National Office Staff
The Cristo Rey Network national office is comprised of 18 subject matter experts, based in Chicago, who create and deliver programming that fuels the quality and vitality of the movement.
- Elizabeth Goettl, President and CEO
- John P. Foley, S.J., Chair Emeritus and Chief Mission Officer
- Leading and Learning
- Corporate Work Study Program
- School Growth
- College Initiatives
- Mission Support and Operations
- Fundraising and Communications
Elizabeth Goettl was named President of Cristo Rey Network in 2017.
Ms. Goettl is a career educator with extensive academic and administrative leadership experience. From 2014-2017, she served as Chief Academic Officer of the LEARN Charter School Network in Chicago. She previously held two critical leadership positions within the Cristo Rey Network. She was the Network's founding Chief Academic Officer, from 2009-2014. In that position, Ms. Goettl elevated the academic rigor across the Network through the design and implementation of the organization's proprietary college-ready curriculum. Working in close collaboration with Cristo Rey school principals, she established the framework for and delivered targeted school support in the areas of curriculum and assessment, teacher effectiveness, and principal leadership to ensure every Cristo Rey student graduates from high school prepared for success in college. Prior to that, she served as President of San Miguel High School (the Cristo Rey school in Tucson) from 2006-2009.
Ms. Goettl earned her bachelor's degree in education from Northern Arizona University and her master's degree in education from the University of Arizona. She is a licensed school principal and superintendent. During her 25 years in the Catalina Foothills School District, Ms. Goettl led two schools to become USDE Blue Ribbon Schools and was named National Distinguished Principal for Arizona.
A Chicago native, Father Foley entered the Society of Jesus in 1954. He earned a BA in Latin from Xavier University in Cincinnati and holds an MA in Sociology and an M.Ed. from Loyola University in Chicago. From 1961 to 1995 he served the Jesuit missions in Peru, working primarily in education. He served as President of two of Peru's Jesuit K-12 schools.
He returned to Chicago in 1995 to collaborate in establishing Cristo Rey Jesuit High School. He was named President of the school in 1996 and served for eight years. During his tenure, he oversaw the effort to establish the school, hiring of all personnel, student recruitment, and the construction of 150,000 square feet of classroom and recreation space. Father Foley raised more than $26 million during this eight-year term and left Cristo Rey Jesuit High School with a $2 million endowment. More importantly, he established the tradition and spirit of a school that has become a national model. In January of 2005, he assumed the presidency of the Cristo Rey Network of which he is presently Chair Emeritus.
For his efforts in pioneering a new model to prepare disadvantaged students for success in college and beyond, Fr. Foley has been profiled in national media outlets as well as the recipient of numerous awards. These include eight Honorary Doctorates, the National Catholic Education Association Seton Award, and the Presidential Citizens Medal from President George W. Bush.
George V. Fornero, Ed.D., Chief Academic Officer
Dr. George V. Fornero joined the Cristo Rey Network in July 2015. As Chief Academic Officer, he directly supports the leadership development of Network principals as well as the strengthening of classroom teaching and learning through regular school visits, ongoing curriculum development, and professional development activities for both teachers and school leaders.
Prior to this role, Dr. Fornero served for nine years as the Superintendent of Schools for Township High School District #113. Prior to District #113, he worked for eight years in the Ann Arbor, Mich. Public Schools, initially as Deputy Superintendent for Instruction and later as Superintendent. Dr. Fornero has served in a variety of positions during his 40 years in education, including as an elementary, middle, and high school principal, summer school director, middle school Dean of Students, and elementary, middle, and high school teacher. He was also an adjunct professor in Educational Administration at Wayne State University, the University of Detroit/Mercy, and National Louis University. He has also worked as a consultant with U.S. Department of Education's "Blue Ribbon Schools" program.
Dr. Fornero earned his doctorate in Educational Administration at Loyola University Chicago, and his master's degree in Educational Administration and bachelor's degree in Elementary and Special Education were earned at Northern Illinois University. He has also completed graduate course work at Harvard University.
Michael Heidkamp, Director of Leadership Development and Support
Michael Heidkamp rejoined the Cristo Rey Network in July 2016 after serving eight years in Chicago Public Schools both as an assistant principal and as a principal. As Director of Leadership Development and Instruction, Michael works to support the leadership development of Network principals and assistant principals as well as the strengthening of classroom teaching and learning through school visits and the design and implementation of professional development for Network administration and faculty.
