NCEA Welcomes New Chief Program Officer

The CPO will lead and oversee the association’s professional development, academic, and formation programs.

Arlington, VA – The National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) welcomes Kathy P. Mears as Chief Program Officer (CPO) for the association. Among Ms. Mears’ myriad of responsibilities will be oversight of the NCEA National Standards and Benchmarks Council (NNC), vision-setting and implementation of professional development programs and resources, responsibility for the annual Catholic Leadership Summit for superintendents and other system leaders, and management of the NCEA education staff. Ms. Mears will join NCEA on July 1. NCEA President/CEO Dr. Tom Burnford said, "Kathy brings more than 38 years of experience in Catholic education to this position. Her leadership skills and strong commitment to strengthen Catholic education and faith formation in our schools are a great fit for our members. Personally, I am eager to partner with Kathy in our ongoing national work to grow the awesome ministry of Catholic school education in the United States."

The CPO is a senior position providing vision and oversight of NCEA’s programs that afford direct support to Catholic schools and diocesan offices in leadership formation, professional development, faith formation, assessment, curriculum and regional events. The CPO reports to the president/CEO, and is part of a five person senior leadership team including the president/CEO, chief advancement and business development officer, chief innovation officer and chief administrative officer.

Ms. Mears has been a teacher, principal, assistant superintendent and most recently superintendent of Catholic schools for the Archdiocese of Boston from 2014 through the 2018-2019 school year. Prior to her position as superintendent, she was executive director for elementary schools for NCEA. As superintendent for the Archdiocese of Boston, she oversaw 112 schools, and instituted numerous new initiatives including new faith formation, math and language arts standards, the Museum of Science's Engineering is Elementary program, a kindergarten robotics project in partnership with Tufts University, and the adoption of an online student assessment system.

Ms. Mears has a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education from Elmhurst College and a Master of Arts in elementary education from Butler University.


In service of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, NCEA strengthens Catholic school communities by providing professional development, formation, leadership and advocacy.