Professional Staff

Patricia Weitzel-O'Neill, Ph.D.

Patricia Weitzel-O'Neill, Ph.D.
Executive Director

Dr. Weitzel-O’Neill is responsible for the work of the Center, focusing on research, professional development, and advocacy, both locally and nationally. In particular, she serves on the leadership team for the Two-Way Immersion Network for Catholic Schools (TWIN-CS), and actively supports the work of the program.

Dr. Weitzel-O’Neill is a co-author with Dr. Hosffman Ospino of the report Catholic Schools in an Increasingly Hispanic Church (2016), based on the first National Survey of Catholic Schools Serving Hispanic Families. Also, she is a co-editor of the National Standards and Benchmarks for Effective Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools (2012) (NSBECS) and with co-editor Dr. Lorraine Ozar, Loyola University Chicago, continues the work focusing on research and new resources. As an advocate, she serves on multiple boards, including the Governing Board for the Journal of Catholic Education and is frequently invited to present at national and local conferences. Prior to Boston College, Dr. Weitzel-O'Neill served as Superintendent of Schools for the Archdiocese of Washington, and served Trinity Washington University as Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. She is a graduate of Wheeling Jesuit University and holds an M.A. and a Ph.D. in Sociology from St. Louis University.


Phone: 617-552-4187


Mary Bridget Burns

Mary Bridget Burns, MAT
Assistant Director, Two-Way Immersion Network for Catholic Schools

Mary Bridget began her work with Two-Way Immersion Network for Catholic Schools and the Roche Center in 2012 and returned as the Assistant Director for TWIN in September of 2017. Prior to returning, Mary Bridget was the inaugural Managing Editor for the Journal of Professional Capital and Community. She has taught undergraduates at Boston College's Lynch School of Education, at Cisco Junior College (Texas), and at the Juhász Gyula Teachers College at the University of Szeged. She has also taught elementary school in Texas, along with classroom time in Florida, Massachusetts, and Ohio. Mary Bridget has published research on the TWIN schools, along with publications on American inclusion models and social studies education. She conducted research on minority education and the training of teachers in Hungary for her Master's thesis through a Fulbright Grantee to Hungary, where she was also an English instructor at the Teachers College. Mary Bridget received her bachelor's degree in English from Northwestern University, her Master's in the Arts of Teaching from Miami University of Ohio, and expects to graduate with her doctorate in the spring of 2018.


Phone: 617-552-8375

Photo of Charlie Cownie

Charles Cownie
Director, Urban Catholic Teacher Corps

Charlie joined the Roche Center for Catholic Education in 2012 as the Director of the Urban Catholic Teacher Corps of Boston College (UCTC). Prior to arriving at Boston College, Charlie was an Associate Director of Campus Ministry at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.  Previously, he was also a member of the Educational Partners in Catholic Schools Program (EPICS) at Seton Hall University, which provided him the opportunity to teach in a Catholic high school in New Jersey while also earning an M.Ed.  Charlie graduated with a B.A. from Santa Clara University and also received a J.D. from Loyola Law School.


Phone: 617-552-0602

Photo of Cristina Hunter

Cristina Hunter, Ph.D.
Research Associate, Urban Catholic Teachers Corp

Cristina Hunter is a Research Associate for the Urban Catholic Corps of Boston College. Prior to that she was the Associate Director of Research Initiatives for the Roche Center for Catholic Education. She earned her doctorate in Applied Developmental & Educational Psychology from Boston College in 2014. Her research has focused on the experiences of Latino migrants in the United States with a specific emphasis on dual language development. Cristina completed a post-doctoral research fellowship on a collaborative study between Boston College and Tufts University examining character development in youth. She earned her Master’s degree from New York University and her Bachelor of Arts from Boston College. 


Phone: 617-552-1286

Photo of Kristin Melley

Kristin Melley
Director, Professional Development

Kristin joined the Roche Center for Catholic Education in the fall of 2011 as an Associate Director focusing on professional development and brings 13 years of education experience, as both a classroom teacher and administrator, to her position. For six years she served as the director of a national center for Catholic schools and students. She is passionate about serving the mission of Catholic schools and empowering Catholic school leaders to excel in the many roles they hold. Kristin holds a B.A. from Wheaton College in Norton, MA and an M.A. in theology from Harvard University.


Phone: 617-552-3567

Photo of Fabiola Aguilera

Fabiola Aguilera
Communications and Events Administrator

Fabiola Aguilera joined the Center in February of 2017. She studied Business Administration at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, and she holds a Master of Labor and Human Resources from the Ohio State University. Fabiola previously worked coordinating events at Office of the President in Wellesley College and at Our Lady of Sorrows Parish in Sharon, Massachusetts.


Phone: 617-552-8794