FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Lansing, Mich.) — Prior to the commencement of its 2015 Education Conference at Cobo Center in Detroit this week, the Michigan Association of Non-Public Schools (MANS) presented Michigan Catholic Conference President and CEO Paul A. Long with the 2015 Ivan E. Zylstra Award. The Award recognizes an individual who is committed to non-public education, has contributed significantly to the work of MANS, and has demonstrated a willingness to promote the rights of non-public school students.
“It is a great honor and a privilege but also extremely humbling to be given an award that was named after and has been given to so many giants in the faith based education community,” said Long. “I am deeply grateful for the leadership of MANS and the sterling direction it provides for the over 100,000 students enrolled in MANS member schools across the state. We know significant work remains to end discriminatory practices in education so that full and equitable school choice is available to all Michigan parents and families.”
The Ivan E. Zylstra Award, given by the Michigan Association of Non-Public Schools, is named in honor of the former President Emeritus of the MANS Board of Trustees. Mr. Zylstra served as the organization’s first president. He held the position of Director of Government Relations for Christian Schools International, and served as a member of the President’s Panel on Non-public education (1970-1972) that studied the place and contributions of non-public schools in the United States.
Paul A. Long has been a leading advocate for faith-based education for over a quarter of a century. In November 2010, he was appointed President and CEO of the Michigan Catholic Conference, which is the official public policy voice for the Catholic bishops in Michigan. From the beginning of his service with MCC in 1988, Long has worked to advance the cause of faith-based schools. In 1996 he sought to protect Michigan’s school code from including discriminatory language against non-public schools. He has endeavored to advance shared time opportunities for schools, dual enrollment opportunities for students, and for general fairness for teachers and students regardless of the building in which they teach or learn. In 2000 Long served on the leadership team of the Kids First Yes! voucher ballot campaign. Since 1997 he has served on the MANS Board of Trustees. He also served on the Parish Education Council of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish School in East Lansing from 2006-2014, serving on the Executive Committee for six of his eight years and as council chairman from 2011-2013.
The Michigan Association of Non-public Schools was founded in 1972 as an association of Catholic schools of the seven dioceses of Michigan, the Michigan District of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod and District Two of Christian Schools International. MANS is a statewide association that accredits non- public schools in the state and advocates for legislative issues regarding non-public schools. Its membership includes some 400 schools that educate approximately 110,000 students annually.￼
Past Ivan E. Zylstra Award Recipients
- 1982 — Monsignor Olin J. Murdick
- 1985 — Dr. Philip Elve
- 1988 — Dr. Melvin Kleschnick
- 1991 — Monsignor John B. Zwers
- 1994 — Dr. Donald L. Kell
- 1997 — Ms. Billie Kops Wimmer
- 2000 — Sr. Monica Kostielney, RSM
- 2003 — Mr. Bill Gritter
- 2006 — Dr. Dorita Wotiska, O.P.
- 2006 — Dr. George Locke
- 2009 — Sr. Frances Nadolny, O.P., PhD
- 2009 — Rev. John McCracken
- 2012 — Mr. Glen Walstra
Michigan Catholic Conference is the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in this state.
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