network of parents, teachers, administrators and others interested in advancing the cause of parental choice in education.
Stephen A. Perla is the first director of the University of Notre Dame's Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) Consulting Initiative. Previously he served as the Superintendent of Catholic Schools in Worchester.
Before becoming the superintendent of Catholic schools in Worcester in 2004, Perla served for more than 10 years as the founding executive director of the Parents Alliance for Catholic Education, a Massachusetts group that advocates on behalf of students and Catholic schools. He also has served in a variety of administrative positions in higher education and as mayor of Leominster, Mass., from 1988 to 1992. As a member of Notre Dame's national Task Force on Catholic Education, he contributed to the report it published in December 2006, "Making God Known, Loved, and Served: The Future of Catholic Primary and Secondary Schools in the United States."
Scott Jensen is the National Consultant for State Projects at the Alliance for School Choice and the Advocates for School Choice. He is the lead strategist for the advancement of school choice by the nation’s largest school choice organizations. Previously, Scott Jensen served for 14 years in the Wisconsin Assembly including three terms as Assembly Speaker. He also served as Chief of Staff to Gov. Tommy Thompson (R-Wisconsin.) Jensen played a crucial role in the creation, expansion and defense of Milwaukee's pioneering school choice program.
Karen McCartan DeSantis is a litigation partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Kirkland & Ellis LLP and concentrates on complex, commercial litigation in defense of Fortune 500 companies. She focuses on mass tort litigation, including the development and implementation of national defense strategies for a variety of clients and has a broad spectrum of trial, general litigation, negotiation, and counseling experience.
Karen received her A.B. degree from Princeton University in 1983. She received her J.D. degree in 1986 from the University of Notre Dame, where she was Editor in Chief of the Notre Dame Journal of Law, Ethics & Public Policy, a White Scholar, and the recipient of the Edward Barrett Award for Excellence in Trial Advocacy. She currently serves on the Notre Dame Law School Advisory Counsel and teaches as visiting faculty in Notre Dame Law School’s Trial Advocacy Program, as well as in Georgetown Law School’s Mock Trial Program.
Mary Anne Stanton brings almost forty years of experience as a teacher, principal, and administrator in Catholic schools of the Archdiocese of Washington. She also served as Assistant Dean at Trinity University in DC. Mary Anne holds a bachelors degree from Trinity College and a master’s degree from The Catholic University of America.
As Regional Coordinator and Director of Professional Development for the Archdiocese, Mary Anne was part of the founding in 1997 of James Cardinal Hickey’s “Faith in the City” program to enhance and maintain inner-city schools in the District of Columbia. She served as Executive Director of the Center City Consortium, a group 8 inner-city schools slated for closure, from 1999 until her retirement in 2006. She was asked to be a part of Archbishop Wuerl’s Study group investigating options for Consortium schools in danger of closure.
Dr. Margaret Dames is currently the superintendent of the Diocese of Bridgeport. Previously she served as the superintendent of the Cornwall Central School District. Other past positions include Assistant Superintendent, Middle and Elementary School Principal, High School Department Chairperson, Chairperson of Committee on Special Education, Director of Pupil Services, Professor at Mt. Mary College in Newburgh, New York, and University of San Diego in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Dr. Dames received her Doctorate in Educational Administration from Columbia University. She earned a M.A.T. Fellowship in Masters of Arts in Teaching French at Assumption College and a B.A. in French and Secondary Education from the College of Mount Saint Vincent.
Mark Berends is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Notre Dame, where he also serves as director of the Center for Research on Educational Opportunity, director of the National Center on School Choice and vice president of the American Educational Research Association’s Division L, Educational Policy and Politics. His research focuses on how school organization and classroom instruction are related to student achievement, with special attention to disadvantaged students. Within this agenda, he has applied a variety of quantitative and qualitative methods to understanding the effects of school reforms on teachers and students. His latest books are Examining Gaps in Mathematics Achievement Among Racial-Ethnic Groups, 1972-1992 (RAND, 2005), Charter School Outcomes (Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2008), Leading with Data: Pathways to Improve Your School (Corwin, 2009),and the Handbook of Research on School Choice (Routledge, 2009).
Andrew Neuman is currently the president of Educational Enterprises, a rapidly expanding organization focused on developing a self-sustaining educational model that increases academic achievement and character development to produce serving leaders. EEI currently operates HOPE Christian Schools in Milwaukee and EAGLE College Prep in Phoenix. Over the past 10 years, he has been on founding teams of four schools in three states, taught in two high schools and two colleges, and completed his doctorate in educational mathematics. Andrew currently resides in Wisconsin with his wife, Carlee, and three children, William, Charles, and Oliver.
Vernard Gant, D. Min., is the director of Urban School Services for the Association of Christian Schools International. His department oversees 350 Christian schools throughout the nation that target and serve urban, under-resourced, and academically at-risk students. Dr. Gant is a graduate of Columbia International University, Birmingham Theological Seminary, and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Along with his wife Cynthia, he helped develop two urban Christian schools in Birmingham, AL. Dr. Gant sits on the boards of the National Association of Street Schools, Life Skills Charter School, the Black Alliance for Educational Options, and the Alliance for Choice in Education. Dr. Gant has been involved in urban ministry for nearly thirty years.
