advancing educational summit

The California Catholic Conference under the guidance of the Education Committee of Bishops is hosting the first annual Advancing Educational Excellence Summit The purpose of the summit is to unite the community in a common strategy, develop leadership, and build a coalition(s) to craft, initiate and institute policy in California.  

The summit will bring together key stakeholders in Catholic, private, charter, and other school systems, along with policymakers, business owners, funders, and organizations from the local, state, and national areas to determine the best strategies and pathway forward for California.  

We are pleased to announce Bishop Daly, USCCB Education Chairman, will kick-off the summit on the evening on March 4th.  Keynote speaker Nicole Garnett, Notre Dame-Associate Dean for External Engagement, will join the summit on March 5th, along with additional system leaders, directors, superintendents, principals, and others on March 5th and 6th. 

Featured Speakers

Bishop Thomas Daly

Most Rev. Thomas A Daly was born April 30, 1960, in San Francisco. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of San Francisco in 1982; a master of divinity from St. Patrick Seminary in Menlo Park, California, in 1987; and a master of education degree from Boston College in 1996. He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of San Francisco in 1987.

Pope Benedict XVI named him auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of San Jose on March 16, 2011. He was ordained on May 25, 2011.

Pope Francis named him the seventh Bishop of Spokane on March 12, 2015.  Bishop Daly was installed on May 20, 2015 in the Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes in Spokane. He currently serves as the chairman of the USCCB Committee of Catholic Education.

Nicole Stelle Garnett

Associate Dean for External Engagement
John P. Murphy Foundation Professor of Law

Nicole Stelle Garnett’s teaching and research focus on education policy and topics related to property law (especially land use and urban development policies). In addition to dozens of articles on these subjects, she is the author of two books, Lost Classroom, Lost Community: Catholic Schools’ Importance in Urban America (University of Chicago Press, 2014) and Ordering the City: Land Use, Policing and the Restoration of Urban America (Yale University Press, 2009). Currently, she is engaged in an ambitious research effort in collaboration with scholars from around the world to gain a comprehensive understanding of the legal rules governing, and public funds available to, faith-based schools in the Global South.

Speakers and Panelist

Andrew Currier, Ph.D. serves as Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Oakland. Currier also served as President of Archbishop Riordan High School in San Francisco and as a Catholic elementary school principal for nine years in South Bend, IN and in the Washington DC area He participated in Catholic University of America’s doctoral program in Catholic education leadership, graduating in 2018. Currier began working in Catholic schools immediately upon graduating from Grand Valley State University in Miami, FL and then soon after as an ACE teacher in Los Angeles through Notre Dame’s teacher education program. He is married to Catholic School Principal Sarah Currier and they have two children. Learn More

Dr. Erin Barisano is the Superintendent of Catholic Schools in the Diocese of Orange, CA.  She spent the first 20 years of her Catholic school career in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles working as a teacher, principal, and assistant superintendent. Additionally, she has served as a part-time faculty member in Catholic school leadership programs at Loyola Marymount University and Boston College.

Dr. Erin is a proud product of Catholic education from elementary to graduate school.  She attended the University of Notre Dame, Mount St. Mary’s University, Los Angeles, and Loyola Marymount University.  She has presented at educational conferences across the country in which she has shared her research and experiences in Catholic school leadership, with a focus on spiritual leadership. Dr. Erin enjoys leading retreats and serving on numerous boards and committees to help further the mission and scope of Catholic education. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, cooking, and spending time with her husband and two children.

In 2024, Jennifer launched the Faithful Citizenship Institute (FCI), merging 20 years of experience in public policy with her love of Church teaching. FCI serves as a catalyst for inspiring Catholic policymakers to prioritize their faith over politics, providing impactful programming, tools, and resources that disseminate the inherent beauty and wisdom of Catholic Social Teaching to leaders not only in Washington, D.C. but also in state capitols across the country. Prior to this new venture, Jennifer served as the Associate Director for Public Policy for the Secretariat of Catholic Education at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Director of Government Relations for the Archdiocese of Washington. For 15 years, Jennifer represented Catholic schools, the largest private K-12 education sector in the nation, before Congress and the executive branch on matters pertaining to federal education policy. Jennifer advocated for the expansion of parental choice legislation and advised leaders on implementation of existing programs. She continues this work today, consulting for a number of national education organizations on federal policy and school choice. Jennifer has extensive government experience at the federal and state level working for the U.S. Department of State, U.S. House of Representatives, and the Texas State Legislature. She received her education from Texas A&M University. Jennifer lives in Annapolis, Maryland with her husband and three daughters.

