Robert Balfanz

Nonprofit Fellow


PhD, Chief Executive Officer, Diplomas Now

Robert Balfanz is a research professor at the Center for the Social Organization of Schools at Johns Hopkins University School of Education, where he is  co-director of the Talent Development Secondary reform model and director of the Everyone Graduates Center.  He is a leader and a co-founder of Diplomas Now, an evidence based school transformation model for high needs middle and high schools which combines whole school reform with enhance student supports guided by an early warning system and winner of a federal Investing in Innovation (I3) validation grant which is currently being implemented in forty schools across twelve school districts.  He has published widely on secondary school reform, high school dropouts, early warning systems, chronic absenteeism, school climate, and instructional interventions in high-poverty schools. He focuses on translating research findings into effective school interventions. His also a frequent speaker on dropout prevention, school reform,  and early warning systems and has consulted with numerous state departments of education.  His work was featured in PBS Frontline’s The Education of Omarina.     

Dr. Balfanz is the first recipient of the Alliance For Excellent Education’s Everyone a Graduate Award and the National Forum’s to Accelerate Middle Grade Reform Joan Lipsitzs Lifetime Achievement award. In 2013 he was named a Champion for Change for African American Education by President Obama and his is also an education fellow for the Middle School Matters program at the George W. Bush Institute He holds a B.A. in history from Johns Hopkins University and a PhD in education from the University of Chicago.