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Communities In Schools Announces Departure of President Dan Cardinali

By Communities In Schools Feb. 23, 2016

Media Contact:

Steve Majors | | 703-835-2125

Anya Alexander | | 703-518-2591

Communities In Schools Announces Departure of President Dan Cardinali

National Board Chair Elaine Wynn Thanks Cardinali for Extraordinary Leadership and Service  

Arlington, Va.  - Feb. 23, 2016 -   Communities In Schools (CIS) National Board Chair Elaine Wynn today announced that Dan Cardinali is stepping down as president and CEO after serving CIS for 17 years, 12 of those as the organization’s leader. Under Cardinali’s leadership, Communities In Schools has grown into the nation’s largest and most effective dropout prevention organization.

Cardinali is assuming the president and CEO job at Independent Sector as of July 5th. He will remain in his leadership post at Communities In Schools until June 3, 2016, and work closely with the CIS National Board to ensure a seamless transition to a new leader who will build on his accomplishments.

The Communities In Schools network of 161 affiliates now serves 1.5 million K-12 students and their families every year by operating in more than 2,300 schools in the most challenged communities of 25 states and the District of Columbia.  

CIS National Board Chair Elaine Wynn praised Cardinali for his extraordinary leadership of the organization and his efforts to improve academic and life outcomes for some of the nation’s most disenfranchised students.    

“Quite simply, Dan is one of the most visionary leaders in the field of education and indeed in the nonprofit sector,” said Wynn. “Thanks to Dan’s steady leadership, the strength of the CIS National Board and the collective efforts of so many others, Communities In Schools is in the strongest position it has ever been. While we are sad to see him depart, we are extremely excited that he’s taking his talents to Independent Sector where he will have a chance to influence the direction of the entire nonprofit field. The Board is looking forward to working with the next leader of CIS who will build on the solid foundation we have carefully laid over the past decade.”

Cardinali expressed his gratitude to the CIS National Board, the national staff, network leaders and 3,800 staffers who collectively work to help disadvantaged students overcome their barriers to learning so they can stay in school and succeed in life.

“I am deeply grateful to the Board, the entire Communities In Schools family, our thousands of volunteers, school partners, institutional funders and individual supporters who have partnered with me to make CIS the acknowledged leader of a broad-based movement that is poised to transform public education in our country,” said Cardinali. “Because of that deep and enduring commitment to our mission, I will leave Communities In Schools knowing that it’s positioned for unprecedented growth and impact in the future.”

Cardinali joined CIS in 1999 as vice president for Field Operations.  In 2001, he became executive vice president for Network Operations.  In 2004, he was named president, succeeding Founder and President Bill Milliken, with whom Cardinali worked throughout his entire tenure.   

During his tenure, Communities In Schools evolved into a leading national nonprofit known for its evidence-based model, its sound fiscal management practices, and its commitment to quality, accountability, transparency and a progressive workplace environment.

A recent impact report cites the organization’s strengths and accomplishments:

  • CIS boasts a 93% graduation rate, 99% rate of school retention and 93% grade promotion rate among its case-managed students.
  • CIS recently completed its thirteenth independent evaluation, providing some of the nation’s most powerful validation and evidence about what works for disadvantaged students.
  • As the result of a seven-year, network-wide change in operations designed to drive quality implementation of the CIS model at scale, CIS achieved a 24% increase in efficiency, 20% student growth and 35% increase in graduation rates of CIS students.
  • CIS successfully advocated for the inclusion of Integrated Student Supports or Wraparound Services in federal legislation (Title I and IV of the Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA). For the first time in federal legislation, ISS now is an integral part of public education.



About Communities In Schools

Communities In Schools (CIS) is the nation’s largest organization dedicated to empowering at-risk students to stay in school and on a path to a brighter future. Working directly inside more than 2,300 schools across the country, we connect kids to caring adults and community resources designed to help them succeed. We do whatever it takes to ensure that all kids—regardless of the challenges they may face—have what they need to realize their potential.