July 9-12, 2020

Co-sponsored by the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) and Loyola Marymount University's Center for Catholic Education, this nationally recognized symposium offers dynamic presentations on the law as it applies to Catholic education and ministry. This is geared toward all levels of Catholic school administration: from diocesan superintendents to emerging leaders at the school site.

This year, a full complement of experts in the field will present on a variety of topics, including social media, cybersecurity, immigration law, canon law as it impacts education ministries, crisis management, accommodating students with disabilities, personnel legal issues, and relevant updates on school law.

The symposium's speakers represent an outstanding group of school law experts with a wide variety of knowledge and experience. All sessions will be held at The Brown Hotel -- rated as one of the top 50 hotels in the country.

This wonderful opportunity to learn and network should not be missed!

Questions and requests for more information can be directed to catholicedlaw@lmu.edu.

  • The 2020 slate of Ed Law Symposium speakers come with unprecedented breadth and expertise. Stay tuned for featured speakers!

    Sample of our 2019 Speakers:

    Cindi Baughman, M.A., M. Ed.

    Cindi Baughman is an assistant principal/dean of students at Assumption High School in Louisville, Kentucky. She taught English, theology, and/or journalism for 21 years at Assumption before becoming an administrator in 1999. She was named a Model of Mercy by the faculty and staff in October 2008, won the Rose Award for making a significant difference in the lives of students in 2015, and completed her 40th year at Assumption in May 2018.

    She graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in English with secondary teaching certification from Bellarmine College and earned a M.Ed. in secondary education from the University of Louisville and an M.A. in school administration from Spalding University. She has also attended Indiana University and the University of London as a visiting student.

    Cindi has made numerous presentations at local, state, and national conferences. She has served as the president of the Mercy Secondary Education Association, the Kentucky Council of Teachers of English, the Greater Louisville English Council, and the Greater Louisville High School Press Association. She served as editor of With Great Confidence in God: Prayers by and for Mercy Educators, a book published by the Mercy Secondary Education Association in 2006. She received the Caritas Medal from Spalding University in June 2008.

    Michael L. Bratcher, Ed.D.

    Dr. Michael Bratcher is the principal at Sacred Heart Model School in Louisville, KY. Michael’s education includes a B.A. in English from the University of Kentucky (2001) and a double major in Communications. He has earned two graduate degrees from Spalding University: M.A. in Teaching (2003) and a Rank I distinction with a M.A. in Education Administration (2010). In addition, Dr. Bratcher holds a state certification as a school principal in grades K-12. He earned his Doctorate in Educational Leadership in November of 2010. Dr. Bratcher's dissertation focused on the effects of Catholic Identity in Catholic Schools in the United States. He has presented his dissertation at several state and national conferences. Prior to working for Sacred Heart Schools, Dr. Bratcher was the principal at St. Patrick Catholic School for five years. During Dr. Bratcher's tenure at St. Patrick, the school with recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence, saw standardize test scores significantly increase, and the enrollment grew upwards of 70 students. Before St. Patrick, Dr. Bratcher served nine years at Trinity High School as a classroom teacher, assistant campus minister, and Senior Development Officer.

    Clare Fitzgerald, SSND, Ph.D.

    Sister Clare Fitzgerald is a School Sister of Notre Dame. She received her Bachelor of Arts Degree from the College of Notre Dame in Maryland, earned her Master’s Degree at Catholic University in Washington, DC, and was awarded a Doctorate of Philosophy by St. Louis University. In addition, she has received honorary doctorates from Notre Dame College, Manchester New Hampshire, and the College of Notre Dame, Baltimore, Maryland. Sister Clare has taught at all levels of education, and served for nine years as Chair of the American Studies Department at Fairfield University, and for twelve years as the founding Director of the Catholic Leadership Program at Boston College. Internationally, she had lectured and presented workshops on Catholic education and the future of religious life throughout the United States, Canada, Guam, Puerto Rico, and England. Recent lecture engagements include St. Andrews’s College in Scotland and the University of Cambridge in England. She has served as the Provincial Leader of the School Sisters of Notre Dame and her national leadership positions include President of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious and the Appointee to the Vatican Commission on the Study of Religious Life. In 1986, 1992 and 1997, Sister Clare received the National Catholic Educational Association’s highest commendation for distinguished service to Catholic education and the Church. In 1994, she received the prestigious William H. Sadlier Dinger Award for distinguished contributions to Catholic education and leadership, and, in 1998, received the C. Albert Koop Award for her commitment for excellence and scholarship in the training of Catholic educational leaders in the United States.

