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National Catholic Educational Association

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National Catholic Educational Association
FormationJuly 1904
TypeNon-governmental organization
PurposeIn service of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, NCEA strengthens Catholic school communities by providing professional development, formation, leadership and advocacy.
Headquarters407 Bicksler Sq SE, Leesburg, VA 20175-3773
Region served
United States
Catholic educators of the U.S.; primarily elementary and secondary school teachers and staff
Lincoln Snyder

The National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) is a private, professional educational membership association of over 150,000 educators in Catholic schools, universities, and religious education programs. It is the largest such organization in the world.


The NCEA focuses on: leadership development for superintendents, presidents, principals, pastors, and governing bodies; professional development for teachers; and serving as the voice for Catholic school education.

NCEA is the largest private professional education organization in the world, representing 150,000 Catholic educators serving 1.9 million students in Catholic education.[1]

NCEA is a voluntary association of educators and institutions. While the USCCB remains the authority for the Catholic Church in the US, NCEA develops and articulates a national point of view that is consistent with the USCCB.


At the beginning of the 20th century, there were three professional organizations in the United States for Catholic educators;

  • The Education Conference of Catholic Seminary Faculties (1898)
  • The Association of Catholic Colleges (1899)
  • The Parish School Conference (1902)[2]

In a meeting held in St. Louis, Missouri, on July 12–14, 1904, the three organizations decided to unite as the Catholic Educational Association (CEA).[2]

In 1919, during World War I, the American hierarchy established the National Catholic War Council (NCWC). It was designed to coordinate the Catholic war effort in all areas, including education. The CEA immediately established a working relationship with the NCWC. After the end of the war, the NCWC continued to exist as the National Catholic Welfare Council (NCWC). The CEA continued to work with the NCWC and its successor organization, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).[2]

In 1927, the word ‘national’ was added to the official CEA title and, in 1929, the association headquarters moved to Washington, DC to be in proximity to other national secular agencies of education. The Association began a policy of friendly cooperation with other private and public educational associations and federal government agencies in the service of all aspects of American education.

In 1931 the Library Section which had existed from 1922 chaired by Reverend Paul J. Foik, C.S.C. became an independent association, the Catholic Library Association.[3]

In 2016, the NCEA discontinued its departments for seminaries and parish religious education departments, instead focusing on K-12 Catholic organizations in the United States.[4]

The Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, founded independently in 1899, has a long relationship with the various components that later became the National Catholic Educational Association, of which it has for some time been a constitutive member. As of July 1, 2000, ACCU is an independently incorporated 501(c3) organization and an Affiliate of the NCEA.

The Association's organizational structure changed from a departmental arrangement to a functional arrangement. Previously, member institutions held association membership through one of the constitutive departments. In 2016, the NCEA eliminated the seminary and religious education departments


NCEA has a board of directors which has from 15 to 18 members, including three ex-officio members. The chair is a bishop in the American church. The current and past chairs include:



The NCEA annual convention features educators in breakout sessions and a major exposition. It also provides vendor displays on technology, publications and services. The NCEA hosts other conferences, seminars, workshops and symposiums throughout the year.


  • In-service programs
  • Religious education assessments: ACRE for children and IFG for adults
  • Development field services
  • National conference
  • Award programs recognizing educators and students[5]


  • 2020 - Baltimore (April 13–15), Cancelled due to the COVID19 pandemic
  • 2019 - Chicago (April 23–25)
  • 2018 - Cincinnati
  • 2017 - St. Louis
  • 2016 - San Diego
  • 2015 - Orlando
  • 2014 - Pittsburgh
  • 2013 - Houston
  • 2012 - Boston
  • 2011 - New Orleans
  • 2010 - Minneapolis
  • 2009 - Los Angeles

Momentum Magazine

Momentum Magazine is the official NCEA publication. Each issue has a special section of particular interest to Catholic educators. Momentum also includes editorials, book reviews, short essays and opinion columns.[6]

NCEA awards

President's Awards

C. Albert Koob Merit Award

This award goes to an individual or organization that has made a significant contribution to Catholic education at any level in one or more of these areas:

  • teaching
  • administration
  • parish religious education
  • research
  • publication
  • educational leadership[7]

Msgr. John F. Meyers Award

This award goes to anyone who has contributed significant support to Catholic education through:

  • development
  • public relations
  • scholarship programs
  • financial management
  • government relations[7]

Catherine T. McNamee, CSJ Award

This award goes to an individual or school that welcomes and serves cultural and economic diversity or serving students with diverse needs.[7]

Leonard F. DeFiore Parental Choice Advocate Award

This award goes to an individual who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in promoting parental choice in education.[7]

Dr. Karen M. Ristau Innovations Award

This award goes to an individual, school or program that has furthered Catholic education through an innovative program or approach.[7]

Youth Virtues, Valor and Vision Awards

These awards goes to students in Catholic elementary and secondary schools who meet high standards of personal conduct and public service.[8]

Lead. Learn. Proclaim. Awards

These awards go to Catholic schools that honor the efforts and contributions of their teachers, principals, pastors, administrators and school boards.[9]


  1. ^ "".
  2. ^ a b c "About Us". National Catholic Educational Association. Retrieved 2024-05-05.
  3. ^ National Catholic Educational Association. (1931). Proceedings of the Twenty-eighth Annual Meeting (Philadelphia, PA).
  4. ^ "NCEA Announces new Board of Directors to guide future direction of organization". 2016-05-20.
  5. ^ Inc., Advanced Solutions International. "NCEA Awards and Seton Gala". ((cite web)): |last= has generic name (help)
  6. ^ "Momentum". Retrieved 2024-05-05.
  7. ^ a b c d e "NCEA President's Awards". Retrieved 2024-05-05.
  8. ^ "Youth Virtues, Valor and Vision Award". Retrieved 2024-05-05.
  9. ^ "Lead. Learn. Proclaim. Awards". Retrieved 2024-05-05.
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National Catholic Educational Association
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