The Master's of Education in Catholic School Administration is a program conceived by the Catholic Education Foundation in conversation with Pontifex University, and is specifically geared toward current or aspiring Catholic school leaders; it is thoroughly professional in its demands, inclusive of all normal requirements, accredited, and unabashedly Catholic in its outlook.  Course work is done on-line, in addition to a one week summer session, so as not to ignore the invaluable dimension of personal influence in the pedagogical enterprise.  


The rationale for this program is simple:  the Church in the United States needs Catholic schools today more than ever.  The conviction of the indispensability of the school is enunciated in Gravissimum Educationis, various documents of the Congregation for Catholic Education, as well as in the statements of the Popes and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.  Our schools are highly regarded within the community of the Church and in society-at-large. 


All that having been said,  it is equally clear that, in the foreseeable future, our schools will be run predominantly by laity, many of whom have not had a Catholic elementary and/or secondary school education themselves or have had poor experiences of such; even many of the clergy and religious currently involved in the Catholic school apostolate fall into the same category.


There do exist some programs at other institutions similar to this one, however, most of them merely offer a course or two that is explicitly Catholic, while the remaining courses merely mimic the educational vision of the government schools.  This program, on the other hand, will give administrators the wherewithal to help their faculties permeate the curriculum with religious and moral values, providing their students with a Catholic world-view.


The research course provides the framework for the required thesis or research project, which is intended to contribute to building up a body of literature designed to expand our scope of influence throughout Catholic education in the United States and beyond.  The Master’s thesis can serve as the basis for the doctoral dissertation.  The doctoral program is exclusively research-based.


All candidates must demonstrate proficiency in Catholic doctrine by passing a qualifying examination; failure to pass that examination will require a non-credit remedial course.


Required Courses:

            Organization & Administration of Catholic Education (3)

            Philosophical Foundations of Education (3)

            Psychological Foundations of Education (3)

            Civil & Canonical Issues in Education (3)

            Finances for Catholic Schools (3)

            Curriculum Development & Evaluation in the Classical Mode (3)   

            Formation of Catholic School Teachers (3)

            History of American Catholic Education (2)

            The Way of Beauty: The Catholic Cultural Heritage (3)

            Educational Research (2)


                        – 28 credits



Elective Courses:

            School Community Relations (2)

            Tests & Measurements (2)

            The Spiritual Life of the Catholic School (2)

            Supervision & Evaluation of Instruction (2)

            Leadership Training & Assessment (2)

            Catechetics for the Catechist (2)


                        – 2 additional credits needed



The Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) consists of a dissertation on an aspect of Catholic education and approved by Pontifex faculty. The length of the dissertation is between 50,000 and 80,000 words. This is a research degree.  It is completely online and has no residential requirement. The thesis defense can be done via video conferencing as well.


The student is responsible for recruitment and payment of a personal Advisor, who has a terminal degree in some field of education which required the submission of a doctoral thesis/dissertation and is a specialist in the chosen topic of research. Pontifex approves the chosen advisor and communicates what is expected of advisors.  Pontifex University will undertake to recruit and compensate other members of the committee, including an Academic Supervisor, who oversees the work of the Advisor and student in the process of creation of the graduate thesis.

In completing the Ed.D. degree, students register by dissertation stage, rather than by academic terms.  Each stage is completed when the work for that stage is approved by the Academic Advisor, submitted to Pontifex through the student learning system, and approved by the Academic Supervisor and the Director of the Catholic Education program.  


Research Methodology Class – 6 credits, which includes writing the dissertation abstract (500 words) and annotated bibliography.

Dissertation proposal – 25 pages with bibliography, giving the scope and outline of the proposed dissertation topic. 

Writing the dissertation.

Dissertation defense. 

Final submission of dissertation.





Reverend Peter M. J. Stravinskas, Program Director (Philosophical Foundations of Education; Educational Research; History of American Catholic Education)

            – Father Stravinskas holds doctorates in school administration and theology, and has taught in and administered Catholic educational institutions at every level.  He is the president of the Catholic Education Foundation, editor of The Catholic Response and The Catholic Educator, as well as the publisher of Newman House Press.