    Michael Huggins, EdD, PhDc, ARNP (GNP-BC; FNP-BC), FAANP

    Michael Huggins is an educator and a clinician with many years’ experience. Board certified in both geriatric medicine and family medicine, he maintains an active primary care practice in Washington. He is an Associate Professor in the College of Nursing at Seattle University in Seattle, WA where he directs the Adult and Gerontological Nurse Practitioner program. His areas of scholarly research include medical complications within educational environments, general impediments to primary care, and the phenomenon of stigma within the environment of primary medical care.

    Karen Juliano, Ed.D.

    Dr. Karen Juliano has been a Catholic high school administrator for thirty-five years. She has served in inner city, rural and suburban areas, including the dioceses of: Boston, Massachusetts; Hartford, Connecticut; Louisville, Kentucky; Rochester, New York; and Metuchen, New Jersey. Currently, she is principal of Lourdes High School in Rochester, Minnesota.  Dr. Juliano began her career as a high school mathematics teacher and has a lifelong love for the subject. The author of the first dissertation concerning contract law in Catholic and other private schools, Dr. Juliano is a popular presenter at the law symposium and is one of only three persons who have attended every symposium since the beginning. Dr. Juliano has served as an adjunct professor at Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky. She served as a regional representative for the Secondary Department of the NCEA. She is the co-author of articles published in Momentum.

    Joy Lopez, Ed.D.

    Joy Lopez, Ed.D. is the Director of Technology at Sacred Heart Schools, Atherton. She oversees the technology department for grades Preschool through high school. Students at Sacred Heart are 1:1 from grades 1-12. Different devices are used to complement the learning needs of the students. She has been instrumental in driving technology issues, policies, and initiatives at schools around the U.S. She is the author of the NCEA publication, Designing a One-to-One Laptop Program, was awarded the NCEA Secondary Educator award at the 2010 NCEA convention, and is a frequent speaker at schools and conferences. Joy is an adjunct professor and course designer at the University of San Francisco in the M.A. in Educational Technology Program. Additionally, Joy teaches Biology and Marine Biology at the high school to keep her hand in the realm of teaching. Joy’s current areas of focus are cybersecurity, school safety, and disaster recovery/business continuity.

    Dale McDonald, PBVM, Ph.D.

    Dale McDonald, PBVM, PhD, is the Director of Public Policy and Educational Research for the National Catholic Educational Association in Washington, DC. She earned a Ph.D. in Educational Administration from Boston College, a M.S. in Educational Administration from Pace University, an M.A. in American History from Fordham University and a B.S. in Elementary Education from Fordham. She has been an elementary and secondary school teacher and administrator, and prior to joining NCEA, Sr. 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 and other national education associations and has testified before congressional committees on education policy issues.

    Rob Mullen, Ph.D.

    Dr. Mullen was named President of Trinity High School in October 2000. A 1977 graduate of Trinity, he returned in August 1982 to begin his career in teaching. He earned a Doctorate in Education in 1998 and holds two other graduate degrees, including a Master's Degree in Religious Studies. He also holds state certification as a secondary school principal. While at Trinity he has held numerous positions - teacher, coach, campus minister, dean of students, director of development, director of special projects and assistant principal. Dr. Mullen has served as a state-certified, quality award senior examiner and is proficient in the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award criteria. He excels in the areas of strategic planning and quality initiatives. He is a native of Louisville, Kentucky, and lives with his wife Kathy. They have four children and four grandchildren.

    David J. Peters, Ed.D.

    Dr. David Peters just completed his thirty-fourth year as an educator in the Archdiocese of Omaha. Over the course of those years he has been a middle school teacher, building principal, assisted in opening a newly consolidated school system and currently is head of school of Mount Michael Benedictine School. Mount Michael Benedictine School is an all- boys college preparatory boarding and day high school located in Elkhorn, Nebraska. David received his bachelor and master’s degrees from Creighton University and, in 2002, earned his doctorate in education from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. He was named, in 2003, outstanding Administrator of the Year for the Archdiocese of Omaha. He has presented at numerous Education Law Symposiums, several NCEA (National Catholic Educational Association) conventions, served on the superintendent’s cabinet, written Nebraska state curriculum guides in math and science, and served on various Archdiocese of

    Omaha boards and committees. From 2007-2015 David served as the Region 9 representative (Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska) on the NCEA Department of Elementary Schools Executive Committee. He recently served on the new NCEA Lead. Learn. Proclaim Advisory Council for Marketing. David was fortunate to have led two schools that were honored with the National Blue Ribbon recognition by the U.S. Department of Education (St. Stephen the Martyr School, Omaha, Nebraska in 2007 and Mount Michael Benedictine School, Elkhorn, Nebraska in 2012). He is the co-author of the Beginner’s Guide to International Student Programs in Catholic Schools published by the NCEA in 2015.

