Christo Rey Network Announces New President

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The Cristo Rey Network announced today that Mr. Robert Birdsell will become the organization's next President. Rev. John P. Foley, S.J., who held the position of Network President from January 2005 until the end of last month, will become the Chairman of the Board of Directors. The Cristo Rey Network helps establish new Cristo Rey high schools, oversees a training program for school leaders, ensures that schools are adhering to Cristo Rey's Mission Effectiveness Standards, and fosters the sharing of best practices among the member schools.

The Cristo Rey Network announced today that Mr. Robert Birdsell will become the organization's next President. Rev. John P. Foley, S.J., who held the position of Network President from January 2005 until the end of last month, will become the Chairman of the Board of Directors.

The Cristo Rey Network helps establish new Cristo Rey high schools, oversees a training program for school leaders, ensures that schools are adhering to Cristo Rey's Mission Effectiveness Standards, and fosters the sharing of best practices among the member schools.

"We're delighted to have Rob on board," said B.J. Cassin, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Cristo Rey Network Board of Directors. "Fr. Foley has been an inspirational leader of the Cristo Rey movement since the first school was launched in 1996, and he will continue in his role as chief representative of the Cristo Rey movement to supporters and stakeholders. Rob brings experience in education and business and a passion for the Cristo Rey mission to this new position."

Mr. Birdsell will be in charge of the day-to-day operations of the Cristo Rey Network central office, including oversight of all programs, conferences and trainings for the 19 member schools.

"When I met with Rob, it was clear that he has been called to the mission of providing Catholic education to young people with limited resources," said Father Foley. "We are thrilled that he joined our team. We know he'll do a great job of ensuring that the Network provides the best services and training possible to our members. He has tremendous leadership skills and is very committed to our work."

Prior to joining the Cristo Rey Network, Mr. Birdsell was a Managing Vice President with Eduventures, an industry leader in educational research and consulting. Before Eduventures, Mr. Birdsell was a Managing Director at Clark Consulting, a human capital consulting firm. Mr. Birdsell also taught English Literature for seven years at Marquette University High School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and at Loyola High School in Los Angeles.

Mr. Birdsell has been involved in the Cristo Rey movement for many years. He worked on the feasibility study to start Chicago's second Cristo Rey High School, has been a member of the Leadership Advisory Council at the original Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Chicago, and was involved with the start of Cleveland's Cristo Rey high school, St. Martin de Porres.

"I feel fortunate to have this opportunity to lead the Cristo Rey Network," said Birdsell. "We have the potential to make a tremendous difference in education in the United States. The Cristo Rey model is the most exciting innovation there is in high school education. Every one of our students is an inspiration. By working, they're gaining tremendous insights that will serve them for the rest of their lives. Our job at the Cristo Rey Network is to provide the schools the support they need to help their students reach their full potential."

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Jeff Thielman