Partnership Schools is thrilled to announce that Christian Dallavis has joined our team as Assistant Superintendent. Christian comes to us from transformational leadership in Notre Dame’s ACE and Remick programs.
A “legend in the world of urban Catholic school reform,” as Superintendent Kathleen Porter-Magee calls him, Christian Dallavis is at his core a master craftsman of the art of education, deeply aware of how the daily practices of teachers and principals either support or undermine the life-changing learning our students deserve. He joins the Partnership having most recently served as director of Notre Dame’s Remick Leadership Program, where he doubled the size of the program. Previously, Dallavis served as the founding director of the Notre Dame ACE Academies, a multi-city network of Catholic elementary schools.
When he discusses Catholic education, one word comes up often: transformation. When asked why he is joining the Partnership, Dallavis points to the Biblical story of the Wedding at Cana. “Jesus changes water into wine,” he explains. “He takes something ordinary, abundant and simple, and he transforms it into something extraordinary. That is what the Partnership aspires to do.”
Dallavis has already had a transformational impact on the Partnership. No fewer than nine current Partnership leaders—principals, deans and academic team members—were either trained as school leaders by him or worked for him at Notre Dame.
His impact on them and his success at the Notre Dame ACE Academies comes from a conviction that what we believe must animate all we do. As he said in an interview in the National Catholic Reporter, “Great leaders ensure that every policy, program and procedure clearly an intentionally reflects the school’s core beliefs. We used to do this naturally in Catholic schools, but in many schools we have lost this.” Indeed, Partnership Schools’ own core values and root beliefs were shaped from the beginning by his work.
John Bacsik, Partnership Director of Professional Development, worked for Dallavis at ACE Academies and says that Christian’s emphasis on school culture is infectious and his knowledge formidable. “He is incredibly well-versed on everything from education policy to diocesan norms,” Bacsik adds. “He knows everything it takes to run a Catholic school well.”
As Assistant Superintendent, Dallavis will add his expertise in school culture, Catholic identity and leadership development to the work of the entire network team. He will also play a key role in our expansion efforts. “Christian leads with zeal, and he instills it in others,” says Porter-Magee. “He has a record of successful innovation with the ACE Academies and with the Remick Leadership Program. As the Partnership deepens and expands its impact, we couldn’t ask for a more visionary, effective Catholic leader to join our efforts.”
An alum of Notre Dame with advanced degrees from the University of Portland and the University of Michigan, Dallavis credits his own Catholic education as a factor in sparking his interest in teaching. “My mom was the secretary at my parish grade school; that’s part of it. Although that didn’t seem so great when I was in middle school.”
He adds, “My great-grandparents were immigrants who put their kids in Catholic schools, who then put their kids in Catholic schools…and my kids are in Catholic schools. Every family who wants a Catholic education for their children should have the same opportunity that my great-grandparents had, and that my kids have. And I want to do everything I can to make every school just as good or better.”