Michael began his professional career as a history teacher and football/basketball coach at Loyola Academy in Wilmette, IL. After two years of teaching and coaching, Mike spent a year in Tacna, Peru working with Habitat for Humanity and teaching English. After returning to Chicago, Michael joined the founding staff of Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, where he worked for six years. He continued his work with predominantly first generation, college-bound students as Academic Dean at Josephinum Academy where the school, during his tenure, dramatically increased the percentage of students gaining acceptance into four-year institutions. Michael has also worked as an adjunct professor teaching courses in Social and Cultural Studies in Education at DePaul University. Michael earned a B.A. in History and English from Williams College and he earned an M.A. in Social and Cultural Studies from DePaul University.
Dao Kambara, Director of Curriculum and Instruction
Dao Kambara serves as Director of Curriculum and Instruction, where she is responsible for the development, delivery, and continuous refinement of the Cristo Rey Network educational program.
Dao joined the Cristo Rey team in July 2017 as the Associate Director of Corporate Work Study, bringing nearly twenty years of experience in a range of business and educational leadership positions. She most recently served as the Director of Teaching and Learning at a Chicago-based charter network of elementary schools, LEARN Charter School Network. Prior to joining LEARN, she was a school leader of an elementary school in which she had also taught.
After earning a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota in Political Science and Urban Studies, Dao secured a fellowship to attend the University of Illinois at Chicago for a Master’s Degree in Urban Planning and Policy. She earned her teaching certification through Northwestern University’s NU-TEACH program.
Alejandro Leza, Director of Corporate Work Study
Alejandro Leza joined the Cristo Rey Network in May 2018. As Director of Corporate Work Study, Alejandro provides leadership, vision, and strategic direction for our national Corporate Work Study Program.
Most recently, Alejandro served as World Business Chicago's Program Director of the Chicago Anchors for a Strong Economy initiative, providing supplier and workforce development strategy and implementation support to local universities and health systems. Prior to World Business Chicago, Alejandro served as a Market Manager for Schneider Transportation where he led market re-entry efforts in Mexico and managed brokerage services in the Southeast. Previously, he served as a commissioned officer in the United States Navy where he managed operations, maintenance, fleet readiness and compliance activities out of Mayport, Florida.
Alex completed his Master of Urban Planning and Policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago with a concentration in economic development, anchor institutions and urban innovation policy.
James Wilson, Associate Director of Corporate Work Study
James Wilson joined the Cristo Rey Network in May 2018 as the Associate Director of Corporate Work Study (CWSP). In this role, James supports the national office’s work to advance and sustain the quality of the Corporate Work Study Program in all Cristo Rey schools, with a focus on CWSP curriculum development and the integration of students’ corporate and classroom experiences.
From 2004 to 2008, James served as the first CWSP Director for Cristo Rey New York High School, enabling students to earn their college-preparatory education working at some of the most prestigious institutions in that city, where they also found mentors and forged the networks fundamental to their future success.
Following his tenure with Cristo Rey New York, James served as the Director of Faculty Development for Fordham University, where he was charged with fostering and promoting the research and scholarship of faculty from all of Fordham's nine schools and nearly thirty academic disciplines. Most recently, James served as Lead Teacher, Educational Consultant and Administrator for Newport Academy, coordinating the academic and treatment priorities for young people in recovery.
James completed his Dual Juris Doctor and Master of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University.
Brian D. Melton, Senior Vice President for External Relations and General Counsel
Brian Melton joined the Cristo Rey Network in July 2013 as the Director of School Growth. Brian's role has since expanded to include serving as General Counsel of the Network, and in June 2017 he was appointed to the position of Senior Vice President for External Relations. Brian is responsible for oversight of the Network's strategic plan for growth and is involved in major gifts fundraising. Brian also serves as Executive Director of the Cristo Rey Institute, a Public Juridic Person (PJP) of Pontifical Rite, officially Decreed under Canon Law by the Vatican on March 19, 2017. He brings more than thirty years of experience in the legal profession to the position.
