Dan Cardinali is president of Communities In Schools (CIS), the nation’s largest and most effective dropout prevention organization serving nearly 1.5 million students in 26 states and the District of Columbia. Under his leadership, the organization has been recognized for developing a highly effective model for decreasing dropouts and increasing graduation rates.
As a thought leader in the field of public education, Cardinali has positioned CIS as the leading, evidence-based provider in a burgeoning field of Integrated Student Supports. Credited with fostering the growing national trend toward community involvement in schools through partnerships with parents, businesses, policymakers and local nonprofit groups, CIS is uniquely focused on two things: 1) the integration of existing community resources to meet student needs on both an individual and community level and 2) ongoing evaluation and incorporating what works into the network-wide model.
Communities In Schools is acutely aware of the 11 million students that remain in need of this effective model. This awareness has fueled CIS’ innovative notions of non-linear scale, a challenging strategy for the financially constrained nonprofit sector. Cardinali’s singular focus on providing opportunity to all students has been fueled by his experience working with impoverished communities in the South Bronx, Appalachia, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Mexico. Cardinali is a respected voice in the national debate over education reform, frequently informs the news media, and routinely partners with think tanks, strategic funders, universities and policy forums.
Cardinali is a 2007 Annie E. Casey Children and Families Fellow and leads the K-12 subcommittee of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Education Excellence for Hispanics. He also serves on the boards of America’s Promise, Independent Sector, Peace First and Child Trends. He holds a bachelor’s degree in international relations from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and a master’s degree in philosophy from Fordham University.