The Academy of Catholic Educators (ACES) supports academic excellence for all students through quality, research-based instructional coaching for teachers and administrators. Coaching transforms how teachers learn which leads to better teaching, helps with teacher retention, and creates a positive work environment.

Instructional coaching is one-to-one or one to small group, “tell-me-what-you-need,” personalized learning that impacts instruction. Coaching promotes a culture of collaboration where trust is built through a sense of community. Coaches support teachers with planning, instruction, assessment and community building.

The ACES Instructional Coaching Program is:

  • Non-evaluative
  • Personalized
  • Promotes active learning
  • Offers sustained support
  • Maintains content flexibility

Professional Learning

When working with teachers the ACES coaches focus on students, teaching practices, accountability, teacher choice, expertise, and respecting professionalism. To make learning visible, coaches work with teachers to diagnose, implement interventions and evaluate the impact.

Coaching Areas

  • All Content Disciplines
  • Universal Design for Learning (UDL)
  • Differentiated Instruction
  • STEM
  • Research-Based Instructional Strategies
  • Integration of Technology
  • Using Data to Make Instructional Decisions
Testimonials from Partner Schools

"The ACES Program continues to be the “academic fuel” that powers our teacher’s vehicles for success in educating the hearts and the minds of our students at St. Mary’s School in Landover Hills. Providing innumerable techniques and strategies to enhance and engage our educators with teaching and learning pathways for our students is what the ACES Program seeks to achieve for all. It serves as the lifeline that pumps the necessary resources we need to keep our curriculum robust."

LaSandra M. Hayes, Principal
St. Mary's School in Landover Mills, MD


"Teacher development is vital to the success of our students. Education is undergoing major changes and teachers feel overwhelmed. Our school's partnership with Notre Dame gives me the help that I need to grow as an effective teacher." 

Kelly Lessis, 8th grade teacher
Our Lady of Hope/St. Luke School


"The challenges of today's classroom can be daunting. ACES provides our teachers with instruction, ideas and the confidence to be successful in this age of digital literacy, instructional shifts and increased rigor. Our teachers, thanks to ACES, are now delivering instruction that is targeted to standards and engaging for the students."

Deborah Thomas, Principal
St. Louis School, Clarksville, MD


"Our partnership with Notre Dame of Maryland University has provided our teachers with the opportunity to engage in professional development once a month focusing on strategies to engage the 21st century learner."

Christine Blake, Principal
St. John the Evangelist School

ACES Program Leadership Team

Sharon Slear, SSND, Ph.D.

Sr. Sharon is the founding Dean of Notre Dame's School of Education and is an acknowledged expert in teacher education. She was the recipient of the National Catholic Education Association award for promoting educational diversity and has been inducted into The Daily Record's Circle of Excellence as one of Maryland's Top 100 Women.

Gail Donahue, Ph.D.

Dr. Donahue is the Director of the Academy of Catholic Educators. She is a former classroom teacher, reading specialist, assistant principal, principal, and college instructor. Dedicated to Catholic school education, Gail's focus has been on designing high performing schools using effective instruction and technology while maintaining Catholic identity and the charism of founding orders.

Maggie Hubbard Ed.D.

Dr. Maggie Hubbard is Assistant Director of Special Education for the Academy of Catholic Educators (ACES). For many years, Maggie served at St. Mary of the Mills School beginning as a first-grade teacher and eventually, becoming assistant principal. Her most recent position was Director of Special Education for the Archdiocese of Washington where she where she was instrumental in the movement for inclusion of students with special needs in Catholic schools. Maggie has a Ed.D. in curriculum and instruction with a particular focus on Universal Design for Learning and Inclusion in Catholic Schools. Maggie also works as a consultant with Dr. Carol Ann Tomlinson and ASCD community helping to shape the design of differentiated instruction.

NDMU School of Education: A Leader in Teacher Training

Notre Dame has a long and proud history of mutually beneficial partnerships with Catholic private and public schools, providing outstanding professional development that offers teachers relevant and practical applications in and outside the classroom.

Explore Graduate Programs

Contact Us

Gail Donahue, Ph.D.
Director of ACES
gdonahue@ndm.edu

Maggie Hubbard, Ed.D.
Assistant Director, ACES
mhubbard@ndm.edu