President and CEO, Cristo Rey Network (CRN)
The Cristo Rey Network (CRN) provides a quality, Catholic college preparatory education to low-income young people living in urban communities with limited educational options. The Network currently comprises 25 high schools serving 7,400 students. Member schools use a rigorous academic model, supported with effective instruction, to prepare students with a broad range of academic abilities for college and life.
Further, CRN schools employ an innovative Corporate Work-Study Program that provides students with real world work experiences. In this highly distinct model, every CRN student works an average of five days a month to fund the majority of his or her education, gain job experience, grow in self-confidence, and realize the relevance of his or her education. Students work in various corporate and business settings including law firms, banks, hospitals, universities, and with other professional organizations whom we are pleased to call our Corporate Partners.
In 1996, in response to the needs and aspirations of a strong working-class community, the first Cristo Rey school was created by Jesuits in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood. Led by renowned Founder Father John P. Foley, SJ, the school struggled financially but got stronger each year as enrollment and corporate partnerships increased. Momentum grew and the school began to receive public acclaim as a “school that works,” both literally and figuratively.
In 2001, people interested in replicating Cristo Rey gathered from around the country and the Cristo Rey Network was launched. In 2001 and 2002, respectively, De La Salle North Catholic in Portland and Verbum Dei in Los Angeles adopted key Cristo Rey pillars: the corporate work-study model and the exclusive service to financially-needy families.
In 2003, with grants from Cassin Educational Initiative Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Cristo Rey Network was formally created as an independent not-for-profit corporation. Father Foley and leaders from the first schools developed the Cristo Rey Network Mission Effectiveness Standards – ten principles to which CRN schools commit in order to achieve the Network’s distinct model and support students to fully develop their God-given talents:
As a member of the Cristo Rey Network, a school:
- Is explicitly Catholic in mission and enjoys Church approval;
- Serves only economically disadvantaged students. The school is open to students of various faiths and cultures;
- Is family-centered and plays an active role in the local community;
- Shall prepare all of its students to enter and graduate from college;
- Requires participation of students in the work-study program, all of whom must be 14 by September 1 st ;
- Integrates the learning present in its work program, classroom and extracurricular experiences for the fullest benefit of its student workers;
- Has an effective administrative and board structure as well as complies with all applicable state and federal laws;
- Is financially sound and at full enrollment the school is primarily dependent on revenue from the work-study program to meet operating expenses. In addition, the school maintains a comprehensive advancement program to ensure financial stability;
- Supports its graduates’ efforts to obtain a college degree; and
- Is an active participant in the collaboration, support, and development of the CRN.
CRISTO REY NETWORK TODAY
The model is working; the CRN empowers thousands of students from underserved lower-income communities to develop their minds and hearts to become lifelong contributors to society. In addition to providing our students with an extraordinary, college preparatory education, the four-year, integrated corporate work-study experience builds confidence, teaches life and work skills, and generates over $40m in income for the Network. With these complementary pillars of our model, we seek to actually transform urban America, and we’re making an impact.
In fact, Cristo Rey Network schools are increasingly recognized for excellence and innovation. Our effort and success has been broadly acknowledged from a wide variety of audiences as well as awards. In 2004 CRN was featured in an inspiring profile on CBS’s 60 Minutes; since then, numerous print and media reports have documented or celebrated CRN including more recent examples from the Wall Street Journal, the World Innovation Summit for Education and Inside Higher Ed. Similarly, in 2011, the Leadership Roundtable honored CRN with its Best Practices Award for Innovation in Catholic Education and, in 2012, CRN was selected from 2,400 nominees nationwide to receive the national award for Educational Advancement at the CLASSYs, the largest philanthropic awards show in the United States and one described by some as the Grammy or Oscar for philanthropy in America.
Recognition of CRN’s distinct value has been financial, too. Earlier in 2012 The Walton Family Foundation announced a $1.6million investment in CRN in hopes of doubling the number of member schools across the United States. In addition to this investment, the Foundation will be providing new Cristo Rey schools with access to start-up grants through proposals submitted to the Network. If the school is awarded a grant, the Cristo Rey Network will also offer the school a sizable five-year loan that can be forgiven if the school meets enrollment, financial sustainability, and intermediate student performance benchmarks. This tremendous support – along with others’ support – has led to a goal of having 50 operating CRN schools by 2022.
Accomplishing this work requires having a team at the center of the Network, one dedicated to supporting Network schools and their leaders by providing common resources at scale so that the school-based teams can focus on their schools. This “Center” team is based in Chicago and housed in offices hosted by the campus of DePaul University (a national university partner). With an operating budget of approximately $3m and 17 professionals, the Network Center team supports the Network schools in achieving their mission by:
- Focusing programs and support in the areas of Teaching, Leading and Learning that ensure that all Cristo Rey students are college-ready by graduation;
- Ensuring that the Corporate Work-Study Program provides valuable services to work-study job sponsors and real world work experience to Cristo Rey students;
- Supporting the development of the schools’ mission and identity as Catholic high schools;
- Continuing to work with new communities to open Cristo Rey schools;
- Convening opportunities for school leaders to share effective practices;
- Building an active, growing network of supporters of Cristo Rey in business, government, the church, philanthropy and education;
- Assisting in the development of financially sustainable institutions which rely primarily on revenue from the corporate work-study program to fund school operations;
- Building partnerships with colleges and universities to share effective practices in attracting, retaining and graduating Cristo Rey students; and
- Collecting, studying and disseminating data and outcomes from Cristo Rey schools.
