Aaron Brenner named Gary and Barbara Pasquinelli Director of Notre Dame ACE Academies

by Alliance for Catholic Education

Aaron Brenner Aaron Brenner

The University of Notre Dame has announced that Aaron Brenner, a global leader in creating educational opportunities for children living in poverty, is the new Gary and Barbara Pasquinelli Director of the Notre Dame ACE Academies, a growing national network of 14 preK-8 Catholic schools that the University operates in partnership with local dioceses across the country.

Brenner is uniquely positioned by his experience as the founder of major national and international networks of high-performing schools to lead the continued expansion of the Notre Dame ACE Academies, which extend the opportunity to obtain an excellent Catholic education to thousands of children from low-income families in Florida, Arizona and Indiana.

Brenner began his career teaching second grade as a Teach For America corps member in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, and later was the founding school leader of the nation’s first Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP) primary school, KIPP SHINE Prep in Houston, Texas. Brenner served as head of primary schools for the KIPP Houston network and helped lead KIPP’s efforts to build a national network of primary schools while also leading KIPP Houston’s Strategy and Execution office. In 2013, in collaboration with KIPP founder Mike Feinberg and KIPP colleague Sunita Arora, Brenner co-founded and served as CEO of the One World Network of Schools, a global network of high-performing schools serving low-income children. In just three years, One World has established 16 schools and formed school leaders in three leadership institutes in Mexico, Chile, Indonesia, India, South Africa and Israel.

Brenner has served the Alliance for Catholic Education in an advisory capacity and as an adjunct faculty member for several years. In announcing the appointment, ACE’s senior director for leadership programs and founding director of the Notre Dame ACE Academies, Christian Dallavis, said, “When we were developing the ACE Academies model, we visited many schools that prove that demography need not determine destiny. Aaron was the founder and leader of the most impressive of these schools. We have been relying on him for advice in partnership for years, and I’m thrilled that he is feeling drawn by his faith to join the Notre Dame family full time at this critical moment in our movement’s growth.”

Brenner expressed his excitement to join the Notre Dame ACE Academies team. “I am thrilled to be able to learn, teach and lead in the Catholic context. I was drawn to join the movement of Notre Dame ACE Academies as the most exciting thing happening in Catholic education around the world. If we are innovative, relentless and collaborative enough, we truly have the capacity to build one of the very best networks of schools for children around the nation and the world. In doing so, we will demonstrate that the combination of academic growth, character development and faith formation will transform the futures of thousands of children and help to change the world.”

As director, Brenner will lead the professional and personal formation program for principals and teachers of Notre Dame ACE Academies in the dioceses of Tucson, St. Petersburg, Orlando, Indianapolis and Palm Beach focused on providing a Catholic education of the highest quality to as many children as possible. Brenner will lead the NDAA team in the recruitment, training and development of school leaders in their efforts to establish high-performing, transformational school cultures rooted in the Catholic tradition.

Brenner will also teach in the Mary Ann Remick Leadership Program as a specialist in school culture and provide leadership and strategic support to ACE partnerships nationally and globally.

Contact: Timothy Will, Alliance for Catholic Education, 574-631-5772, twill1@nd.edu