    Bryan Ph.D., J.C.D., S.T.B./M.Div.

    Loyola Immigrant Justice Clinic, and is a Judge and Defender of the Bond with the Metropolitan Tribunal of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles. An active member of the Washington State Bar Association, Fr. Pham is also a member of the Canon Law Society of America, and the Canadian Canon Law Society. During the summer months, Fr. Pham practices and works with law student interns in the General Public/Indian Law Clinic at Gonzaga University School of Law.

    Anthony Riegling, Ed. D.

    Dr. Riegling is a retired USAF Officer. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Louisville, an MBA from City University of Seattle, and doctorate in education from Indiana University. He began teaching in the Career Academy Program in high school in Shreveport, Louisiana and Louisville, KY. He taught at DeSales High School in Louisville before accepting his first assignment as a principal. He is currently the principal of St. Paul School in Florence, KY. He is on the faculty of the HOPE Foundation, Bloomington, IN, helping leaders improve school culture. He is an adjunct faculty member at St. Catherine College. One of his special areas of interest is special education in Catholic schools. He is available for consultation and speaking engagements. He sometimes presents with Mrs. Karen Schultz on the topic of successful implementation of a Catholic school program for children with special needs.

    Mary Angela Shaughnessy, SCN, J.D., Ph.D.

    Sister Mary Angela Shaughnessy is a Sister of Charity of Nazareth who has taught at all levels of Catholic education from elementary through graduate school. She served eight years as principal of a Catholic high school in the Archdiocese of Boston. Sister Angie holds a bachelor’s degree in English, a master’s degree in English, a master’s degree in Education, a Juris Doctorate in Law, and a Ph.D. in educational administration and supervision. Her research concerns the law as it affects Catholic schools and church ministry. A consultant to numerous dioceses, Sister Angie is a highly sought after national speaker and the author of over thirty texts. She has held many administrative posts in higher education. Currently, Sister is Senior Distinguished Fellow of Catholic Education in the Center for Catholic Education at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. She is the recipient of numerous awards. Named one of the 25 most influential persons in Catholic education, she is the recipient of the 2017 Seton President’s Award.

    Daniel Zoeller, Ed.D.

    After 14 years as an English teacher at Trinity High School, Louisville, Kentucky, Dan was named principal in 2004. Before Trinity, Dan taught in Florida where he was awarded a Fulbright Exchange to England. A year later, he accepted a teaching job at Trinity. While at Trinity, Dan has served as English Department Chair, Activities Director, and coached three sports before being named principal. As activities director, Dan designed and implemented Trinity's House System. Trinity's House System has become the model for house systems in dozens of schools across the United States. Dan has presented workshops about the House System at the Ohio Catholic Education Association Convention, the House System Institute in St. Louis, and the National Catholic Educator's Association. Awards and designations: Kentucky State Coaches' Award, tennis (1993); Trinity Teacher of the Year(1997); Kentucky Governor's Scholars Outstanding Educator Award (1999); Co-author, You Will Never Leave Me (Thomas Merton curriculum, 2000); Toyota International Teacher (2000); Courage to Teach Teacher (2003); Participant: Leadership Institute for School Principals (2011-12); 20 Educators to Know (2016); Kentucky Association of Library Media Specialists' Administrator of the Year (2017); Co-presenter, Ohio Catholic Educators Association (2005), National Catholic Educational Association (2006), The House System Institute (2017), and National Catholic Educational Association (2018). A native of Louisville, Dan has three children: Jude, Chloe and Holly.

  • Topics include: 

    • Discipline: Issues and Solutions
    • Canon Law and Civil Law Intersection
    • Chief Administrators and Athletics
    • Crisis Management, Armed Intruder Readiness
    • Custody Issues
    • Cyber Security and School Obligations
    • Difficult Parents and Staying within the Law
    • Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity
    • Faculty and Student Handbooks
    • Title IX, Gender Equity and Sexual Harassment
    • IDEA: Special Education Law 
    • Immigration Issues
    • Law and Mercy
    • Learning Differences and Inclusive Ed
    • Legal Issues and Case Updates
    • Medical Issues and Legal Ramifications
    • Personnel and Legal Issues
    • Public Policy Updates  
    • School Violence and Preparedness 
    • Sexual Abuse and the Catholic Church: How do we Respond? 
    • Youth Mental Health and Legislation
    • School Violence and Preparedness
  • 2020 Agenda

    To be Announced!


