Twenty years ago, Christel DeHaan founded Christel House, a charity to transform the lives of impoverished children and lift them out of poverty. Today, DeHaan announced she will retire as CEO of Christel House International (CHI) at the end of the year but will remain in her role as board chair. She has named former Indianapolis mayor, Bart Peterson, as her successor, with the support and endorsement of the CHI board.
“Bart is a proven leader with impeccable integrity and a passion for the Christel House mission,” says DeHaan. “As the first mayor in the country legislatively empowered to authorize charter schools, Bart was a break-through leader in education reform, changing the educational landscape in Indianapolis and providing school choice to thousands of children. This took political courage and skill and, as a result, educational opportunities in our city improved significantly.”
“I was attracted to this role because of Christel House’s core belief that students can succeed if given the right opportunities and taught the right values,” says Peterson. “The Christel House model has been proven effective as a pathway for guiding students to become self-sufficient, productive members of society.”
After its founding, Christel House expanded rapidly, establishing learning centers in Mexico, India, South Africa, Venezuela and the U.S. Today, results achieved by its students and graduates support the efficacy of the Christel House model. Ninety-eight percent of students pass exams to graduate from high school. And, 91 percent of Christel House graduates either continue in post-secondary studies or become gainfully employed.
In addition to maintaining operational excellence, Peterson intends to focus on strategic alliances and international growth. Through partnerships with governments, foundations, corporations and academia, Christel House will actively seek support for the creation of new centers. “Recently our relationship with Jamaica’s Ministry of Education led to an expansion opportunity in Spanish Town, home to some of the island’s poorest inhabitants,” says Peterson. “Christel House will open there in August 2019, to help transform children’s lives and uplift the local community.”
Says DeHaan, “I am delighted that Bart is taking the helm at Christel House. As Founder, I will continue to support the organization. My financial commitment ensures that 100% of donor contributions will go directly to help kids. There is a structure in place to ensure general & administrative and fundraising expenses are covered in perpetuity. I have every confidence that under Bart’s leadership, combined with a skilled and committed staff, Christel House will continue its trajectory of excellence and achievement.”
About Christel House International
The mission of Christel House is to transform the lives of impoverished children around the world—breaking the cycle of poverty and building self-sufficient, contributing members of society. A focus on academic excellence through a robust K–12 curriculum is combined with a strong character development program to give students the skills and competencies necessary to compete successfully in complex 21st Century society.
Much more than a school, Christel House was established in 1998 by Founder Christel DeHaan, and currently serves over 4,550 impoverished students through eight learning centers—located in India, Mexico, South Africa and the U.S.A. A ninth school, Christel House Jamaica will open in 2019. Christel House students maintain a 98% 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.
For more information, please visit www.christelhouse.organd follow us on social media: www.facebook.com/christelhouse; www.twitter.com/christelhouse