Catholic Diocese of Cleveland and Notre Dame ACE Academies to partner in two schools

Author: Institute for Educational Initiatives

Main Buidling
Main Buidling

Two schools in the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland will join the network of Notre Dame ACE Academies this school year, in a partnership between the diocese and the University of Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education.

St. Anthony of Padua School in Akron and St. Augustine Catholic School in Barberton will be part of ACE’s network, which creates thriving and resilient Catholic schools through an emphasis on Catholic school culture, strong teaching and learning and operational vitality.

Bishop Edward C. Malesic, J.C.L., joined in the announcement with Ryan Clark, the director of Notre Dame ACE Academies, and Frank O’Linn, the superintendent of schools for the diocese.

“Since my arrival in Northeast Ohio almost a year ago, I have come to see that one of the great treasures of the diocese is our Catholic school system. In fact, Catholic education is one of the largest and most important youth ministries within our diocese,” Malesic said. “I am very grateful for the collaborative work between Dr. O’Linn, our education leadership and the Notre Dame ACE schools to bring a most innovative, multifaceted program to two of our Akron-area Catholic schools, ensuring their academic excellence, accessibility and sustainability for years to come. The partnership of these schools will make them places where our children encounter the love and teaching of Jesus, giving them the best environment in which to flourish in their studies and personal formation. We want only the best for our children.”

The mission of the Notre Dame ACE Academies is to provide a Catholic education of the highest quality to as many children as possible by mobilizing the resources of the University, (arch)dioceses, statewide parental choice programs and local communities. ACE faculty and staff will work closely with local leadership of Notre Dame ACE Academies in greater Akron to increase academic achievement, boost enrollment and strengthen the schools’ Catholic identity by enhancing school leadership, curriculum, instruction, professional development, financial management and marketing.

“Catholic education is at a crossroads today, and we are increasingly challenged to sustain Catholic schools in all communities, but especially those with limited resources,” O’Linn said. “Our collaboration with Notre Dame ACE Academies will strengthen educational opportunities for all young people, especially the most vulnerable, through leadership, research and innovative practices. I am excited about their arrival in our diocese in Akron, which has seen numerous elementary school closures in recent years. This partnership will support children’s ongoing opportunity to grow academically, personally and spiritually through Catholic education.”

Notre Dame ACE Academies were founded in 2010 as a response to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ call for a “new model of sponsorship and collaboration” between Catholic institutions of higher education and parish schools. The network has heeded the call and has experienced both academic and enrollment gains in its schools. The generosity of several notable benefactors, including Greg and Tricia Griffith, Tom and Ginny Jeckering, the Humble Heart Gentle Soul Foundation, the McGinty Family Foundation and select other anonymous donors, made this partnership possible.

“After spending time in these two schools and learning about the opportunity to strengthen schools that have been serving the Akron and Barberton communities for decades, we knew it was a good fit for our formation and support program,” Clark said. “It’s an opportunity to show how we can be stronger together.”

For more about ACE and the Notre Dame ACE Academies, visit

Contact: Theo Helm, 574-631-3893,