The Academy of Catholic Educators (ACES) supports academic excellence for all students through quality, research-based professional development for teachers and administrators.

Professional development for teachers is essential for improving student learning. The more teachers know, the better their students learn, achieve, and succeed.

Our Services

  • Train school leaders
  • Certify teachers
  • Deliver quality professional development
  • Design effective instruction
  • Provide specific feedback for improvement

Services can be provided on-site at the partner school or on the Notre Dame campus.

Professional Development

We design grade- and multi-grade level half or full day workshops, classroom observations, and other professional development programs to meet the needs of partner schools.


  • Reading
  • Math
  • Differentiated Instruction
  • STEM
  • Research-Based Instructional Strategies
  • Integration of Technology
  • Using Data to Make Instructional Decisions
  • Instructional Coaching
  • Special Education
Testimonials from Partner Schools

"Teacher development is vital to the success of our students. Education is undergoing major changes and teachers feel overwhelmed. Our school's partnership with Notre Dame gives me the help that I need to grow as an effective teacher." 

Kelly Lessis, 8th grade teacher
Our Lady of Hope/St. Luke School

"The challenges of today's classroom can be daunting. ACES provides our teachers with instruction, ideas and the confidence to be successful in this age of digital literacy, instructional shifts and increased rigor. Our teachers, thanks to ACES, are now delivering instruction that is targeted to standards and engaging for the students."

Deborah Thomas, Principal
Immaculate Heart of Mary School

"Our partnership with Notre Dame of Maryland University has provided our teachers with the opportunity to engage in professional development once a month focusing on strategies to engage the 21st century learner."

Christine Blake, Principal
St. John the Evangelist School

ACES Program Leadership Team

Sharon Slear, SSND, Ph.D.

Sr. Sharon is the founding Dean of Notre Dame's School of Education and is an acknowledged expert in teacher education. She was the recipient of the National Catholic Education Association award for promoting educational diversity and has been inducted into The Daily Record's Circle of Excellence as one of Maryland's Top 100 Women.

Gail Donahue, Ph.D.

Dr. Donahue is the Director of the Academy of Catholic Educators. She is a former classroom teacher, reading specialist, assistant principal, principal, and college instructor. Dedicated to Catholic school education, Gail's special focus has been on designing high performing schools using effective instruction and technology while maintaining Catholic identity and the charism of founding orders.

Michelle Jones, M. Ed.

Michelle Jones is the Assistant Director of the Academy of Catholic Educators. She has been devoted to the mission of Catholic education for her entire career, working as an elementary school teacher, assistant principal, principal and principal coach for the Archdiocese of Washington, and as principal and the Director of Program Planning and Evaluation for the Catholic Schools Office in the Archdiocese of Baltimore. Michelle’s special focus is using assessments to design, differentiate and implement instruction.

Maggie Hubbard Ed.D.

Dr. Maggie Hubbard is Assistant Director of Special Education for the Academy of Catholic Educators (ACES). For many years, Maggie served at St. Mary of the Mills School beginning as a first-grade teacher and eventually, becoming assistant principal. Her most recent position was Director of Special Education for the Archdiocese of Washington where she where she was instrumental in the movement for inclusion of students with special needs in Catholic schools. Maggie has a Ed.D. in curriculum and instruction with a particular focus on Universal Design for Learning and Inclusion in Catholic Schools. Maggie also works as a consultant with Dr. Carol Ann Tomlinson and ASCD community helping to shape the design of differentiated instruction.

Education Initiatives & Events

Summer STEM Institute for Teachers

Learn to engage your students with real-time data while earning three graduate credits through a week of hands-on projects guided by the Department of Natural Resources.

Summer STEM Camp

This one-week day camp expands budding interests in STEM fields for students entering grades 3-8.

Speaker Series

This annual event brings high-profile educators and researchers to campus to share their expertise and discuss the latest educational trends and pedagogies. Past speakers have included Ian Jukes, H. Samy Alim, and Richard Louv.

NDMU School of Education: A Leader in Teacher Training

Notre Dame has a long and proud history of mutually beneficial partnerships with Catholic private and public schools, providing outstanding professional development that offers teachers relevant and practical applications in and outside the classroom.

Explore Graduate Programs

Contact Us

Gail Donahue
Director of ACES