When you see our students greeting each other with giant hugs, opening doors for adults and resolving conflicts with words of compassion, you’ll agree that Catholic schools work.

Catholic Schools are caring. Catholic Schools are community. Catholic Schools are known for academic excellence and celebrated for instilling core values that children carry with themselves all their lives, Catholic Schools are the moral pillar of the towns in which they stand.

At The Catholic Schools Center of Excellence, our job is simple – make sure that pillar remains standing. To do this, the Catholic Schools Center of Excellence, a nonprofit organization, has developed a two-part mission: to help Catholic elementary schools achieve and maintain excellence while increasing student enrollment.

Our approach is to share innovative ideas, sound business practices, proven strategies and financial resources to help meet each school’s specific business, academic and spiritual goals. We believe that this approach will help our schools become self-sustaining for years into the future and most importantly Catholic Schools will help our children become leaders, who will make the world a better place!

Please join us in continuing the tradition & expanding the reach of

Catholic-school excellence.


As a Catholic school parent, I know firsthand how valuable Catholic schools are to our entire community. Society benefits from students who are critical thinkers with a foundation in moral and spiritual values. Catholic schools create responsible and compassionate citizens — something we need now more than ever. I believe these schools play a vital role in our society.

I have learned that I am not alone. Every day I meet people who share my passion for keeping our schools strong and accessible for generations to come. We want our grandchildren to have the same opportunities to be a part of a strong and thriving Catholic school system. To make this happen, we need your help. Contact us to find out how you can help


President and Board Member
Catholic Schools Center of Excellence


The Catholic Schools Center of Excellence has teamed with several dedicated founding members, including:

  • Aim Higher Foundation
  • Catholic Community Foundation
  • Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation

We value the power of partnerships. If you or your organization want to join us in supporting and growing Catholic schools in this community, please contact us.

Board Members

  • Bishop Andrew Cozzens
    Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul & Minneapolis

    We want to help schools strengthen their Catholic mission of formation of the whole student.

  • Gail Dorn
    President, Catholic Schools Center of Excellence

    We want to help all schools achieve excellence while bringing renewed hope and energy to our schools.

  • Steve Hoeppner
    Vice President, Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation

    We want to help all of our schools so more families can experience a Catholic-school education.

  • Fr. Kevin Finnegan
    Pastor at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church

    We want to build upon the legacy of Catholic schools so that they can help students grow a deep sense of faith for generations to come.

  • Kathy Schneeman
    Catholic Author and Community Volunteer

    We want to nourish future leaders who are respectful and crave knowing, loving and serving God.

  • Brian Wenger
    Former Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer of Optum, Inc.

    We want to prepare students with a world-class education so that they thrive in their life’s work.

  • Lisa Anderson
    Community Volunteer

    We want to bring the high caliber education that is a Catholic education to more children.


  • Robert Behr

    / Finance Guru

    CSCOE’s chief bean counter, grant writer, office designer and furniture procurer is a proud graduate of St. Peter’s Catholic grade school in Richfield (now part of Blessed Trinity)...

  • Helen Dahlman

    / Revered School Advisor

    Helen has spent more than 48 years in Catholic schools either as a student, teacher, coach or administrator, beginning her career as a teacher at Benilde-St...

  • Gail Dorn

    / President

    Gail Dorn is the youngest of 12 children, and her 6 brothers and 5 sisters think highly of her, or at least they say so in public. Her first job, at 12 years old, was working off tuition at her local Catholic grade school...

  • Annemarie Vega

    / Enrollment Director

    Annemarie Vega truly believes that Catholic education transforms lives! She learned this early whether it was through her service trips with Totino-Grace High School or starring as Mother Abbess...

  • Maricruz Hernandez

    / Latino Enrollment Coordinator

    Maricruz is originally from Mexico, and has been a member of the Minnesota Latino community for over 23 years. She and her husband have two boys, ages 11 and 9. They love swimming, walking and watching cartoon! They live in St. Paul’s West side...

  • Loanne Lindfors

    / Executive Assistant/Office Manager

    Loanne comes from long history of administrative assistant positions (a.k.a. everyone’s favorite person in the office), including 9 years in merchandising at Dayton’s Department Store and 24 years at Target...

  • Ryan Semans

    / Instructional Technology and Implementation Expert

    As a proud CSCOE partner, Ryan's main role, as the Director of Instructional Technology and Implementation, is to further support and evangelize CSCOE's mission of increasing excellence and enrollment...

  • Megan Plum

    / Event Planner

    Megan is our part-time Event Manager here at CSCOE. She feels so blessed to have what she considers her “Dream Job.” Megan graduated from the University of St. Thomas in 2000 with a Marketing degree and went on to work for Target...

  • Dr. Nes Rotstein

    / Strategy Guru

    Dr. Nes Rotstein is Chief Strategy Officer at CSCOE where he has been responsible for developing our strategic vision and business plan since 2015. He is also President of the Chesterton Foundation in Edina and Chairman of the Open Window Theatre in Minneapolis...

  • Mike Halloran

    / Vice President of Development and Operations

    As a product of Catholic education and a proud Catholic school parent, Mike is committed to Catholic education and is grateful for the opportunity to make an impact as Vice President of Development and Operations for CSCOE...

  • Melissa Hamilton

    / Communications Manager

    Melissa graduated from the University of St. Thomas with a degree in Catholic Studies and Philosophy. She studied a semester in Rome, Italy, and developed a deep love of Italian pasta She was the editor of the Catholic Studies department newsletter, managed the St. Paul Seminary magazine and freelanced for newspapers...

  • Jessica Trygstad

    / Enrollment Manager

    Jessica Trygstad first jumped on the CSCOE train in 2015 as the project manager of its magazine, and fell in love with CSCOE’s mission and work...