Mary Pat Donoghue Named Executice Director of the USCCB’s Secretariat of Catholic Education

Mary Pat Donoghue, Director of School Services at the Institute for Catholic Liberal Education, has been named as the new Executive Director of the Secretariat of Catholic Education for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

“We are enormously proud and excited that Mary Pat’s experience and commitment to the renewal of Catholic education have been recognized for such a key role in serving the bishops,” said the Institute’s founder and president, Michael Van Hecke. “And we are grateful for Mary Pat’s service to educators, diocesan leaders, and pastors as she traveled across the country for the past two years on behalf of the Institute for Catholic Liberal Education.”

Mary Pat will bring to her new position a wealth of experience from her 28-year career in Catholic education, first as a teacher, then as vice principal, then principal of St. Jerome Academy in Hyattsville, MD. She led a stunning turnaround when the school, her own alma mater, faced the threat of closure. Mary Pat implemented a Catholic classical liberal arts curriculum developed by a team of parishioners, with the blessing of the pastor, Fr. James Stack. In 2016, she joined the Institute for Catholic Liberal Education in a full-time capacity to help spread this successful vision to hundreds of Catholic educators across the country.

“My work with the Institute for Catholic Liberal Education provided me the opportunity to observe Catholic education across the nation, and to come to know the committed and faithful men and women who work so diligently to strengthen it,” Ms. Donoghue said. “I am enormously grateful to my colleagues at the Institute as well as to the many pastors, superintendents, and principals who have graciously welcomed me into their communities. I look forward to the opportunity to continue to serve the Church in my new capacity at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.”

Many of the schools for whom Mary Pat has consulted traveled to The Catholic University of America last week for the Institute for Catholic Liberal Education’s sixth annual conference. Nearly 250 educators, superintendents, and pastors from 30 states and Canada came together to explore the distinct and comprehensive nature of an authentically Catholic approach to education.

“Our conference attendees were unaware that Mary Pat would be moving on to lead the USCCB’s Secretariat of Education,” Van Hecke said. “But we know they join us in gratitude for the inspiration and practical tools she has shared to help them revitalize their schools. The Institute staff and our team of consulting educators look forward to continuing to serve them.”

The Institute for Catholic Liberal Education is dedicated to saving and renewing the treasured Catholic school system, K-12, by restoring and adapting the Church’s time-tested approach in the classical liberal arts and sciences. ICLE serves educators through conferences, workshops, site visits, teacher training, publications, webinars, and consultation services designed to give current and future teachers both theory and practice for immediate use.


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