Morty Ballen has joined Christel House International as the organization’s first Senior Vice President – Academics.

Christel House was founded in 1998 to serve children from severe poverty. Today it serves nearly 6,000 students and graduates worldwide through schools in India, Jamaica, Mexico, South Africa and the United States. Other than its three schools in Indianapolis, which are public charter schools, Christel House schools are no-fee private schools. In addition to rigorous academics, Christel House schools are distinguished by their holistic approach to child development, including character development, nutrition, physical and mental health care, and Christel House’s unique College & Careers Program which provides needed supports for students for five years after their graduation from high school.

The Senior Vice President – Academics role is a newly created position. Sitting within the US-based head office team and coordinating across CHI’s various programme countries, this is a role with enormous scope for making a meaningful difference for children, families and communities all over the world.

Co-led by our UK and US teams, this was a truly global search. We were keen to connect with individuals with substantial K-12 leadership experience, gained ideally in the US and overseas, and a deep appreciation for the challenges presented by working with young people from diverse socio-economic backgrounds. Candidates needed to evince a fundamental alignment with CHI’s holistic educational philosophy.   

Following a competitive longlist and shortlist process, Morty Ballen was appointed to the role. Hailing from the US, Morty built his career as the Founder and CEO of Explore Charter School in New York City, which over a period of 20 years he expanded into a network of eight schools serving 2,000 students. After stepping away from Explore in 2019, Morty became a Consultant Program Director for Global Schools Forum, a non-profit which advocates for and strengthens the non-state education sector globally.

On his appointment at CHI, Morty commented: "I’m thrilled to start my role as SVP - Global Academics with Christel House - an international organization that serves over 6,000 students in India, Jamaica, South Africa and the US to break the cycle of poverty."  

And on working with Society, he added: "My experience with Society was characterized by professionalism and mission alignment.  I felt supported through every step of the process.  Thank you, Jordan, Conor & the entire Society team!"