We are Catholic Education Partners.

We advocate for school choice and access to Catholic education.


Shawn Peterson


Shawn M. Peterson is President of Catholic Education Partners, a national Catholic nonprofit whose mission is to serve the Catholic community by advancing policy that empowers families and children to enjoy the benefits of a Catholic education. Before joining the staff at Catholic Education Partners, Shawn served as Associate Director for Public Policy with the Minnesota Catholic Conference. Prior to that he spent two decades working on numerous legislative and policy issues, including parental choice in education. During that time he was president of his own government relations firm and worked in state government serving in the administrations of two governors, and as senior staff in the Minnesota state legislature.

Shawn is a consultant to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Education, a member of board of directors for the Institute of Catholic Liberal Education, and is an advisory board member of the Institute for the Transformation of Catholic Education at the Catholic University of America. Shawn is also a Third Degree Member of the Knights of Columbus. In addition, he is an American Enterprise Institute Leadership Network member, on the board of the St. Croix Preparatory Academy Foundation, and serves on the board of St. Croix Preparatory Academy Foundation. He previously served two terms on the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Federal Assistance Advisory Commission.

Shawn holds a degree from Hamline University in International Relations and Russian Area Studies, and is a graduate of the Archbishop Harry J. Flynn Catechetical Institute. He has a wife and three children, resides in Lake Elmo, Minnesota and is a member of Transfiguration Catholic Church.

Julia R. Wojtkun

Communications Intern

Julia R. Wojtkun is the Communications Intern at Catholic Education Partners. She graduated from of Seton Home Study in 2020.  Julia is now a rising senior at Christendom College in Front Royal, VA majoring in English.  She serves as the president of the Inkspots and Inkwells Creative Writing Club, and is the publishing editor of their annual Anthology.  Julia also participates in the Shield of Roses at Christendom praying for the safety of the unborn.  She is a member of St. Francis de Sales Parish in Purcellville, Virginia.  

Board of Directors

Have questions? Let’s chat

Speak with a CEP representative to learn more about us and to get involved in the effort to expand parental choice in education and the Catholic mission.

Archbishop George Joseph Lucas of Omaha

Vice-Chairman of the Board

His Holiness Benedict XVI appointed Most Reverend George Lucas as the fifth Archbishop of Omaha, Nebraska.  He was installed at St. Cecilia Cathedral on July 22, 2009.  Before his installation in Omaha, Archbishop Lucas served for ten years as Bishop of Springfield, Illinois, where he was ordained Bishop in December 1999.  Prior to his ordination as Bishop, he served as chancellor and vicar general of the Archdiocese of St. Louis and rector of Kenrick-Glennon Seminary. Archbishop Lucas has served on various committees of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and most recently served as Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Catholic Education.  He currently serves on the board of directors of Catholic Relief Services, on the board of trustees of Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in Saint Louis, and on the board of regents for Conception Seminary College in Conception, MO.

Mary Pat Donoghue

Secretary, Ex Officio

Mary Pat Donoghue serves as Executive Director of the Secretariat of Catholic Education for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). Previously she served as Principal of St. Jerome Academy in Hyattsville,Maryland, where she led the effort to move the parish school from near failure to a now-thriving and growing institution. Before then, she served as a Vice Principal and as a teacher in the classroom; since then, she has consulted nationwide with superintendents,pastors, and principals, sharing her experience in teacher formation and supervision, curriculum implementation, and financial stability, in conjunction with the Institute for Catholic Liberal Education. Mary Pat holds a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from the University ofMaryland, and a Master’s in Education Administration from Trinity University,Washington, D.C. A native of the Washington,DC area, she currently resides in Silver Spring, MD. In addition to serving on the board of Catholic Education Partners, Mary Pat also serves on the board of the Institute for Catholic Liberal Education.

John Schoenig

Member of the Board
John Schoenig is the Senior Director of Teacher Formation and Education Policy for the University of Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE). In this role, he leads the ACE Teaching Fellows Program – the largest provider of Catholic school teaching talent in the United States – and its Program for Educational Access (PEA), an advocacy and leadership formation enterprise that helps develop and implement policy that expands financial access to faith-based schools. In addition, he serves as a faculty member and Fellow of Notre Dame’s Institute for Educational Initiatives (IEI). He previously served as a Middle School English teacher at Holy Rosary School in Louisiana through ACE Teaching Fellows. He later served on the pastoral and administrative team for ACE and as the Director of Development for the Alliance for School Choice. He earned his BA and M. Ed from the University of Notre Dame and his JD from the Notre Dame Law School.

Michael Ortner

Member of the Board
Michael Ortner is the Chairman of Cana Academy, a nonprofit that helps humanities teachers more effectively teach their students to read the Great Books, write about them in analytical essays, and discuss them in Socratic seminars. Mr. Ortner was the cofounder and CEO of Capterra, an award winning technology company sold to Gartner in 2015. He currently advises startups and engages in philanthropy for schools. He has a business degree from Georgetown University and a philosophy degree from the University of London. Originally from Malvern, PA, he lives in McLean, VA with his wife and six children. He sits on several boards including the St. Jerome Institute and the Religious Freedom Institute where he serves as board chair.

Bishop Thomas A. Daly

Member of the Board

His Holiness Pope Francis appointed Most Reverend Thomas A. Daly as the seventh Bishop of Spokane, Washington. Bishop Daly was installed on May 20, 2015 in the Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes in Spokane. Before coming to Spokane, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI named him Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of San Jose, California on March 16, 2011. He was ordained on May 25, 2011. Bishop Daly was Interim Rector of St. Patrick’s Seminary 2013-2014, and Pastor of St. Nicholas (with K-8) and St. William, Los Altos, 2014-2015. Bishop Daly is currently on the USCCB Committee on Catholic Education, and will become chairman of the committee after the November 2021 session. He is also on the Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis; the Subcommittee on Catholic Home Missions of the Committee for National Collections; and the Subcommittee on Native American Affairs of the Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church. Bishop Daly is a consultant to the Committee on Religious Liberty. Bishop Daly had previously been on the Committee for Clergy, Consecrated Life & Vocations 2013-2019.

Contact us

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P.O. Box 2065
Stillwater, MN 55082


Shawn Peterson
[email protected]