Kathleen Porter-Magee is the superintendent of Partnership Schools, a network of seven urban Catholic schools in Harlem and the South Bronx. She is also author of a recent Manhattan Institute report entitled, Catholic on the Inside: Putting Values Back at the Center of Education ReformLearn More

Paul is currently the Senior Director and Superintendent of Schools for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. The Department of Catholic Schools of the Archdiocese leads 252 Catholic PK-12 schools with nearly 70,000 students in Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and Ventura counties. Together, they comprise the largest system of Catholic schools in the United States and the fifth largest system of schools in the state of California. Learn More

Gregory is the Chief Civic Affairs Officer for the California Charter Schools Association and serves as Executive Director of CCSA Advocates. CCSA Advocates engages in efforts to provide education and resources to help more charter public schools increase civic participation. Previously, Gregory served as the Executive Director of The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation. While at the Foundation, Gregory took a leave of absence to serve as the Chief of Staff to the California Secretary of Education. Prior to joining the Foundation, Gregory was the Senior Education Policy Consultant to the California State Board of Education. Gregory also served a Legislative Liaison in the Office of Legislative and Congressional Affairs at the U.S. Department of Education. Gregory previously served as a member of the Los Angeles County Board of Education. He received his BA from UC Berkeley and his MBA from UCLA Anderson, where he was a Sigoloff Fellow.

Ron Reynolds is currently in his 22nd year of service as executive director of the California Association of Private School Organizations, a state-wide consortium of twenty-four service agencies and administrative units serving some 1,400 independent and religious schools in which approximately 380,000 students are enrolled.  

Ron is a registered lobbyist who represents the common interests of California’s broadly inclusive private school community.   He represents California as a member of the Council for American Private Education’s State Network, and represents the nation’s private school community as a member of the National Assessment Governing Board.

Believing that no one is quite as zealous as a convert, Ron is, himself, the product of California’s public education system, from first grade through graduate school at UCLA, where he earned a Ph. D. in Comparative and International Education. All four of Ron’s, and his wife Miriam’s children have attended private schools.

Greg Dhuyvetter has over forty-one years’ experience in Catholic education, serving as teacher, administrator, Superintendent, and now as the Executive Director of the Western Catholic Educational Association.  From the earliest part of his career, he has been involved in educational reform, working with strategic planning, program development, faculty development, and educational technology initiatives, trying to anticipate and create the new realities of education.  He has particularly focused on using school accreditation as a lever for reform, and he has participated on visiting teams, reading teams, and protocol development committees.

He speaks regularly at conferences and publishes in educational journals.  

Dr. Kevin Baxter is the Director of the Mary Ann Remick Leadership Program at the Alliance for Catholic Education at the University of Notre Dame. In his role as Director, he supports the faculty and staff in the program’s mission to form transformational Catholic school leaders through intentional community building, integrated spiritual development, and rigorous academic preparation to strengthen Catholic schools. Dr. Baxter is also a Teaching Professor and a Fellow in the Institute for Educational Initiatives.  Read Full Bio Here

Widely viewed among the top education advocates in California, Kevin is the President and a founding Partner of Capitol Advisors Group. Kevin was the longtime Executive Director of the California Association of School Business Officials (CASBO), and previously served as the Chief Lobbyist and Assistant Executive Director of the California School Boards Association (CSBA). He also served as Chief of Staff to Congressman Robert T. Matsui and as a legislative advocate for the California Building Industry Association (CBIA). He holds a master’s degree in public administration from the University of San Francisco. Prior to that, while completing his undergraduate degree in communication studies at University of California, Davis, he was recruited by the IBM Corporation and served three years in its national marketing division for large systems.

Lance Christensen has spent the last two decades in the realms of public policy and politics. He is the Vice President of Education Policy and Government Affairs at the California Policy Center and was one of the principal architects of the recent school choice initiative as well as recent parental notification policies being adopted across the state. He was also a candidate for California Superintendent of Public Instruction on the November 2022 statewide ballot.

Before his tenure at CPC, Christensen worked as a legislative consultant and chief of staff in the California State Senate and as a finance budget analyst at the Department of Finance. Christensen was also the inaugural director of Reason Foundation’s Pension Reform Project, setting the stage for major reforms in state and local retirement programs across the country. Christensen’s research and commentary on education issues and state and municipal fiscal policy are regularly published in national and local publications, and he appears frequently on radio, television and podcasts.

Christensen earned his bachelor’s degree in English from Brigham Young University and a master’s degree from Pepperdine University’s School of Public Policy, specializing in international relations. Based in northern California, he is a happily married father of 5 children, all of whom are seventh-generation Californians.

