"This touched my heart and soul,” said JoAnn Tier, diocesan superintendent of Catholic schools, as she learned the Trenton Diocesan Parent Teacher Association had been awarded a 2020 “Lead, Learn, Proclaim” Award by the National Catholic Educational Association. “The award recognizes the good work we continue to do.”

The NCEA’s “Lead, Learn, Proclaim” awards are presented annually to teachers, administrators and those associated with Catholic school education who exemplify the organization’s three-part mission: to develop current and future Catholic school leaders; to provide educational resources and professional development opportunities to Catholic school educators, and to share the good news stories of Catholic education.

The Trenton Diocesan PTA was chosen as one of 27 winners nationwide. Tier, Paula Pangilinan, PTA president, and two of the organization’s regents will be presented with the award during NCEA’s annual convention, slated for April 14 in Baltimore.

In her NCEA application, Tier explained the Trenton Diocesan PTA supports 29 elementary schools, six high school communities and 12,267 students while serving as “an organization that lives the motto ‘Lead, Learn, Proclaim.’ ... Semi-annual president meetings conducted by the Diocesan PTA Executive Board create the perfect venue for incoming school officers to understand the PTA constitution and bylaws, the internal controls necessary for financial oversight, the best practices that yield success, and the gift of making new acquaintances.”

Tier detailed biannual retreat days for PTA units, which include prayer services, breakout sessions and a review of best practices; weeklong summer programs for teachers to better aid those students with specific learning needs such as dyslexia, and multiple marketing initiatives to share the Good News of Catholic education in print, television and social media.

“The generosity and positive spirit of the Diocesan PTA membership provides the support for Catholic schools to enjoy continued growth as they immerse students in the faith in this environment of change,” Tier concluded the application.

Pangilinan expressed joy at the award notification and explained the mission of the diocesan organization, which draws from the strengths of every school in the four counties of the Diocese.  

“We are there to serve and support the individual schools’ PTAs,” she explained. “Each is unique and has its own personality. They have incredible ideas and energy.”

Communication is the key to the diocesan PTA’s future, she stated.

“There are changing dynamics in the world. We needed to get to 21st century communications and outreach, like with our PTA extranet (a secure, internal website), and keep them clear and consistent,” she said.