ARLINGTON, Va., March 11, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- De La Salle Christian Brother Robert Bimonte has been named president of the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) effective July 1, 2013. Brother Bimonte will succeed Dr. Karen Ristau who has served in the position since 2005. The announcement was made by The Most Reverend Wilton Gregory, archbishop of Atlanta, who spoke on behalf of the association's executive committee, which made the appointment. "During my three years as chairman, I became very aware of Brother Robert Bimonte's enormous contributions to Catholic education and to NCEA," said Archbishop Gregory. "Brother's appointment as the next president of NCEA is supported by the entire board of directors. I am confident that Brother Robert will continue the dedicated and innovative leadership of our out-going president, Karen Ristau." Archbishop Gregory, who retired as chairman of NCEA's board of directors this month, added, "I extend to Brother Robert my personal blessing and wishes for success as he assumes the leadership of NCEA on July 1." The firm of Hyatt-Fennell was counsel to the NCEA board for the search, according to Archbishop Gregory, who said that 52 applications were submitted and 16 candidates were recommended to the search committee. Bishop Blase Cupich, bishop of Spokane and the new NCEA chairman, noted, "I look forward to working with Brother Bimonte. His vocation and career-long commitment to Catholic education, especially his services to the association as executive vice president and executive director of the Elementary Schools Department, will ensure a successful collaboration during my three years as chairman of NCEA's board of directors and Brother Robert's first term as NCEA president." Dr. Ristau also expressed her gratitude to Brother Bimonte for his service to NCEA for the past 10 years, adding, "It has been an honor to work with Brother Robert. As I look ahead, I am confident that Brother Robert's deep faith, great leadership and educational experience will help strengthen and expand the ministry of Catholic education for future generations."