Alliance’s New CEO Announced

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Alliance’s New CEO Announced

Alliance names first Latino leader Pablo Cesar Villavicencio. Born and raised in LA, Villavicencio is a first-generation college graduate.


Born and raised in LA, Villavicencio is a first-generation college graduate, a bilingual Spanish speaker, and understands the challenges of educational inequality firsthand


Villavicencio has a proven track record of transformative leadership that tackles educational inequality in systematically oppressed communities

LOS ANGELES – Alliance College-Ready Public Schools announced today that Pablo Cesar Villavicencio–a public school graduate, first-generation college-graduate, born and raised in Los Angeles, and educator with more than 20 years of experience nationally at every level of the school system–will serve as its new Chief Executive Officer starting in January 2022.

Like many children of immigrants, Pablo attended a low-performing school in Los Angeles. He later had the opportunity to attend a suburban school outside his neighborhood–the unjust contrast of his primary education with that of his high school fueled his conviction that all students deserve a high-quality education regardless of their zip code.

“Today is a really exciting day for me, my family, and my community. I grew up in El Sereno, not too far off from one of our current schools. I wish my family had the option of an Alliance school. I am proud of the work that Alliance is doing to provide access to high-quality education in our communities with historically under-performing schools,” said Pablo Cesar Villavicencio. “Every child, regardless of zip code, deserves a high-quality education. I believe that education is truly what will transform opportunities available to our scholars, families–it did for me. It is an honor to lead this high-performing network as we continue to build a culture that sets high expectations for all scholars and works to support the whole child, especially as our community is still experiencing lasting impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“I am incredibly proud and excited about the Governing Board’s selection of Pablo Villavicencio as Alliance’s next CEO. Pablo has dedicated his entire life to social justice and educational equity, said Dan Katzir, Alliance’s current Chief Executive Officer. “He is an inspirational educator and leader with a deep personal connection to our community and the lived experiences of our scholars. Pablo is the right next CEO to lead Alliance to the new heights that our scholars deserve.”

Pablo currently serves as Alliance’s President, overseeing the critical functions of school management, teaching and learning, school leadership development, counseling and college success, and initiatives related to scholars, families, and communities.

Pablo joined Alliance in 2017 as Chief Schools Officer. He has been responsible for setting the vision for coaching and developing Alliance’s school leaders. Pablo was integral in launching Alliance’s first Scholars, Families, and Communities team, which has focused on ensuring that we are addressing the whole child through social-emotional learning practices and connections with families and the community, which is something he will continue to focus on as CEO. Pablo was key in developing the School Instructional Support team, a school support model designed to improve teaching and learning. Most recently, Pablo oversaw Alliance’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the pivot to distance learning, and enacting comprehensive health and safety protocols, in addition to Alliance’s return to in-person learning in August 2021.

Alliance’s Governing Board led a rigorous listening tour and selection process to identify the next leader that was grounded in three core tenets: continuity and stability, listening and learning, all while providing a regular cadence of communication within the network. The biggest priority the Board’s CEO Search committee heard from families and staff was the need for a leader from the community and with similar lived experience to Alliance’s scholars.

PENDING APPROVAL – “Pablo is a proven leader—he is a gamechanger for how schools provide a high-quality education for students that need it most. For the over 13,000 scholars we serve, I know that Pablo will not only ensure that our children are college-ready, but that they also persist through college, said Joe Drake, Alliance’s Governing Board Chair and member of the CEO Search Committee. “His focus and commitment to educating the whole child, which includes social-emotional supports, especially in the wake of COVID-19, is exactly what makes Alliance exceptional. We don’t only have high-expectations for our scholars, but also our leaders—and Pablo exceeds even the highest of expectations.”

“As an immigrant student who came to New York at the age of 13, not knowing the English language and being the first one in my family to enter college, I didn’t have too many role models. Pablo Villavicencio was an inspiration and a remarkable person in my life. He helped me increase my self-confidence and provided me with the resources to achieve some of my goals, said Joselina Sanchez, a former student of Pablo’s and now a bilingual social worker for the New York City Department of Education. “Pablo always made it very clear that college was possible for every single student regardless of our socio-economic situation. He connected with every family and student at a personal level because he understood our challenges and helped us overcome some of those struggles. He supported the most vulnerable students to believe in themselves and reach their potential.”

