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The National Catholic Educational Association to Honor Three Recipients in the Archdiocese of Chicago with the Fourth Annual NCEA Lead. Learn. Proclaim. Award

The Cristo Rey Network and Catholic educators from Our Lady of Tepeyac High School and Mother McAuley High School will be recognized at the annual NCEA Convention & Expo in Chicago on April 23, 2019 at 7 p.m.

Chicago, IL (April 22, 2019) – The National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) will honor the Cristo Rey Network; Joni Thompson, president of Our Lady of Tepeyac High School (Chicago); and Art Sheridan, theology teacher at Mother McAuley Liberal Arts High School (Chicago) with the fourth annual 2019 Lead. Learn. Proclaim. Award for their dedication and outstanding achievements in Catholic education. They will be feted at the Lead. Learn. Proclaim. Awards. dinner on April 23, 2019 at 7 p.m. during the annual NCEA Convention & Expo that takes place this year in Chicago at McCormick Place, 2301 South King Drive, Chicago.

“I’m enormously proud of our awardees. This is a recognition they greatly deserve,” said Dr. Jim Rigg, superintendent of Catholic Schools, Archdiocese of Chicago. “This award honors those who are dedicated and enthusiastic in providing a Catholic education that positively impacts the students we serve. The Cristo Rey Network, along with Jodi and Art, are committed to helping our students reach their God-given potential."

The annual Lead. Learn. Proclaim. Award recognizes outstanding efforts, contributions, and achievements from superintendents, assistant or associate superintendents, presidents, principals, teachers, pastors, and/or Catholic institutions and organizations on behalf of Catholic school education. This year, there are 27 award recipients from across the United States.

Cristo Rey Network President and Chief Executive Officer Elizabeth Goettl will accept the award on behalf of the Cristo Rey Network. With 35 schools in 22 states, the Cristo Rey Network has grown into the largest network of high schools in the country that exclusively serves low-income students. The network has been recognized for delivering a powerful and innovative approach to inner-city Catholic education that equips students from economically-disadvantaged families with the knowledge, faith, and 21st-century skills to transform their lives with a college preparatory education paired with a unique four-year, integrated corporate work study experience.

Our Lady of Tepeyac High School’s Thompson has served as an English teacher, assistant principal, dean of students, principal and now as president in her 28 years at the school. Thompson has established a professional yet familial relationship between the students and staff. She has been called a transformative leader for creating opportunities and equity for minority and low-income students, many of whom come from immigrant families and live in areas that are plagued by violence and gangs. In the last 10 years, under Thompson’s leadership, 100 percent of Our Lady of Tepeyac’s graduates have been accepted to colleges and universities earning millions of dollars in scholarship funds.

Mother McAuley Liberal Arts High School’s Sheridan has been a member of the Theology/Faith Formation department for 17 years. He currently teaches Church History and Social Justice and Living Faith and Global Issues to juniors and seniors, respectively. Sheridan is also a member of the school’s Campus Ministry Team, serving as the coordinator of Student Service. Each year, he coordinates mission trips to rural Appalachia. With his guidance, students embrace the Appalachia community and repair residents’ homes.

NCEA’s Convention & Expo is the largest private-education association gathering in the world. The annual convention draws thousands of members and participants from Catholic school communities, including elementary and secondary school teachers and principals, religious education programs as well as diocesan offices, church pastors, superintendents and school board members. The convention is a forum to exchange ideas, hear about current research and data related to Catholic education and learn about new technology and resources. This year, the NCEA 2019 Convention & Expo will be hosted by the Archdiocese of Chicago, and will attract over 9,000 Catholic educators from across the country on April 23 - 25 at McCormick Place West.