The Communities In Schools (CIS) National Board announced today that Dale Erquiaga has been named president and chief executive officer following a nationwide search for the new leader of the nation’s largest dropout prevention organization. Erquiaga joins CIS from the office of Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval, where he most recently served as chief strategy officer.
“Dale Erquiaga is one of the country’s brightest minds in terms of leveraging public policy to strengthen K-12 education and I’m thrilled to welcome him as the next leader of Communities In Schools,” said CIS National Board Chairman Elaine Wynn. “Dale brought together parents, teachers, policymakers and civic leaders to help transform the landscape of public education in Nevada. That is the type of visionary leadership that he will bring to CIS as we seek to improve the academic and life outcomes for our nation’s most disenfranchised students.”
Erquiaga will assume the role of president and CEO of Communities In Schools on Nov. 1 and will lead a network of 161 independent affiliates who work to keep at-risk students in school and on a path to graduation. CIS affiliates operate in more than 2,300 schools and utilize 3,800 trained site coordinators and professional staffers to help meet the non-academic needs of students so they can focus on learning.
Prior to assuming the role of chief strategy officer, Erquiaga served as Nevada’s state superintendent of public instruction. During his tenure, he designed and led advocacy efforts for Governor Sandoval’s sweeping K-12 education reform, including the first revision to Nevada’s school funding formula in nearly 50 years. He consistently championed policies and programs designed to assist English language learners and children in poverty, including integrated student services and expanded initiatives for college and career readiness.
“I am grateful to join Communities In Schools at a time when it is at the strongest point in its 40-year history and positioned for unprecedented growth and impact,” said Erquiaga. “I look forward to partnering with the CIS Board, staff, our network of valuable affiliates, as well as thousands of our volunteers, school partners, institutional funders and individual supporters to ensure that more of our nation’s children stay in school and achieve in life. At a time when federal law has explicitly recognized the importance of Integrated Student Supports, I am committed to working hard to bring those vital supports to every student in need across America.”
The grandson of Spanish Basque immigrants to America, Erquiaga has a long career in public service and marketing communications. He has been active on the board of several civic, humanitarian and arts organizations including the University of Nevada’s Center for Basque Studies and Nevada Humanities. Erquiaga is also a member of the board of WestEd, a nonpartisan, nonprofit research, development and service agency focused on promoting excellence and equity in education, and previously served as chairman of the Western States Arts Federation (WESTAF). He holds a master’s degree in leadership from Grand Canyon University and a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Nevada, Reno.
Erquiaga joins Communities In Schools at a pivotal time in the history of the organization:
To view Dale Erquiaga's bio, click here.
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Working directly in more than 2,300 schools in 25 states and the District of Columbia, Communities In Schools is the nation’s leading dropout prevention organization proven to keep students in school and on the path to graduation. For the 2015-2016 school year, Communities In Schools served nearly 1.5 million students and successfully helped 99 percent of our case-managed students stay in school.