As part of ACE's 20th anniversary, we planned and executed a fifty-city bus tour to raise awareness of and celebrate the unique contributions Catholic schools make to America's education system.
From September 2013 to May 2014, ACE traveled to 65 schools visiting more than 16,000 students. At each stop, we hosted multiple events, from school visits and academic panels to press conferences and fundraising dinners. Our hope with the tour was to amplify the Catholic school voice at the national level, win new friends to the mission of Catholic education, and to catalyze our donor base to support new initiatives to strengthen and transform Catholic schools.
I led the creation of the strategic plan for the bus tour, which involved setting the tour objectives, communications goals, and key messages; coordinating a team from across several ACE programs; identifying unique press and relationship building opportunities in each city; planning logistics and remarks at each event; leading the creation of a brand, website, blog, and social media presence; and connecting with local media to garner public attention.
In September 2015, Pope Francis visited the United States. Little known to many, he specifically requested to visit a Catholic school during his stay, a monumental gesture demonstrating the vital role Catholic education plays for the Church and the nation.
Because we knew the stop would be overlooked amidst the more recognizable visits—the White House and Congress to name a couple—we worked tirelessly to raise awareness of the school visit. Building on the relationships we established during the bus tour, we connected with national media outlets who might run a story or op-ed.
In the end, we placed two pieces from our founder, Fr. Scully, in the NY Post and foxnews.com. The op-eds became the two most viewed pieces of content ACE has produced and sparked an outpouring of support for our work and that of Catholic schools across the country.
Each year, our team develops strategic collateral for all individual ACE programs, including marketing, recruiting, fundraising, and educational materials.
The Madrinas Model Program Guide is an example of the array of similar documents we produce. This particular document was written and designed for the Catholic School Advantage, whose purpose is to promote the value of Catholic schools for Latinos and to help those schools respond in a culturally responsive way to the unique needs of Latino families.
The manual outlines and provides guidance for Catholic school leaders interested in implementing a "Madrinas" ambassador program in their schools. It has been shared with more than a thousand Catholic schools nationwide, and its success has spurred the creation of two supplemental documents for principals and school volunteers.
Project ManagerCreative DirectorCo-WriterCopyeditor
Through our team's management of the ACE Press, I led the publishing of the spiritual memoir of Maureen Hallinan, a renowned social scientist in the Institute for Educational Initiatives.
Maureen was the founding director of the Institute for Educational Initiatives and the Center for Research on Educational Opportunity (CREO), as well as the second woman at the University of Notre Dame appointed to an endowed chair.
Her impressive scholarly record speaks for itself. She was a prolific scholar who made lasting contributions to numerous areas within the subfield of Sociology of Education, with seminal papers on school effects, ability grouping, interracial friendships, school organization, black-white educational inequality, and sector differences in learning.
I was honored to be chosen to work with Ann Berends, the co-author, to lead the production of Maureen's final publication to be presented in a special gathering at the one year anniversary of her passing.
At the end of our bus tour, we wanted both to commemorate the many accomplishments of the tour and to thank the hundreds of donors, graduates, and friends who helped make it a resounding success. To that end, our team produced a commemorative book that told the story of our journey through the images and words we experienced along the way.
The final product can be found below.
Project ManagerCreative DirectorWriterCopyeditor
For the University of Notre Dame's new Center for STEM Education, we implemented a strategy to enhance one of the Center's initial goals: recruit 30 talented K-12 STEM educators for the inaugural STEM Fellows cohort.
After conducting a strategic planning exercise, we identified key audiences and a host of high-impact tactics that would lead those groups to apply. We developed a new brand, new website, a targeted social media presence, several e-mail campaigns and in-person presentations, and an efficient paid-media strategy for well-known STEM publications. In the end, we received more than 250 applications for the 30 spots.
In the past three years, we have provided strategic consulting to ACE's three other talent formation programs. Each initiative has seen an increase in both the number and quality of applications as a result.