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Cristo Rey Network Names William Ford III Chief Academic Officer
Jessie Fenton

CHICAGO (October 6, 2022) – The Cristo Rey Network is pleased to announce William (Bill) Ford III as Chief Academic Officer. He succeeds Dr. Mary Kearney, who has served as Chief Academic Officer since April 2018.

Ford’s long-standing devotion to the Cristo Rey mission began with his work on the feasibility study for Cristo Rey New York High School, followed by his service as Founding Principal when the school opened in 2004. For this fifth Cristo Rey Network member school, Ford created the fundamental foundation for its inaugural faculty and students. During his 18 years at Cristo Rey New York High School in East Harlem, Ford supported more than 1,000 first-generation students to graduate. 

“Several years ago, when I was principal of Cristo Rey New York High School, we put this challenge on the cover of our student planner: ‘The opportunity to partake in an education with the potential to transform your life is Cristo Rey's gift to you; what you make of this opportunity is your gift to Cristo Rey.’ Over time I have come to realize this is as true for the adults who collaborate together to draw forth from our students the full power of their great potential,” said Bill Ford. “I am grateful for this new opportunity and excited to see what life-giving and transformational gifts we shall fashion--together.”

During his time at Cristo Rey New York High School, graduates achieved a 98% college enrollment rate, double the national average for low-income students, and a 65% college graduation rate, exceeding five times the national average for students of the same peer group.

Following his time as principal, Ford served as Assistant to the President at Xavier High School (New York City), then as President of Cristo Rey Brooklyn High School, where he charted a course forward to overall school improvement and sustainability during the uncertain times presented by the pandemic. 

“Bill’s deep commitment to a faith that does justice, his unapologetic belief that all students can achieve at high levels, and his depth of understanding of the Cristo Rey mission and approach will guide his collaborative efforts with Cristo Rey colleagues,” said Elizabeth Goettl, President and CEO of the Cristo Rey Network. 

As Chief Academic Officer, Ford will lead the Cristo Rey Network national office’s Leading and Learning team, partnering closely with school leaders, nationwide, to provide vision and strategic direction, including resources and programming towards our shared goal for student achievement and college readiness.

His Cristo Rey experiences, mission-driven mindset, and education provide an ideal background for his new role. Ford earned his Bachelors degree in history from Dartmouth College, a Masters degree in theology from Fordham University, a Masters in Educational Administration with a focus on private schools from Columbia University, in addition to a Certificate in School Management and Leadership from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Ford will officially take on his duties as Chief Academic Officer on October 17, 2022. 

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