Prior to returning to his community in Los Angeles, Pablo was a national leader in transforming education for children from underserved communities. He started as a teacher in the Bronx, in New York City. The first school he taught at was in the lowest income zip code in the United States. He saw the challenges children and families faced day in and day out—and how the school system was not designed for nor striving to do better for these families. Over the course of his 10 years in New York City, Pablo took his teaching experience in the Bronx and applied it to school leadership, including founding a new school that he designed specifically for children of immigrants and English language learners. Through Pablo’s leadership and commitment, thousands of children’s educational opportunities in New York were truly transformed.

“Pablo deeply respects his students, their families, and the communities they come from, said Rachel Curtis, Director, Aspen Institute’s Urban Superintendents Network and Author of Strategy in Action and Teaching Talent. “Having been a successful principal, Pablo knows how to transform and lead school systems to support the work of schools, and he has done just that. His high expectations combined with his demonstrated ability to set vision and lead a senior team to develop and execute strategy make him the perfect choice.”

“Many years ago, Pablo shared his vision with me of a school for newcomer English Language Learners in the Bronx, in New York City where their experiences would be respected and their ambitions could be nurtured, said Wandaly Rentas, New York City Department of Education teacher at multiple schools in New York, including the one he founded. “There were challenges, but we worked to build a school where we were a family with a shared value at our center– a philosophy of education that students can rise to the occasion when given access to the resources they deserve and the supports they need. I still share that vision. It has shaped me and many of my colleagues as educators and advocates for our students today. This is the kind of leadership that can really have a lasting impact.”

“Pablo and I worked on the same team in similar roles as Directors of Principal Leadership and Support for the High School Division. As part of Pablo’s portfolio of schools he was charged with supervising our schools with the largest numbers of historically underserved students which are predominantly African American and Latino students. As a leader for equity, he brought attention to these schools and worked to change practices of systemic oppression that have continued to disadvantage these students and families, said Han Phung, Assistant Superintendent of All Middle Schools for San Francisco Unified School District.” To this work he brings an approach focused on engagement and listening. Pablo is always working to bring key stakeholders across the school system into conversation to drive change for the long haul. To be successful in this work, Pablo had to be both a successful visionary where he inspires possibility in those around him and at the same time an effective strategic project manager so that the work can take root and move forward. Pablo truly embodies both of these assets and that’s why he is so effective in transforming outcomes for students.”

Pablo holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Economy of Industrialized Societies from University of California, Berkeley, and a Master of Education in Dual Language/Bilingual Childhood Education from The Bank Street College of Education. He is a Teach for America, New Leaders, New York City Leadership Academy, and Catalyst Fellowship Alum.

Effective January 3, 2022, Pablo will be the new CEO of Alliance College-Ready Public Schools. Alliance’s current CEO, Dan Katzir, will transition into an advisory role at this time. Dan first joined Alliance in 2015. Alliance is a stronger public school system as a result of Dan’s leadership. Under his leadership, Alliance has dramatically improved academic outcomes for all scholars and for its most vulnerable scholars. Dan also led Alliance in critical work focusing on being a great place to work—staff retention rates and Best Place to Work scores increased significantly under Dan’s leadership. The Alliance community is grateful for the time that Dan has spent shaping the future of our organization.

Alliance College-Ready Public Schools was founded in 2004 by a group of Los Angeles educators, civil rights activists, and community leaders on the belief that all children––regardless of ZIP code, income, ability, or background––are capable of achieving at high levels.

Despite great odds, Judy Ivie Burton, a long-time Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) educator and leader, as well as Howard Lappin, Founding Principal, and nationally recognized school leader, welcomed 150 ninth grade scholars at Alliance College-Ready Academy #1, currently known as Alliance Gertz-Ressler High School. 

Alliance is now one of the largest and most successful nonprofit public charter school networks in the nation, operating 26 high-performing, tuition-free middle and high schools in Los Angeles communities that are systemically oppressed. Alliance has a proven record of success for our nearly 13,000 scholars and nearly 18,000 alumni.

Though a majority of our incoming 6th graders enter Alliance reading below grade level, they eventually outperform California state and local districts on state standardized testing. Over ninety-five percent of Alliance scholars have graduated from high school and been accepted to a two-year or four-year college.

Our schools have been recognized among the best in the state and nation by the U.S. Department of Education, the California Department of Education, U.S. News & World Report, and the University of Southern California (USC) Rossier School of Education.

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