Prior to Cristo Rey, Brian was a founding partner of Shackelford, Melton & McKinley, LLP. He served as President of the Dallas Bar Association and Chair of the Dallas Bar Foundation. He has extensive experience in non-profit management and serving as legal counsel to numerous organizations. Brian's background in education includes serving as Chair of the Education Task Force of the Greater Dallas Chamber of Commerce, Chair of the Dallas Bar Association's annual Community Symposium for Justice in Education, and Board Chair of St. Rita's School in Dallas.
Brian earned a B.A. in History from Spring Hill College, his J.D. Degree from S.M.U. Law School, and his Master's Degree in Spirituality from Loyola University Chicago.
Conor Heaton, Director of School Growth
Conor Heaton joined the Cristo Rey Network in July 2017 as the Director of School Growth. In this role, he is responsible for guiding growth strategy, and overseeing pending feasibility studies and schools in Launch Year.
Prior to Cristo Rey, Conor practiced as a trial attorney in Chicago, where he was active in the Chicago Bar Association, Illinois State Bar Association, and Illinois Trial Lawyers Association, and was recognized as a ”40 Under Forty” by the Law Bulletin Publishing Company as one of Illinois’s up-and-coming attorneys in 2015, and received the St. Robert Bellarmine Award in 2016 from Loyola University Chicago School of Law. A trial lawyer and longtime Chicagoland resident, Conor has been involved with Cristo Rey in myriad ways, including consulting work at Cristo Rey St. Martin College Prep. Additionally, in 2014 Conor founded and organized the Howlett Cup, a mock trial tournament between Chicago’s premier Catholic high schools, including Cristo Rey Jesuit High School and Christ the King Jesuit College Preparatory School.
Conor earned a B.A. in English from DePaul University, a Masters of Liberal Arts from St. John’s College (Annapolis), and his J.D. from Loyola University Chicago School of Law.
Constance Martin, Assistant Director of School Growth and Admissions
Constance Martin joined the Cristo Rey Network in May 2015 as the School Growth Project Manager. She is responsible for managing the ongoing, day-to-day execution of the feasibility studies and new schools in launch year to ensure the schools in development follow the Cristo Rey Network Mission Effectiveness Standards.
Since graduating from Fordham University, Constance has worked for Catholic education both in and out of the classroom, most recently at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School (Chicago) for three years in the Corporate Work Study Program. At Cristo Rey in Chicago she managed relationships with business partners, facilitated daily program logistics, provided job counseling, and trained students. She is currently a candidate in DePaul University's Master's in Teaching and Learning, Secondary Education.
Stephanie Arias, Director of College Initiatives
Stephanie Arias joined the Cristo Rey Network in April 2018. As Director of College Initiatives, Stephanie oversees all Network programs that work to improve the quality of our students’ college match, increase our students’ access to college, and support our graduates’ persistence through college completion.
Prior to joining the Network. Stephanie served as a Cristo Rey Network College Counseling Coach, providing support on college access and persistence to two Network first-year counseling teams.
Most recently, Stephanie served as the Manager of Talent & Special Projects for the Illinois Network of Charter Schools (INCS). Prior to her time at INCS, Stephanie served as Alumni Affairs Program Counselor for Urban Prep Academies, an organization that operates a network of three all-boys public schools, including the country's first charter high school for boys. In this role, and in her previous role as a College Counselor at their Englewood campus, Stephanie offered financial and academic counseling and programming to over 1000 students and alumni.
Stephanie is Ecuadorian and a proud first-generation college graduate. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Psychology Services from Northwestern University and is a proud alum of the Surge Institute.
Mark Bazin, Chief Technology Officer
Mark Bazin joined the Cristo Rey Network in 2015 as the organization's inaugural Chief Technology Officer. Mark leads development and implementation of major technology projects across the Network, and advises schools on their internal operations. He also develops technology partnerships at a national level, and leads national IT-strategy.
No stranger to Cristo Rey, Mark was the founding Director of Information Technology at Cristo Rey Jesuit in Houston. Mark earned his undergraduate degree in information systems management at St. Mary's University and his master's degree at Carnegie Mellon University. He previously served as the network and desktop systems manager at Strake Jesuit College Prep in Houston and as an information security and computer forensics analyst at Ernst & Young in Chicago.
