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Friday, July 23, 2021

Christel House International President and CEO Bart Peterson announced today that David Harris will join the organization as Executive Vice President. In this new role, Harris will lead the development and execution of Christel House’s expansion strategy. “David is joining us at a pivotal moment,” said Peterson. “We are ready to embark on a major expansion to bring the benefits of Christel House to many more children, families and communities across the world. David’s experience and relentless drive will be a great asset to us as we build on Christel DeHaan’s extraordinary legacy.”

For the past three years, Harris served as a partner at City Fund, which works with local leaders to create innovative public school systems. Before that, Harris spent almost 20 years working to reshape Indianapolis’ K-12 public education system. In 2001, then-Mayor Bart Peterson appointed Harris as Indianapolis’ first charter school director. Together, Peterson and Harris built the Indianapolis Mayor’s Charter School Initiative, which won Harvard’s prestigious Innovations in American Government award in 2006. In 2006, Harris founded The Mind Trust and served as its CEO until 2018, with Peterson as board chair. The Mind Trust drove sweeping changes in education in Indianapolis and became a template for city-based education nonprofits across the country. 

“I am thrilled to be joining the amazing Christel House International team,” Harris said. “I’ve long admired Christel House and am excited to help it fulfill its mission to move children out of poverty and live fulfilling and productive lives.”

Harris was born and raised in Indianapolis, earned a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University and a JD from Indiana University.  He has received numerous awards and honors, including being named by the Indianapolis Business Journal as one of Indianapolis’ 40 Influential People of the Past 40 years (2020), winner of Marian University’s Franciscan Values Award (2016), a U.S Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s “Profiles of Change” honoree (2013), named an Aspen Institute/New Schools Venture Fund Entrepreneurial Leader for Public Education (2007) and was selected for the Indianapolis Business Journal’s “Forty Under 40” (2003).

About Christel House International

Christel House gives kids who need the most help the best chance. Christel House helps children from underserved communities around the world realize their full potential. It starts with a strong K-12 academic curriculum and adds character development programming to instill independence, integrity, social responsibility, and leadership. Christel House currently serves nearly 6,000 students and alumni through nine schools – located in India, Jamaica, Mexico, South Africa, and the United States. 100% of donations support programs and services for students.   

Much more than a school, Christel House was established in 1998 by Founder Christel DeHaan. Christel House students maintain a 97% graduation exam pass rate, and the majority of its graduates go on to pursue higher education. They become productive citizens, and many secure employment with top multinational corporations. Christel House graduates are confident, hardworking, responsible and ethical, with a passion for giving back to their communities and caring for their families.

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