TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Diocese of Orlando will host the annual National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) Convention and Expo April 7-9, 2015 at the Orange County Convention Center. As the largest event of its kind, the Convention is expected to draw thousands of participants who will be able to choose from hundreds of professional development sessions, meetings, liturgies, and special events. Also during the Convention, several awards will be presented to leaders in Catholic education.
James B. Herzog, Associate Director for Education
This year the Leonard F. DeFiore Parental Choice Advocate Award will be presented to James B. Herzog, Florida Catholic Conference/Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops, associate director for education. This award is bestowed annually to an individual who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in promoting full and fair parental choice in education. The award will be given during the President's Reception and Dinner on Monday, April 6, the evening prior to the start of the Convention.
Herzog makes advocating for parental empowerment in education a top priority. As a representative of the bishops of Florida, he meets regularly with members of the Florida legislative and executive branches to garner support for Florida's three school choice programs – the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program for children of low income families, the McKay Scholarship Program for students with disabilities, and the Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program serving Florida's four-year-olds. Additionally, Herzog is the legislative coordinator for the Florida Association of Academic Nonpublic Schools (FAANS) and a member of the Florida Alliance for Choices in Education (FACE).
As the father of two school aged boys, Herzog understands the advantages of school choice for students and their families. He explains, "School choice is at the forefront of my efforts because I want all students to have the educational opportunities that best fit their needs."
D. Michael McCarron, Former Executive Director
On Tuesday, April 7, D. Michael McCarron, Ph.D., former executive director of the Florida Catholic Conference, will accept the F. Sadlier Dinger Award at a breakfast and awards ceremony hosted by William H. Sadlier, Inc. at the Hyatt Regency Orlando. Instituted in 1980, the award is presented by the publishing company to a person who has contributed significantly to Catholic education.
McCarron began his tenure at the Conference in 1980 as the associate for education, and took the reins as executive director in 1995. Since his retirement in 2013, he has continued to consult with the Conference on public policy issues and assist with special projects.
As executive director, McCarron represented the Catholic bishops of Florida in an official capacity across all areas of concern to the Church. Of significance is his work to strengthen and highlight the value of Catholic education for both students and the common good. "Great servants of God and man have passed through our Catholic schools," said McCarron. "They have long been and continue to be of vital importance to our Church and our nation."
Prior to joining the Conference, McCarron served as director of student activities from 1978-1980 and as a mathematics teacher from 1973-1978 at Miami Killian Senior High School. McCarron was the 2010 recipient of the Leonard DeFiore Parental Choice Advocate Award by the National Catholic Education Association.
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The Florida Catholic Conference is an agency of the Catholic Bishops of Florida. The archbishop and bishops of the seven (arch)dioceses in Florida constitute its board of directors.