The President & CEO is the leader of this Center Team and is ultimately responsible for the leadership, vision, execution, and overall management of the Cristo Rey Network. Building on five years of outstanding leadership by the former President and CEO, the CRN seeks a seasoned leader who can build upon this strong track record and lead the Network into and through its next stage of evolution. With this in mind, specific priorities and responsibilities for the next President & CEO will include:
Outreach and Resource Development
- Work closely with the Board of Directors and all stakeholders to develop a set of financial and philanthropic strategies and practices to generate at least $2.5-$3m annual operating revenue required by the Center Office for its own long-term financial sustainability as well as for its continued effectiveness in supporting Network schools;
- Powerfully and persuasively articulate the mission of CRN to various stakeholder groups including business, civic and political leaders across the country;
- Manage a rich set of relationships with supporters of the Network, Catholic and secular, including relationships with sponsoring religious orders, corporate sponsors and other educational providers;
- Engage all stakeholders in the cultivation of financial and other forms of support, from donations to corporate work-study internships to college partnership agreements, in order to sustain CRN’s unique value proposition;
- Lead execution of major public relations and marketing initiatives to broaden awareness of the Cristo Rey Network; and
- Build upon Cristo Rey Network’s strong national reputation to increase awareness with a range of supporters and stakeholders, especially among those in education reform.
Oversight and Nurturing of the Network
- Work closely with school Presidents, Boards, and their leadership teams to ensure effective implementation and accountability to the Cristo Rey Mission Effectiveness Standards by the schools;
- Carefully assess the changing economic and labor market frameworks nationwide in order to help schools develop strategies to ensure financial sustainability;
- Establish, encourage, and maintain open dialogue between the schools and the Center Office, seeking to learn from the schools as well as support them; and
- Work with the Presidents’ Council and other relevant partners, such as religious sponsors, to ensure that the Network and the schools have a high performing and collaborative relationship with one another.
Management of Center Office
- Work closely with the Board of Directors to ensure the Network achieves maximum impact in its mission to serve low -income students through an innovative educational model;
- Oversee the $3m operating budget, staffing, and day-to-day operations of the Center Office, comprising 17 employees (14 full-time and 3 part-time);
- Supervise members of the Cristo Rey Network leadership team; and
- Lead the four core strategies of the Network Center: Teaching and Learning, the Corporate Work-Study Program, New School Growth, and College Success.
In order to execute the responsibilities above, the President & CEO is supported in this role by 4 direct reports – Chief Mission Officer, Chief Academic Officer, Chief Operating Officer, and Senior Director of College Initiatives.
The Chief Mission Officer represents Cristo Rey at national and international speaking engagements, makes site visits to schools for prominent events, leads and facilitates the Network’s faith formation, and assists in the implementation of the Cristo Rey Network School Growth Plan.
The Chief Academic Officer supports Cristo Rey schools in implementing an initiative for teaching and learning that ensures that all Cristo Rey students are college ready by graduation.
The Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel is responsible for ensuring the financial sustainability of Cristo Rey schools through enrollment and the operations of the Corporate Work Study Program. Additionally, this position works with new communities to open new Cristo Rey schools.
The Senior Director of College Initiatives tracks Cristo Rey students to and through college and works with postsecondary institutions across the country to achieve “buy-in” with the mission of Cristo Rey.
The President & CEO reports to a cohesive and well-functioning 17-member governing Board of Directors representing public, private and non-profit sectors. The schools elect the majority of the Board members, and the Board elects the remainders. Board members serve 3-year terms and in general may not serve more than two consecutive terms.
First and foremost, the new CRN leader must be committed to educational reform – particularly for traditionally underserved students – and have passion for the distinct mission, values, academic standards, and Catholic identity of the Cristo Rey Network such that s/he can inspire people around the country to replicate and support this unique educational model.
Additionally, the successful candidate will have:
- Awareness of and commitment to the Catholic traditions of education, service and social justice, the credibility to lead and represent a Catholic organization with integrity, and facility for working well with diverse Catholic church leaders, lay and clerical, around the country.
- Exceptional communication and interpersonal skills including proven ability to engage and inspire a wide range of stakeholders, build creative and mutually beneficial relationships within the philanthropic, corporate, public, and nonprofit sectors, and raise the national profile of the Network;
- Proven fundraising and/or revenue generating success, preferably in the non-profit sector and with national foundations in the educational sector;
- Significant visionary leadership and management experience, with demonstrated success in addressing immediate organizational needs but driving toward longer-term goals with buy-in from all stakeholders;
- The executive presence to inspire organizational and personal confidence, passion, and persistence in an ambitious, fast-paced, and results-oriented period of growth, all while maintaining a positive work environment;
- The maturity and wisdom required to optimize Board members;
- Strategic planning experience and execution capabilities;
- Strong budget management skills;
- Preferably, previous experience in the education sector and/or the sensibilities and perspective necessary to validate his/her leadership of a network of schools;
- Critical thinking and problem solving skills, including evidence of enhancing an organization’s financial strength and sustainability;
- Unquestionable integrity;
- The capacity to travel professionally approximately 40-50% of the time; and
- A Bachelor’s Degree and, preferably, a graduate degree.
The salary for the role is highly competitive. Benefits include medical, dental, vision and prescription health insurance, as well as a matching 403b retirement plan, flexible spending accounts and a generous vacation policy.
The review of applications will begin immediately and will continue until March 4 th 2013 . Applications should consist of a letter of interest and a current resume. Applications or inquiries about the position should be directed to:
Monisha Lozier, Partner
Leslie Nair, Associate Partner
Bellwether Education Partners