April 6, 2018

NCEA honors Elcesser for work in promoting school choice

By John Shaughnessy

John ElcesserJohn Elcesser greeted the news of his national award with humor and humility.

“I thought I got the e-mail by mistake,” Elcesser said about the honor from the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA). “It came out of the blue.”

Citing his “outstanding leadership” in promoting school choice opportunities for children in Indiana, the NCEA has honored him with one of its prestigious President’s Awards.

Elcesser, the executive director of the Indiana Non-Public Education Association (INPEA), received the Leonard F. DeFiore Parental Choice Advocate Award on April 2 during the NCEA’s national convention in Cincinnati.

“This award honors a person or organization that has demonstrated outstanding leadership in promoting full and fair parental choice in education,” noted a NCEA press release. “The right to choose the schools they believe best serve their children is a rallying cry for parents of modest means who, he argues, have a legitimate claim to public support.

“In Indiana, John was a leader in the coalition that successfully passed tax-credit scholarship and voucher legislation.”

In accepting the award, Elcesser said he did so “on behalf of all the people in Indiana who worked hard to make school choice happen.”

“The success of school choice isn’t just because of one individual or a small group of people,” said Elcesser, a member of St. Simon the Apostle Parish in Indianapolis. “It’s a movement. A lot of people in Indiana have been involved in the success of school choice.

“The people who had to work hard are the superintendents, the principals and the teachers who embraced all of these new students and brought them into our schools. They’re the real unsung heroes in Indiana.”

In his 10th year as executive director of INPEA, Elcesser leads the organization that represents more than 400 non-public schools in Indiana, 96,000 students and 7,700 teachers. The organization exists to serve the interests of non-public schools in Indiana, including faith-based and independent schools.

Elcesser said he’s proud to represent the schools and the families who choose them. He’s also pleased to be part of the school choice effort that makes these schools financially available for many families.

“I’ve just been blessed to be a small part of this movement. It’s enabled families and kids to choose the best fit for them, no matter where they live or what their financial ability is.” †

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