    Sample from 2019:

    Thursday, July 9 
    7:00 p.m.                        Welcome
    Dale McDonald, PBVM

    Introduction of Speaker
    Mary Angela Shaughnessy, SCN

      Keynote Address
    A Pastor’s Perspective: Fulfilling the Law and the Prophets
    Father Bill Hammer, Pastor, St. Margaret Mary, Louisville, KY


    Friday, July 10    
    7:00 a.m. Mass
    8:30 a.m.


    8:45-9:45 a.m. Legal Issues & Case Update
    Mary Angela Shaughnessy, SCN
    9:45-10:00 a.m. Break
    10:00-11:15 a.m. 

    Crisis Management: Armed Intruder Readiness
    Sergeant William Gregory

    Including All Students: Success Stories
    Debbie Heaverin

    Personnel Issues in Catholic Schools: A Chancellor’s Perspective
    Brian Reynolds

    IDEA and Private School Students
    Dale McDonald, PBVM

    11:30-12:30 p.m.  Lunch 
    12:45-2:00 p.m. 

    Parent/Student and Faculty Handbooks
    Mary Angela Shaughnessy, SCN

    Dealing with Difficult Parents
    Michael Bratcher

    Mandatory Student Drug Testing: How to Make it Work
    Rob Mullen and Dan Zoeller

    Cyber Security and School Obligations
    Joy Lopez

    2:15-3:30 p.m. 

    Chief Administrators and Athletics: Issues & Solutions
    Karen Juliano, David Peters, Alan Donhoff, Rob Mullen,
    Rob Saxton

    Canon & Civil Law: Where is the Intersect?
    Father Bryan Pham

    Legally Sound Discipline Strategies
    Cindi Baughman

    Applying for Grants from Foundations: What You Need to Know
    Rosemarie Nassif, SSND

    3:30-3:45 p.m.  Break 
    3:45-5:00 p.m. 

    Immigration, Undocumented Persons and Catholic Schools
    Michael Ligorano

    Legal and Practical Considerations in Fundraising
    Brian Hightower

    Student Safety: Legal and Practical Considerations
    Tony Riegling 

      Free Evening 


    Saturday, July 11                      
    7:00 a.m. Mass
    8:30 a.m. Prayer
    8:45-9:45 a.m.                                 

    Keynote: Law and Mercy
    Clare Fitzgerald, SSND

    9:45 a.m. Break
    10:00-11:30 a.m. 

    Medical Issues and Legal Ramifications
    Michael Huggins and Mary Angela Shaughnessy, SCN

    11:40 a.m. Lunch 
    12:45-2:00 p.m.

    The Sex Abuse Crisis in the Church: Our Response in Light of Legal and Gospel Responsibilities (panel)
    Father Bryan Pham (moderator)
    Michelle Grugerich, SCN, Michael Huggins,
    Armando Paz, Leisa Schulz, Mary Angela Shaughnessy, SCN

    2:00-2:15 p.m.


    2:15-3:30 p.m.

    Legal Nightmares and How We Coped
    Karen Juliano, David Peters, Cat Timmerman                 

    Helping Parents Understand the Land Mines of Technology and Social Media
    Joy Lopez

    Title IX, Sexual Harassment, and Protection of Employees and Students in
    Catholic Schools: What You Need to Know
    Nicole Mann 

    3:45-5:00 p.m.

    Custody Issues and Catholic Schools
    Armando Paz

    Learning Differences in Elementary Schools: Strategies
    Tony Riegling

    Contract Issues and Catholic Schools: A Superintendent’s Perspective
    Leisa Schulz

    5:30 p.m.  Vigil Mass
    6:30 p.m.   Dinner and Awards 


    Sunday, July 12                 
    9:00 a.m. Prayer
    9:15 a.m.

    Ask the Lawyers
    Brian Hightower, Michael Ligorano, Armando Paz, and Mary Angela Shaughnessy, SCN

    10:15 a.m. Public Policy Updates and Concluding Remarks
    Dale McDonald, PBVM
    11:00 a.m. 



  • Two national awards are given at the Education Law Symposium each year. Nominations are now being sought for this years awards. 

    One award is presented by the Shaughnessy family: The Edward M. Shaughnessy III Serving All God’s Children Inclusive Award honors an educator, administrator, or other person who has made an outstanding contribution to furthering inclusive Catholic education for all, especially those students with special needs.    

