Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


School of Education




Catholic Educational Leadership EdD

First Advisor

Jane Bleasdale

Second Advisor

Mike Duffy

Third Advisor

Ursula Aldana


Catholic schools are integral to the Catholic Church’s mission of evangelization. A Catholic educational institution is a place to encounter the living God who is Jesus Christ. Education is the concern and task of the Church, called to serve humankind from the heart of God. This study examined the perceptions of teachers working in Roman Union, Ursuline secondary schools of the Central Province of the United States regarding the extent to which the nine defining characteristics of Catholic identity were present in their respective schools and classrooms. For this research, Catholic identity was operationally defined using the seminal Catholic education document, National Standards and Benchmarks for Effective Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools (Ozar et al., 2012). Based upon the precipitous decrease of men and women in religious congregations across the US, no longer could the sisters, priests, or brothers provide the “Catholic” element of distinctiveness in schools; now the torch of Catholic identity needs to be borne by lay teachers. This study utilized quantitative research. The survey, Defining Characteristics of Catholic Schools, measured teachers’ perceptions of Catholic identity in their schools and their classrooms sited in Roman Union, Ursuline-governed secondary schools of the Central Province in the United States. Based on survey questions and statistically cumulative data, the teachers’ (N= 139) respondents (n=49) yielded a 35% response rate. Accordingly, the data revealed that the teachers of the Roman Union Ursuline secondary schools of the Central Province of the United States “agree” that the defining characteristics of Catholic identity were operative in their schools and classrooms. Additionally, the survey data identified means and statistical variance in two categories: (a) the role and authority of the Bishop in teachers’ classrooms; (b) teachers’ professional education on the educational mission of the Catholic Church. As illustrated by this study, teachers in Ursuline schools support, observe, and protect the Catholic identity of their respective schools. The data showed Ursuline secondary school teachers embrace and proclaim the Gospel in their classrooms.