Sister Elizabeth Anne Allen, O.P. (Formation of Catholic School Teachers)

– Sister Elizabeth Anne Allen, O.P. is the Director of the Center for Catholic Education at Aquinas College in Nashville, Tennessee.  She also serves on the faculty of the School of Education. 
A member of the Dominican Sister of St. Cecilia Congregation in Nashville, Sister Elizabeth Anne holds a Doctor of Education degree in Education and Policy Studies from the University of Memphis with a concentration in educational leadership. With both teaching and administrative experience on elementary, secondary and collegiate levels, she has a Master of Arts and a Bachelor of Science degree in history from Middle Tennessee State University, a Master of Arts in Religious Studies from the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas, and a Master of Education degree in Administration from the University of Southern Mississippi.  She is the co-editor, with Sister Matthew Marie Cummings, O.P., of Behold the Heritage: Foundations of Education in the Dominican Tradition and lectures in the United States and Canada on a variety of educational topics, including the dignity of teaching and the nature and mission of Catholic schools.

Eduardo Bernot (Psychological Foundations of Education)

            – Eduardo Bernot received his doctoral degree with highest honors from Abat Oliba CEU University (Barcelona, Spain). He has taught at the undergraduate level at the Interdisciplinary Center for Research in the Humanities (Autonomous University of the State of Morelos, Mexico), and presently teaches courses in the Thomistic Studies Online Graduate Concentration in Christian Wisdom at Holy Apostles College and Seminary. He is a member of the Aquinas School of Leadership and of the International Association for Ontology and its Applications.



Thomas Carroll (Organization & Administration of Catholic Education)

            – Thomas W. Carroll is Superintendent of Schools for the Archdiocese of Boston, overseeing 100 schools with faculty and staff of 4,000 serving  30,000 students.  Mr. Carroll is a national leader on school-choice advocacy, ran a highly successful network of urban charter schools, led two Catholic scholarship funds, and has more than 30 years of nonprofit leadership experience.


David Clayton (The Way of Beauty: The Catholic Cultural Heritage)

            – David Clayton is an internationally known artist, teacher, writer and broadcaster. He has an MA from Oxford University in Materials Science, and an MSc in Metallurgical Engineering from Michigan Technological University; He studied icon painting under iconographer Aidan Hart in the UK and portrait painting at the Charles H. Cecil Studios, Florence, Italy.


Mr. Clayton has published several books, as well as articles on art and culture in numerous Catholic publications and journals and writes for his weekly blog, and for He wrote, co-produced and presented the 13-part TV series about traditional art and culture The Way of Beauty, shown by Catholic TV in 2010 and 2011.


Artistically, he has had major commissions at the Brompton Oratory in London, Pluscarden Abbey and the Maryvale Institute in the UK, and has been featured in many Catholic books that discuss art and culture. He has also composed over 80 tones for the psalms in English, with four-part arrangements, which have been featured in Chant Cafe, Monastic Musicians magazine, and the website of the school of liturgical music at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana.


He is Provost of Pontifex University.


Reverend Michael Davis (Educational Finances for Catholic Education )

                – Originally from Southwestern Ohio, Father Davis is a product of Catholic education, ordained to the priesthood in 1990 for service in the Archdiocese of Miami, Florida, and is a graduate of the Catholic School Leadership program at Boston College. With more than 18 years of full-time experience in the Catholic education apostolate, he has served in varying capacities on the faculty and staff of four archdiocesan Catholic high schools, including a six-year term as President and Supervising Principal of Miami’s Archbishop Coleman Carroll High School, where he was charged with the tasks of “faith and finances,” i.e., the spiritual advancement and the fiscal administration of the institution. In 2006, his high school was acknowledged by the Acton Institute as being among the “Top 20 Catholic High Schools” in America for its clear Catholic identity. After being assigned to parochial ministry, he has served as Pastor of three parishes with parochial schools, in which he has been a catalyst for healthy fiscal management, organizational efficiency, community building, and faith enrichment, which he says “can all be done at the same time…..and must be!”



Mary Pat Donoghue (Curriculum Development & Evaluation in the Classical Mode)

– Mary Pat Donoghue has served the mission of Catholic education for nearly thirty years, as teacher, administrator, and consultant. In 2010, she spearheaded an effort to convert St. Jerome School in Hyattsville, MD, from a failing school to a now-thriving institution by implementing a curriculum based on the Catholic liberal tradition, which has since been adopted by several Catholic schools across the country. Following her tenure at St. Jerome, Mary Pat served as the Director of School Services at the Institute for Catholic Liberal Education in Ventura, CA. Currently, Mary Pat currently serves as the Executive Director of the Secretariat of Catholic Education at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.