Meagan Chuckran, Director of Strategy and Accountability
Meagan Chuckran joined the Cristo Rey Network in September 2014 as the Data and Assessment Manager. In her current role as Director of Strategy and Accountability, Meagan is responsible for the collection, analysis, and communication of Cristo Rey Network data as well as supporting schools in developing tools to use data more strategically to improve performance. Prior to joining the Network, she served as Strategy Manager for World Business Chicago, leading initiatives for regional economic growth which brought together public, private, and civic sector leadership around shared priorities such as efficient freight movement and local business investment. She also spent several years working with International Partners in Mission, a Cleveland-based nonprofit which supports projects serving children, women, and youth around the world. Meagan holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the College of the Holy Cross and a Masters of Public Policy from the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy.
Patrick Dunphy, Director of Administration
Patrick joined the Cristo Rey Network in April 2008. He was drawn to the organization by his Jesuit education in both high school and college, having graduated from Marquette High School and Marquette University. He has held several different roles throughout his tenure. Immediately prior to joining the Cristo Rey Network, Patrick provided research and records management support for a law firm. He has previously held an internship with the Massachusetts Secretary of State's Office, Elections Division, and participated in a one-year mentorship program designed to offer advocacy and support to children and families in need.
As Director of Administration, Patrick is responsible for establishing and implementing organizational standards and strategies for the delivery of consistent and quality programs in support of Cristo Rey schools. In addition to providing high-level curricular and associated project support to the Academic and College Initiatives team, he works closely with all departments in the Network office to develop and execute large-scale professional development offerings, cohort convenings, and mission effectiveness reviews.
Melissa Kinzler, Director of Finance and Strategic Initiatives
Melissa joined the Cristo Rey Network in July 2013. As the Director of Finance and Strategic Initiatives, she manages the Network's finance and human resources functions. She is also responsible for various key organizational initiatives, providing project management and implementation support.
Prior to joining the Network, Melissa worked in beauty care brand marketing at Alberto Culver. In that role, she managed several new product launches, supported a major brand relaunch in 30 countries and led cross-functional teams in the management of daily operations for a large skin care business. Melissa had previously worked in strategy and operations consulting at Deloitte where she advised clients on supply chain cost reduction and post merger integration. Melissa is a member of the Leadership Advisory Council at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Pilsen and has completed volunteer consulting work for educational nonprofits. She obtained her BSBA from the Washington University Olin School of Business and her MBA from the Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management.
Jazmin Fermin, Finance and Performance Measurement Associate
Jazmin Fermin joined the Cristo Rey Network in January 2016 as the Finance and Performance Measurement Associate. She is responsible for managing the Network's day-to-day finance and human resources functions, as well as supporting the Director of Performance Measurement with data collection and analysis. Prior to joining the Network, she was a Client Associate at a research consulting firm. There she worked side by side with consultants analyzing and delivering competitive, market data in order to identify market opportunities and provide actionable advice to clients on improving performance.
Jazmin earned a Bachelor's of Science from Fairfield University and is a proud Cristo Rey New York High School alumna.
Brenda Morris, Director of Advancement
Brenda Morris joined the Cristo Rey Network in August 2009. As the Director of Advancement, she manages the Network's development and marketing communications efforts.
Prior to joining the Network, Brenda was the Assistant Manager of Marketing and Communications for The Chicago Lighthouse for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired. She oversaw the organization's online communications, community tours/presentations, as well as assisted with media relations and executing special events.
Brenda has previously served on the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) 60th Anniversary Committee and the PRSA Advocacy Committee. Today, she serves on the Board of Advisors Marketing Committee for the Archdiocese of Chicago's Catholic Charities and its Junior Board. Brenda graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a major in marketing communications, concentration in public relations.
Alyse Faour, Advancement Associate
Alyse Faour joined the Cristo Rey Network in October 2017 as the Advancement Associate. In her role, Alyse assists with the Network’s fundraising and marketing efforts.
Prior to joining the Network, Alyse worked at Academy Prep Center of Tampa as the Development Coordinator, a private middle school serving economically-disadvantaged students. As Development Coordinator, Alyse was responsible for social media management and assisted with donor cultivation and stewardship. Before Academy Prep, Alyse was teaching English in San Jose, Costa Rica.
Alyse earned a B.A. in Editing, Writing, and Media and Spanish from Florida State University.