Lincoln Snyder has served as NCEA President/CEO since July 2021. He previously served for more than six years as executive director of Catholic schools in the Diocese of Sacramento. During his time there, Mr. Snyder oversaw the full implementation of a unified governance model under lay boards for the elementary schools of the diocese, and received NCEA’s Lead. Learn. Proclaim. Award for the diocese’s response to the Camp Fire. Prior to his work for the diocese, Mr. Snyder worked as a teacher, board member and board chair for the De La Salle Christian Brothers, with whom he also completed leadership, board and lay partner formation. In addition to his work in education, he worked in international business for Can Pack SA in Krakow, Poland and the Middle East; and in commercial property management and development as vice president of Snyder Commercial Real Estate.
A California native, Mr. Snyder is a graduate of Christian Brothers High School, Sacramento; the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in international politics, with a minor in German; and St. Mary’s University of Minnesota, where he earned a Master of Arts in Lasallian Leadership in conjunction with the Buttimer Institute of Lasallian Studies.
Chief Financial Officer
Melissa Mercer is the chief financial officer for NCEA. She previously served for over five years as the Schools Finance Officer in the Diocese of Sacramento. During her time there, Ms. Mercer brought corporate discipline and financial infrastructure to more than 35 elementary schools. In addition to assisting in the adoption of a unified governance model, Ms. Mercer standardized the annual budgeting process, implemented accounting and tuition management systems and established a shared services accounting center for elementary schools. Prior to her work for the diocese, Ms. Mercer was employed by publicly traded companies and has 20 years of professional corporate experience in areas such as external financial reporting and management of technical accounting.
Ms. Mercer has a Bachelor of Science in accountancy from the University of Missouri – Columbia and obtained her CPA certification and license in the State of Missouri.
Chief Content Officer
Julie A. Vogel, Ph.D., is the chief content officer providing oversight of NCEA’s content and programs directly support Catholic schools and diocesan offices in leadership formation, professional development, faith formation, assessment, curriculum and advocacy. Her teaching experience includes PreK-8, undergraduate, master’s and Ph.D. students. Leadership roles include principal, assistant superintendent and superintendent in Catholic dioceses as well as professor, director of graduate studies and associate dean in colleges of education. She was vice president of academic and government affairs for Renaissance where her focus was on problem-solving based on data analysis and research.
Dr. Vogel received her bachelor’s degree from Iowa State University, and her M.Ed. in educational leadership and policy studies and Ph.D. in educational psychology from Arizona State University.
Vice President of Marketing and Corporate Sales
Crystal Berry is the vice president of marketing and corporate sales for NCEA. Her work focuses on strategic marketing of brand, sales and services across all NCEA media channels. She is responsible for Corporate Partner relationships, support and sales, including management of associated marketing campaigns and lead generation strategies that support sales and engagement across various business channels.
Ms. Berry is a product of Catholic education and is a highly experienced and mission-driven professional with more than 12 years of experience in marketing, relationship management, communications and sales, including direct, behavioral, integrated marketing, and operations in professional services, Catholic education, political and non-profit foundation sectors. Ms. Berry has spent the last five years in dedicated focus on the sustainability and longevity of Catholic education through initiatives related to marketing, enrollment management, strategic development and broad donor and philanthropic relationship management.
Vice President of Assessments
John is the vice president of assessments. Most recently, he was the director of 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 country. While John’s Catholic education began at Holy Trinity Catholic School in El Cajon, CA, his 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 nearly 30 years in different facets of public and Catholic education. Prior to his formal work in Catholic education, John 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 profession, he worked as a professional illustrator, working as part of the creative team for San Diego Unified School District.
John is happily married with a beautiful daughter, and his family resides on a horse ranch in San Diego’s north county.
Vice President of Communications
Margaret Kaplow worked for The Washington Post in the editorial department and then as editor of the in-house newsletter in public relations/communications. After moving to marketing, she helped establish an educational services department to reach out to local schools. As educational services manager, she developed and implemented the Inside The Washington Post classroom program for schools, and spearheaded new business partnerships across the world when The Post became a digital product.
Ms. Kaplow received a bachelor’s degree in English and geography from Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, MI.
Vice President of Membership
Wade Marshall was in retail management and worked for companies such as Montgomery Ward, Erol’s Video and Blockbuster Video.
A graduate of Watseka Community High School, Mr. Marshall received a Bachelor of Science in marketing from the University of Wyoming in Laramie. He also received a diploma in computer information systems and a Master of Science in information systems from Strayer University in Washington, D.C. In his free time, he enjoys biking and playing golf and working as an election official for Loudoun County, VA.
Dale McDonald, PBVM, Ph.D.