Born in Ireland 1943. Ordained in All Hallows Seminary, Dublin 1967 for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Served as parish priest, teacher in high schools, Director of Continuing Education for Clergy and Vicar for Clergy. Served as Regional Bishop of the Santa Barbara Pastoral Region of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles 1994 to present. BA University College, Dublin; MA Loyola-Marymount University, Los Angeles; Ph.D. in American history specializing in constitutional history, Claremont Graduate University. Author of The First Freedoms. Church ad State in America to the Passage of the First Amendment, and Farewell to Christendom. The Future of Church and State in America (Both published by Oxford University Press). Currently chair of the USCCB Committee on Catholic Education.
Anthony S. Bryk is the ninth president of The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. He held the Spencer Chair in Organizational Studies in the School of Education and the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University from 2004 until assuming Carnegie’s presidency in September 2008. He came to Stanford from the University of Chicago where he was the Marshall Field IV Professor of Urban Education in the sociology department, and where he helped found the Center for Urban School Improvement, which supports reform efforts in the Chicago Public Schools. He also created the Consortium on Chicago School Research, a federation of research groups that have produced a range of studies to advance and assess urban school reform. His current research and practice interests focus on the organizational redesign of schools and school systems and the integration of technology into schooling to enhance teaching and learning.
Dr. Bryk received his BS from Boston College and his EdD from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Bryk has received the Palmer A. Johnson Award, the American Educational Research Association Division H Research Utilization Award, and the Willard Waller Award from the American Sociological Association. He was awarded the Michael Guerra Leadership Award by National Catholic Educational Association in April 2009.
His books include Hierarchical Linear Models (with Stephen Raudenbush), Catholic Schools and the Common Good (with Valerie Lee and Peter Holland), Chartering Chicago School Reform: Democratic Localism as a Lever for Change (with Penny Bender Sebring et al.), and Trust in Schools (with Barbara Schneider).
Aaron Brenner is immersed in my roles as the founder of KIPP SHINE Prep, the nation’s first KIPP Early Childhood and Elementary School, and the Head of Primary Schools for KIPP Houston. At SHINE, he is focused on living and teaching the values of SHINE – to Seek, Honor, Imagine, Never give up Every day. This year, SHINE is growing into a pre –K 3 through 4th grade campus with a staff of 80 and 800 children ages 3 through 10. In addition, KIPP Houston now has five other Early Childhood schools; and 6 more early childhood and elementary schools across the national network. In his role as Head of Primary Schools, he am focused on leading the KIPP Houston Early Childhood and Elementary school leaders while guiding the growth of emerging leaders and new KIPP EC and Elementary schools. In addition, Aaron works for KIPP foundation on a national level, continuing to help other school leaders and teachers grow strong and positive schools, built on their core beliefs. Outside of his work in education, Aaron and his wife, Diana, have two daughters: 2 year old Isabella and 3 year old Maria Fernanda.
Clark Durant is President of the New Common School Foundation. He co-founded the independent Cornerstone Schools in Detroit in 1991. He started the Arnold Palmer Turning Point Invitational and “Be a Tiger For Kids” with the Detroit Tigers.
As President of the State Board of Education under Governor John Engler, he led an effort to define an excellent education, strengthen standards and accountability, and develop charter schools.
Formerly the Director of PMG at Munder Capital, Durant practiced law for 20 years. He serves on the boards of the University of Detroit Jesuit High School, Cornerstone Schools, Michigan Center for Theoretical Physics, and First Tee of Michigan.
Leo is a husband, father of five and President and CEO of Aquinas Companies, LLC. Leo teaches MBAs as an adjunct professor at both the Rice University's Jones Graduate School of Business and Stanford's Graduate School of Business. Leo graduated from University of Notre Dame with two bachelor degrees. He then went on to graduate school at the University of Texas at Austin, earning a Master's Degree in Structural Engineering. Some years later, he entered Stanford's MBA program, graduating as the only student in the history of the GSB to be both Valedictorian and winner of the Arbuckle Award.
Leo is also very involved with PreK-12 education reform, especially the expansion of high-performing charter schools serving low-income communities. He has a close working relationship with KIPP (the Knowledge Is Power Program) in Houston, where he led the effort to formulate a bold plan for growth. He also helped create REEP (the Rice Education Entrepreneurship Program), a business-school-based program for developing school leaders. He currently serves as Chairman of REEP.
Fr. Ron Nuzzi is a priest of the Diocese of Youngstown, Ohio and currently serves as the Senior Director of the Mary Ann Remick Leadership Program at the University of Notre Dame. He served as editor of the research journal, Catholic Education: A Journal of Inquiry & Practice, and has extensive experience in K-12 Catholic schools. Before coming to Notre Dame in 2002, he served as associate professor at Saint Louis University (2000-2002) and at the University of Dayton's Center for Catholic Education (1995-2000).
After teaching and administrating for eight years in Guatemala, Brother Ed Siderewicz, FSC, returned to the States and co-founded the first San Miguel School in Chicago in 1995. Brother Ed was invited to apply for the Renaissance 2010 program to open new charter and contract schools, Catalyst Schools Chicago. Two of the four schools are a part of the NativityMiguel Network. This year, Ed has undertaken the role of special assistant to the president at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. He is helping build the First Generation Initiative, which will provide access and support to graduates of San Miguel, Nativity, and Cristo Rey type schools.
Bro. Ed has a MA in Educational Administration from Dominican University, a M.Ed. from the University of Minnesota, a BA in mathematics from Christian Brothers University in Memphis, and is an Executive Scholar from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. He was also honored with an honorary doctorate from St. Mary’s College, Moraga, California in recognition for his work with the San Miguel and Catalyst Schools. Ed serves on the Board for the Nativity/Miguel Network of Schools, on the provincial council for the Midwest District of Christian Brothers, and on the Board of Trustees for Lewis University.