• George W. Bush Presidential Center

    About Us

  • Through our three Impact Centers -- Domestic Excellence, Global Leadership, and our Engagement Agenda -- we focus on developing leaders, advancing policy, and taking action to solve today’s most pressing challenges.

Robert Balfanz

Robert Balfanz

Fellow, Middle School Matters
George W. Bush Institute

Robert Balfanz is a research professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Education, where he is also co-director of the Talent Development Secondary reform model, co-director of the Everyone Graduates Center, and co-operator of Baltimore Talent Development High School, an Innovation High School operated in partnership with the Baltimore City Public Schools. He is a leader and a co-founder of Diplomas Now, an evidence based school transformation model for high-needs middle and high schools that combines whole school reform with enhanced student supports guided by an early warning system.  It has won an “Investing in Innovation (I3)” federal validation grant and is currently being implemented in forty schools across twelve school districts. 

Balfanz has published widely on secondary school reform, high school dropouts, early warning systems, school climate, and instructional interventions in high-poverty schools. He is also a frequent speaker on dropout prevention and early warning indicators, has consulted with numerous state education agencies through partnerships with the National Governors Association and Jobs for the Future, and has served on the U.S. Department of Education’s review panel for No Child Left Behind flexibility waivers.  He is the first recipient of the “Everyone A Graduate Award” from the Alliance For Excellent Education and the “Joan Lipsitz Lifetime Achievement Award” from The National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform.  In 2013, the Obama Administration recognized him as a Champion for Change in the education of African American youth.

Dr. Balfanz holds a B.A. in history from Johns Hopkins University and a Ph.D. in education from the University of Chicago.