Lincoln Snyder is the president/CEO for the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA). Lincoln was selected to lead a revitalization of the association coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic and has returned the organization to fiscal stability, along with significant growth in member benefits. Prior to his appointment at NCEA, Lincoln served as the superintendent and executive director of schools for the Diocese of Sacramento from 2015-2021. As superintendent, he guided the transition of diocesan elementary schools to a unified governance model, and stewarded schools through crises like the Camp Fire and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Before his appointment as superintendent, he was a teacher and board chair at Christian Brothers High School in Sacramento. Lincoln also has served as vice chair of the NCEA NSBECS Advisory Council (NNAC) and has been a member of several Catholic school boards. Lincoln holds a bachelor’s degree in international politics from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and a master’s degree in Lasallian Leadership from St. Mary’s University of Minnesota. Originally from California, Lincoln lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and their 3 teenage sons. When he is not working, Lincoln enjoys 20-mile walks and learning new languages.

Rodney Pierre-Antoine is a passionate educator and transformational school leader who is committed to ensuring that all students, regardless of their background, have access to an excellent education that forms the mind, heart and spirit. Rodney firmly believes learning is maximized when students are empowered and actively engaged in the process. Rodney is committed to supporting leaders and teachers across the Lumen Christi Academies network as they strive to form faith-filled scholars who think critically, are socially aware, and leverage their gifts and talents to respond to the needs around them.

Rodney has been an educator in the Bay Area since 1998. That year Rodney was accepted into Teach For America, after graduating with a BA in Communication from the University of Maryland. Rodney was placed in Oakland where he taught 5th Grade at Hoover Elementary School for 6 years before transitioning to the Oakland Diocese. Rodney has served in a number of leadership roles in the Diocese, first as a vice-principal for 2 years, then a school principal for 8 years, first at St. Felicitas in San Leandro and later St. Jarlath in Oakland. He also served as the Director of the Notre Dame ACE Academies, a national network of Catholic schools. Rodney has a Masters in Educational Leadership from the University of Notre Dame, where he serves as an Executive Coach and Adjunct Professor in their Mary Ann Remick Leadership Program.

Stephanie Saroki de García is co-founder and managing director of Seton Education Partners, which launches and currently operates ten Catholic and public charter grade schools in four states serving more than 3,000 children and their families. She helped launch Seton in 2009 (at the height of the Great Recession) to expand opportunities for parents in underserved communities to choose an academically excellent, character rich, and—for those who seek it—vibrantly Catholic education for their children. Most recently, Stephanie launched and for over five years directed the Philanthropy Roundtable’s K-12 education programs, where she spearheaded a series of conferences, strategy sessions, and publications on breakthroughs in education philanthropy. She co-wrote Saving America’s Urban Catholic Schools: A Guide for Donors and also served on the strategic planning committee for the Archdiocese of New York’s school system, chairing the committee on school leadership. Previously, Stephanie was a Teach for America corps member in Oakland, California, where she taught high school English and was twice given the award of Excellence in Academic Instruction for fueling dramatic improvements in her students’ achievement. She attended Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government as a dean’s fellow, one of two merit-based scholarships offered in her program. While completing her master’s degree in public policy at the Kennedy School, Stephanie worked at the Office of Management and Budget. She received a bachelor of arts degree in rhetoric from the University of California at Berkeley, graduating summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. Stephanie lives in San Diego with her husband, where she is a proud mom to two amazing children.

John Galvan serves as Vice President of Assessments for the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA). Before joining NCEA, John was the Director of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of San Diego for eight years. In his last year as Director, the Diocese of San Diego saw one of the largest increases in student enrollment in the U.S. John’s educational path has earned the following degrees: B.A. in Art, M.A. in Practical Theology, and an M.Ed. in Educational Leadership & Administration.

John has spent over 30 years in different facets of public and Catholic education. Prior to his formal work in Catholic education, he was a seminarian for the Diocese of San Diego, spending nearly three years of graduate theological study at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. From there, John worked as a Catholic high school administrator, teacher, coach and campus minister. He has served on local, state and national committees and boards to advance the mission of Catholic education. In his first career, John was a professional illustrator, working as part of the creative team for San Diego Unified School District.

Peter Murphy is Senior Advisor at the Invest in Education Foundation and Coalition, where he advocates for legislation to expand K-12 education freedom and choice in Congress.  Included in his advocacy is building a national coalition of organizations in support of such policies.  He previously served as Policy and Communications Director at the New York Charter Schools Association, the statewide membership organization of charter schools in New York, and served in the Office of New York Governor George Pataki, where he helped develop the New York Charter Schools Act and the School Tax Relief (STAR) program. 