    A second award was established in 2017 to honor the memory of Michael Thomas Peters, an outstanding young man and LMU student, who died in January 2017 while awaiting a kidney transplant.  His parents, Dr. David and Nancy Peters, have set the following criteria for the awardee: One who has overcome or is overcoming obstacles in the face of adversity; exhibits dedication/devotion to friends and family; is a champion of the underdog. These traits were exemplified in the first award winner, Brian Schultz, who overcame adversity in the form of learning to flourish in school and college. Dr. and Mrs. Peters will make the selection. 

    For either award, please send the nominee’s name, contact information (including whether he or she can be present at the conference to receive the award) and a brief statement or rationale supporting the nomination to Sr. Angie by e-mail (angie.shaughnessy@lmu.edu).

    Nominations close May 15. 


  • Title II-A funds for professional development under ESSA may be available to attend the Education Law Symposium. Funds may be used for registration as well as travel and lodging. Requests must be made to the local public school district (LEA) that controls the government funding for this program. 

    While the NCEA and Loyola Marymount University are co-sponsors of the symposium, LMU serves as the symposium's fiscal agent. As such, any checks submitted for symposium registration should be payable to "Loyola Marymount University" with Ed Law Symposium and attendee's name in the memo. In addition, checks will require a mail-in registration.  Please email CatholicEdLaw@lmu.edu to request a mail-in registration form.

    Checks and mail-in registration should be sent to LMU Center for Catholic Education, 1 LMU Drive Suite 1760, Los Angeles, CA 90045, attn: Catholic Ed Law. 

  • The Brown Hotel

    335 West Broadway
    Louisville, KY 40202

    Participants must make their own reservations at the hotel by using this link or calling 502.583.1234. If calling, please note that The Brown Hotel is on Eastern Time. Indicate that you are with the LMU/NCEA Education Law Symposium and you will be charged the special rate of only $120 (single) and $134 (double), both of which include a full hot breakfast daily. Hotel reservations at this special symposium rate cannot be guaranteed after June 10.

    We look forward to seeing you there!

  • August 2017

    "I have attended the Law Symposium for several years now. The Symposium helps me as an educator, leader, and administrator to understanding and appreciate what is going on in school law. The updates are beneficial, the presentations are practical, and the candid conversations help me throughout the school year. If you are discerning summer professional development, I strongly encourage you to attend the Law Symposium."

    Michael Bratcher, Ed.D.
    Principal, Sacred Heart Model School
    Louisville, Kentucky


    January 2018

    "I mark my calendar every year with the symposium dates.  It provides a wonderful opportunity to stay abreast of the ever-changing rules and regulations that impact education on a daily basis.  The variety of topics offers something for everyone and the presentations are rich and engaging."

    Dr. Debbie Hall
    Chairperson, Social Studies Department
    Presentation Academy, Louisville, Kentucky


    January 2018

    "The School Law Symposium provides information on legal issues affecting schools and dioceses across many different areas.  Each year is new and addresses current challenges.  This should be a 'must attend' on everyone in Catholic administration’s list."

    Sandra Leatherwood
    Superintendent of Catholic Schools
    Diocese of Charleston, South Carolina 


    January 2018

    "The annual Education Law Symposium is an opportunity to bring together educators in dialogue regarding the current societal challenges faced by our Catholic schools in working with our educators, students and parents. With the diversity of issues that can overwhelm, this conference provides a framework of understanding of legal issues through outstanding presenters and deep conversation.  It keeps diocesan and school personnel strong in serving our students in the best legal context possible and should be a priority focus for attendance by dioceses and schools each year."

    Sally Todd
    Interim Superintendent 
    Diocese of Orange, California 


    September 2017

    "I was fortunate to be a part of the Education Law Symposium at its inception in 2003 and have been a presenter and a participant 14 out of the last 15 years. My professional roles have evolved from teacher to principal to higher education, but the Education Law Symposium has remained an integral part of my continued professional development. I am always eager to encourage others to attend and each year look forward to expanding my collegial network of those committed to the ministry of education."

    Sarah Wannemuehler, Ed.D.
    Associate Professor
    Director of Early Field Experience
    University of Southern Indiana


Submit your Education Law Symposium registration and credit card payment via the online registration form. If paying by check, please email CatholicEdLaw@lmu.edu to request a mail-in registration form.

Registration Fees

  • $595 by June 14
  • $650 after June 14

Price includes all symposium attendees' lunches, receptions and Saturday evening award dinner. A full hot buffet breakfast is included in the room rate for those staying at The Brown Hotel. Space is limited to 150. Cancellations received by June 14 will be charged a $100 fee. No refunds after June 14.