Executive Leadership Academy

The ten-month Executive Leadership Academy (ELA) focuses on executive leadership skill development. It provides Catholic school leaders with the necessary tools to operationalize the essential business practices for leading effective Catholic schools.

At a Glance

10 Month Program

In-Person Retreats & Monthly Cohort Sessions

Earn a Micro-Credential


Executive management is a critical domain of Catholic school leadership that entails a variety of business skills most educational leaders are not prepared for. The Executive Leadership Academy accompanies leaders interested in refining these business skills to better serve their Catholic school. It provides leaders with the essentials on how to:

  • Drive strategic planning and effectively implement the plan to achieve mission-aligned priorities.
  • Effectively manage one's board, including coaching on best practices and providing support on how to leverage the talents of key stakeholders.
  • Affirm and advance the Catholic school’s mission and deliver on its unique value proposition.
  • Examine practices for financial sustainability, while strengthening an understanding of budgeting and financial planning.
  • Understand the advancement imperative, expanding the school’s base of support through development.


Leaders who successfully complete the executive leadership academy receive a micro-credential from the Roche Center for Catholic Education.
This competency-based recognition is given to leaders who fulfill required elements within a 10-month time span
and engage meaningfully in coaching sessions.

ELA Information



Participants include current and aspiring PreK-12 Catholic school leaders with advisory, specified jurisdiction, or independent boards.

Throughout the program, participants will have opportunities to invite and include members of their board and/or school leadership team to attend sessions. This helps to build executive leadership teams, distributing knowledge and understanding of key concepts and practices.

Wondering if ELA is right for you? Interested in nominating a school leader? Email Chris Martin, Associate Program Director, at christopher.martin@bc.edu.

2024-2025 Dates

Participation in the ELA includes:
  • Two-Day In-Person Session at Boston College, July 31 - August 1, 2024
  • Virtual Monthly Cohort Sessions and Coaching from September 2024 - May 2025
  • Mid-Year In-Person Retreat, January 2-4, 2025


Cost is $2,500 per participant. Enrolled participants may apply for $500 program stipends.


Ready to apply? Complete and submit the application form.

Nominations and applications are considered on a rolling basis. Application review begins April 15, 2024.

Interested in creating an arch/diocesan or regional cohort? Contact us. We will be happy to support your efforts.


Contact Associate Program Director, Chris Martin, at christopher.martin@bc.edu.

ELA Facilitators

Dan Ferris
Dan Ferris
Program Director of the Executive Leadership Academy
Dan Ferris

Dan Ferris

Program Director of the Executive Leadership Academy

Dan comes to the Roche Center from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) where he served as Director of Accreditation and School Improvement for the Commission on Independent Schools. Before his time with NEASC, Dan was the superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Providence and an assistant superintendent for the Diocese of Arlington. Although, arguably, his best years were in the classroom as a humanities teacher, he has dedicated most of his career to championing Catholic school mission viability, leadership development, and institutional sustainability as a school-based and diocesan leader. Dan has master’s degrees from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and The Catholic University of America, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame.

Christopher Martin
Christopher Martin
Associate Program Director of the Executive Leadership Academy
Christopher Martin

Christopher Martin

Associate Program Director of the Executive Leadership Academy

Chris returns to Boston College, where he previously spent six years working in Career Services and University Advancement. Prior to joining the Roche Center, Chris worked at the Healey Education Foundation implementing new Catholic school governance structures in the Archdiocese of Boston and leading comprehensive assessments of Catholic elementary schools around the country. Through Healey, Chris successfully coached more than 80 school and board leaders on governance and board management best practices, while helping develop strong operating principles aligned with church teaching and on the ground needs of schools. Chris has nearly 15 years of direct service work with Catholic schools, including 4 years as a senior administrator leading fundraising efforts and alumni engagement at a Catholic high school and 3 years serving as vice chair of the board for a Catholic high school in Boston. Chris earned his MA in Education Administration, his MA in Pastoral Ministry and his BA in Human Development and Philosophy, all from Boston College.

Executive Leadership Academy - Cohort 1

Executive Learning to Strengthen Catholic Schools:

Examining Key Leadership Concepts to Strengthen the Operational Vitality of your Catholic School

In addition to learning executive leadership content and refining one's skills, this academy includes personalized executive coaching. These focused conversations strengthen leaders' capacity to lead their Catholic school and provide them with practical training to become better stewards of their calling.