Nathan Sanders – Ed Choice

Sr. Rosemarie Nassif – Director of Education, LMU

Mayra Brown – Santiago Trade School

Julie Vogel – Renaissance

Keith Richards – Chesterton and Duc in Altum

Chris Weir – Founder, Camino School

Lauren May – Step Up Florida

Elisabeth Sullivan – The Institute of Catholic Liberal Education

Thomas Carroll – Archdiocese of Boston

Maureen McNeil – The Catholic University of America

Summit Schedule of Events

11:00 AM – 3:30 PM 
Registration ( Cathedral Event Center ) Vendor Table Set-Up
5:00 PM-6:00 PM
Opening Reception / Networking Welcome by Most Reverend Michael C. Barber, SJ, Co-Chair CCC Education Committee and Most Reverend Marc V. Trudeau, Chair CCC Education Committee
6:10 PM
Keynote Speaker
Most Reverend Thomas Daly, Diocese of Spokane, Chair -USCCB Education Committee
6:30 PM
Prayer by Bishop Barber
8:00 PM
Shuttles Available to Claremont Hotel

8:00 AM
Shuttles Available to Cathedral of Christ the Light Event Center

8:30 AM-9:30 AM
Prayer/Welcome by Bishop Trudeau

9:45 AM

Keynote Speaker
Nicole Stelle Garnett-Notre Dame Law School

10:30 AM – 11:30 AM

Panel Discussion 1
Good Things Happening in the Golden State – Dr. Erin Barisano-Diocese of Orange, Paul Escala-Archdiocese of LA, and Sr. Rosemarie Nassif-LMU

12:10 PM
Mass ( Free Time )

1:00 PM
Lunch- Tommy Hilfiger Sponsor
Prayer – Bishop Oscar Cantu, Diocese of San Jose

1:30 PM
Julie Vogel-Renaissance Data

2:00 PM – 3:00 PM

Panel Discussion 2
Parental Choice: What Could It Look Like in California-Robert Enlow-EdChoice, Peter Murphy-Invest in Education, and Lauren May-Step Up for Students

3:15 PM – 4:15 PM

Panel Discussion 3
Render Unto Caesar, But How Much?: Accountability, Assessment, and Regulations-Elisabeth Sullivan-ICLE, Thomas Carroll-Archdiocese of Boston, Dr. Andrew Currie-Diocese of Oakland and Kevin Baxter-Notre Dame Ace Program

4:15 PM


5:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Social Hour – Lake Chalet, Oakland Waterfront
ArchAngel Sponsor

6:00 PM

8:00 AM
Shuttles Available to Cathedral of Christ the Light Event Center

8:30 AM – 9:30 AM
Prayer/Welcome by Bishop Barber

9:30 AM – 10:30 AM

Panel Discussion 4
Serving the Underserved: Other Models in Action-Rodney Pierre-Antoine-Lumen Christi, Stephanie Saroki de Garcia-Seton Education Partners, Kathleen Porter-Magee-Partnership Schools, and Greg McGinty-California Charter Schools Association

10:30 AM

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Panel Discussion 5
Bearing Good Fruit:The Renewal in Catholic Education-Elisabeth Sullivan-The Institute for Catholic Liberal Education, Keith Martin-Chesterton Academies and Duc in Altum, and Chris Weir-Camino Schools

12:10 PM
Mass ( Free Time )

1:00 PM


2:00 PM-3:00 PM

Panel Discussion 6
Faithful Citizenship in Action:Engagement for Victory: His Excellency Bishop Michael Barber-Diocese of Oakland, Jennifer Daniels-Faithful Citizenship Institute, and Sr. John Dominic-Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist

3:10 PM-4:10 PM

Panel Discussion 7
Where Do We Go From Here?: Lance Christensen-CA Policy Institute, Ron Reynolds-CAPSO,Kevin Gordon-Capitol Advisors

4:15 PM
Wrap Up with Shawn Peterson, Kathleen Domingo, Samara Palko

4:30 PM
Closing Comments, Bishop Barber and Bishop Trudeau
Evening on your own and Coalition Building Socials

Conference Location and Accommodations

Cathedral of Christ the Light – Event Center
2121 Harrison Street
Oakland, CA 94612
Diocese of Oakland

Claremont Club & Spa, A Fairmont Hotel 
41 Tunnel Road
Berkeley, CA, CA 94705, US

For Reservations 
Please call 510-843-3000 and ask for Giovanna.

Nearest Airports
Oakland International Airport 
San Francisco International Airport 

Summit Cost: $175
Mail / make check out to:
California Catholic Conference
1119 K Street, 2ND Floor
Sacramento, CA 95814

Attn: Samara Palko

Hosted by California Catholic Conference Education Committee

Bishop Marc Trudea Chair
Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ Co-Chair
Bishop Alberto Bahhuff Member
Bishop Matthew Elshoff Member
Bishop Felipe Pulido Member

Mrs. Kathleen Domingo, CCC Executive Director
Mrs. Samara Palko, CCC Director of Education
Mr. Shawn Peterson, Catholic Education Partners

Programming details, including format, speakers, summit cost, and additional travel details will be emailed with registration. Sign up today to reserve your spot!

Register Today

Hosted by California Catholic Conference Education Committee
Under the leadership of Bishop Marc Trudeau and Bishop Michael Barber

Engage with esteemed education leaders, education partners, and policy makers from California and the Nation.

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