Reverend Nicholas L. Gregoris (Catechetics for the Catechist)
– Father Gregoris holds a bachelor's degree in classical languages from Seton Hall University, a bachelor's in sacred theology from the Gregorian University in Rome, as well as a licentiate and doctorate in sacred theology from the Marianum, also in Rome.  He has taught in Catholic schools at every level – elementary, secondary, college and seminary.  
Father Gregoris has translated several works for the United States Catholic Conference, the Holy See and Newman House Press.  He is the author of "The Daughter of Eve Unfallen":  Mary in the Theology and Spirituality of John Henry Newman."  He has contributed to various other books and is the author of numerous articles in the Catholic press.  He currently serves as the managing editor of The Catholic Response.



Kevin Kijewski (Civil & Canonical Issues in Education)

            – Kevin D. Kijewski, J.D., is the Superintendent of Schools for the Archdiocese of Detroit. As an experienced educational leader, Kijewski strives to provide high-quality educational opportunities and experiences for nearly 27,000 students in 86 schools that lead to high levels of academic achievement. Prior to Detroit, Kijewski served as Superintendent of Schools in the Archdiocese of Denver and as Associate Superintendent for Secondary Schools in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

            Among his degrees, Kijewski holds a Master of Education from the University of Notre Dame and a Doctor of Law from Michigan State University.  He is currently enrolled in the Doctor of Education program at the University of Pennsylvania, where his doctoral studies are focused on educational and organizational leadership.



Sebastian Mahfood (Formation of Catholic School Teachers)

            – Sebastian Mahfood serves as Vice-President of External Affairs at Holy Apostles College & Seminary in Cromwell, CT, publisher at En Route Books & Media, and producer at WCAT Radio. He is a Lay Dominican of the Queen of the Holy Rosary Chapter in the Province of St. Albert the Great. He holds a doctorate in post-colonial literature and theory from Saint Louis University, along with several master’s degrees in the fields of comparative literature, philosophy, theology, and educational technology. His publications include his book on African narrative socialism entitled, Radical Eschatologies: Embracing the Eschaton in the Works of Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Nuruddin Farah, and Ayi Kwei Armah; his book on 14th-century Italian literature, The Narrative Spirituality of Dante's Divine Comedy; and his book on 21st-century social media, Among the Marvelous Things: The Media of Social Communications and the Next Generation of Pastoral Ministers. He lives in St. Louis with his wife, Dr. Stephanie Mahfood, and children, Alexander and Eva Ruth.



Reverend Monsignor Sabato (Sal) Pilato (The Spiritual Life of the School)
– After an initial parochial assignment following priestly ordination in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Father Pilato spent the next twenty-one years in Catholic high school administration. He served for twelve years as principal of Junipero Serra High School in Gardena. During his transformative tenure as principal, the enrollment climbed from 384 to 602; two teachers became priests and four students entered seminaries.  The strong Catholic identity that he developed at Serra, along with substantial enrollment growth and healthy finances, led Cardinal Roger Mahony to ask Monsignor Pilato to become superintendent of high schools for the Archdiocese in 2008. Archbishop Gomez asked him to serve a second term, which ended June 2017.  He now serves as pastor of a parish with a school.


Peter A. Redpath (Psychological Foundations of Education)

            – Peter A. Redpath is a retired Full Professor of Philosophy at St. John’s University, New York City. An author/editor of 15 books and dozens of articles and book reviews, he has lectured widely both nationally and internationally. Presently, he is Chairman of the Thomistic Studies Online Graduate Concentration in Christian Wisdom at Holy Apostles College and Seminary, Senior Fellow at the Center for the Study of The Great Ideas, and CEO of the Aquinas School of Leadership, LLC.



Reverend Monsignor Joseph Schaedel (School Community Relations)

– Rev. Monsignor Joseph F. Schaedel was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis in 1982 and was named a Prelate of Honor in 1997.   Prior to his ordination, he became the first lay principal of a Catholic elementary school in the Archdiocese in 1972.  In the educational apostolate, he has served as an elementary teacher, principal, high school instructor, vice-principal, and high school president.

He was Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis from 1994-2011.  He currently serves as the pastor of Saint Luke Parish on the North side of Indianapolis, which has a large and vibrant school.  He holds advanced degrees in education, educational administration, and divinity.  Monsignor Schaedel also serves on various leadership boards, including the Board of Trustees at Marian University, Providence Cristo Rey High School, Lumen Christi Catholic School, and the Central Indiana Regional Board of Franciscan Alliance Health.