Vice President of Public Policy
Sister Dale McDonald is a Sister of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. She has been an elementary and secondary school teacher and administrator. Prior to joining NCEA, Sister McDonald was director of the Catholic School Leadership Program in the Boston College Graduate School of Education. She has served on various boards of trustees for educational and social service organizations, has been published in education journals and books, served on several committees convened by the White House, U.S. Department of Education, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and other national education associations and has testified before congressional committees on education policy issues.
She earned a Ph.D. in educational administration from Boston College, a Master of Science in educational administration from Pace University, New York, a Master of Arts in American history from Fordham University, New York, and a Bachelor of Science in elementary education from Fordham.
Vice President of Research and Data
Annie Smith works closely with NCEA staff to analyze information and data for use in problem-solving and strategic decisions and for making recommendations beneficial to NCEA and its members. From 2017, Ms. Smith worked for the Archdiocese of Boston as data manager and director of research and data, respectively. She was the associate superintendent of strategy, research and data. She also worked for Education Pioneers at Boston Preparatory Charter Public School, the Center for Collaborative Education and Empower Schools.
Ms. Smith has a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics from College of the Holy Cross and a Master of Education in education policy and management from Harvard University.
Director of Leadership Engagement
Karen Barreras, M.Ed., is the director of leadership engagement for NCEA. Most recently, she was the superintendent in the Diocese of Reno. Prior to that, she was the principal of a Catholic K-8 school and director of a large sliding-fee scale childcare/kindergarten operated under Catholic Charities of Northern Nevada for 11 years.
Ms. Barreras represented private schools on the State of Nevada’s Title I Committee of Practitioners and was involved in the Diocese of Reno Scholarship (D.O.R.S.), which won the NCEA Catherine T. McNamee President’s Award in 2014. She served as a Western Catholic Education Association (WCEA) Commissioner and has been on the WCEA Board, as well as working on the Standards of Excellence (SE) pilot committee and utilizing the NSBECS as a foundation for accreditation. She has chaired approximately 30 WCEA school accreditations throughout member schools in WCEA.
Ms. Barreras graduated from California State University with a B.A. in English and a California Credential. She earned her M.Ed. from the University of Nevada, Reno. She is a widow, mother and grandmother and loves to walk, ski and anything related to the ocean.
Director of Professional Learning
Laura MacDonald has been an educational leader at regional, county and district levels and has had extensive experience mentoring, coaching and leading teachers since she began her career in teaching in 1998. She has served as an administrator in the Diocese of Sacramento since 2013 where she most recently was principal at Our Lady of Grace School. Before her assignment as principal at Our Lady of Grace School, she was principal at Holy Cross Academy.
Ms. MacDonald holds a bachelor's degree in liberal studies from California State University as well as teaching and administrative credentials, including a master's degree in leadership and policy study.
Quintina (Tina) Armstead-Brown
Member Services Associate
Quintina “Tina” Armstead-Brown assists members with dues renewal payments and publication orders, as well as edits and updates member profiles as necessary. Mrs. Armstead-Brown troubleshoots member logins to the NCEA website and facilitates registration for professional development events, webinars, and graduate courses for teachers. She maintains the member database and ensures members have access to all relevant benefits and resources.
Mrs. Armstead-Brown started out working for NCEA as a temporary employee in the mailroom in 1996, from there to the receptionist desk and eventually to member services in 2001. Tina is proud to work at NCEA where the Catholic ministry is teaching the word of God. She has learned much about the Catholic faith being brought up in the church and working at NCEA.
Mrs. Armstead-Brown is a lifelong resident of Washington, D.C. and attended McKinley Technical High School in D.C. with major in art. Tina enjoys drawing and painting in her free time.
Director of Events
Jennifer Barnett is the director of events for NCEA. Ms. Barnett is responsible for planning NCEA events, such as the Catholic Leadership Summit and the annual NCEA Convention.
A Kentucky native, Jennifer is dedicated to ensuring event attendees experience true southern hospitality. Prior to joining NCEA, she worked in corporate event management at Anthem where her attention to detail, proactive mindset and servant leadership style helped execute successful events across the country. There she gained invaluable knowledge in the areas of diversity and inclusion, cross-cultural communication, community outreach and management. Jennifer’s extensive experience in vendor management, exhibitor relations and her work with venues make her an excellent addition to the NCEA team, where she helps plan events such as the Catholic Leadership Summit and the annual NCEA Convention.
Ms. Barnett earned her Bachelor of Science in integrated studies with emphases in psychology and religion, from Union College in Barbourville, KY. She is a Catholic school parent and active member of her local parish, serving in many areas of stewardship. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family and traveling.
Cedric Bernescut is responsible for employee relations, compensation and benefits and training for NCEA. Mr. Bernescut coordinates the administrative functions of the association. His background in IT also helps with system support and keeping technical projects aligned with organizational goals.
Mr. Bernescut has an extensive background in retail management and system support. He was a part of the Best Buy NSO program to train and develop staff at new stores around the country. At NCEA he worked in various departments handling data surveys as well as the ACRE/IFG programs. Mr. Bernescut oversaw the acquisition, implementation and support of the technology assets of the association until his current position.
He attended Crespi Carmelite High School and has a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of California at Santa Barbara. He is active in the Knights of Columbus and the Ancient Order of Hibernians.
Sarah Huber is the data analyst in research and data. Ms. Huber works with the vice president of research and data to manage data, including creation, updates and deletion of data sets. She provides quality assurance of imported data and creates reports, analyzes data and produces solutions. Ms. Huber also creates, distributes and evaluates surveys for professional development and webinars.
Before joining NCEA, Ms. Huber was a data analyst at Primodel US, an environmental technology firm, from 2017 until 2021. She spent one year as an intern with the City of Grand Rapids Environmental Services Stormwater/Wastewater as a data analyst.
Ms. Huber has a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry and mathematics from Marquette University.
Member Services Associate
Sherri Jackson is a member services associate with NCEA. Ms. Jackson assists members with dues renewal payments and publication orders, as well as edits and updates member profiles, as necessary. She troubleshoots member logins to the NCEA website and facilitates registration for professional development events, webinars and graduate courses for teachers. She also follows up with outstanding invoices for members, vendors and any other types of outstanding billing. She helps with the member database and ensures members have access to all relevant benefits and resources.
Ms. Jackson started out working for NCEA as a temporary employee in the mailroom/accounting department and then membership in 2019. She then went to accounting and eventually to member services in 2021. Before working at NCEA Sherri worked with BOMA and serval other associations bringing more than 20 years of membership experience.
Ms. Jackson is a lifelong resident of Washington, D.C. attended Largo Senior High School in Largo, MD, with a major in business. Sherri also attended the University of Maryland working toward a Bachelor of Arts in business administration.
Scott Matthias started in the field of web management as a government contractor at FinCEN, an anti-money laundering bureau under the U.S. Treasury. He held successive contract engagements at the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (FDA), the Department of Justice's Antitrust Division, National Geographic and the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). Mr. Matthias has gained expertise with many different content management systems, all of which featured prominently in the web launch and redesign projects he has led over the last 20 years. He has been the associate organist at the Cathedral of St. Thomas More in Arlington, VA since 2004.
Mr. Matthias received a bachelor's degree in German from Georgetown University and completed postgraduate work in sacred music at the Catholic University of America. Both universities are in Washington, D.C.
Jessica Roberts is the marketing specialist for NCEA. Ms. Roberts’ most recent position was advancement director for three Catholic schools. During this time, she supported principals by developing and establishing enrollment plans, marketing plans and fundraising plans at each of the schools. She has built programs out at each of her schools and supported a 5 - 30 percent enrollment increase over the last year and a half in that role. In addition to this experience, she has supported schools by sitting on school advisory boards, hosting annual galas and establishing annual funds. Prior to being an advancement director, Ms. Roberts was a Catholic school educator, teaching across multiple grades from preschool - 8.
Ms. Roberts has an extensive background in education. She has a master's in educational administration and a master's in education with a focus in curriculum and instruction from Santa Clara University, a bachelor’s in child and adolescent development from San Jose State and a certificate in blended learning, certificate in teaching also from San Jose State, and a site supervisor permit for early childhood education.
Educational Content Coordinator
Beth Rucinski is the educational content coordinator at NCEA. Working closely with the Content and Programs team, as well as the Marketing team, she organizes, curates and communicates helpful resources to NCEA members.
Prior to NCEA, Ms. Rucinski has experience teaching Spanish and religion in classrooms from preschool to higher education. While she loved her time teaching, she has found her home writing and developing curriculum and professional learning content for other dedicated teachers. Most recently, she was the instructional technology coordinator at Liberty University.
Native to upstate New York, she has been working in Catholic schools since obtaining her master's degree in bilingual education in 2018. She has an undergraduate degree in marketing from Siena College.
Graphic Design and Production Manager
Bea Ruiz oversees NCEA’s graphic design and production endeavors. She provides comprehensive, competitive graphic design services that enhance the image of NCEA; in addition, she ensures brand consistency for marketing materials, social media and publications across the organization. She has been involved in numerous aspects of design since she began her career at NCEA in 1991. Prior to working at NCEA she did technical design for GTCO, a computer software company in Columbia, MD, honing creative designs into adapted products. She then worked for Hughes Systems in Greenbelt, MD, while developing her graphic design talent.
A Washington D.C. native, Ms. Ruiz received a Bachelor of Science in advertising and design from the University of Maryland in College Park, MD.