NDNU Trustee Kris Zavoli Receives
Joe Allen Exemplar Award
from the College Board

For Immediate Release (3/21/2017)

Belmont, Calif.—Kris Zavoli, an alumna and member of the Board of Trustees of Notre Dame de Namur University (NDNU), was named the 2017 recipient of the Joe Allen Exemplar Award, the most prestigious award conferred by the Western Regional Assembly of the College Board. The award acknowledges a “leader of leaders” who has made contributions on behalf of students over an extended period of time.

Kris Zavoli 2017
Kris Zavoli accepting the Western Regional Assembly of the College Board’s Joe Allen Exemplar Award

“Kris was selected for this award because there are few people in our field who have demonstrated such passion for creating educational opportunities for students throughout the United States,” said James Montoya, chief of membership, governance, and global higher education, and secretary of the corporation of the College Board. “That passion was certainly strengthened during her time as a student and staff member at Notre Dame de Namur University.”

Kris Zavoli earned a BA, Master of Arts in Teaching, and two teaching credentials at NDNU. She also served as NDNU’s director of admissions for eight years. One of seven children, Kris Zavoli was the first in her family to attend college. “When I was in high school in Sacramento, Sister Helen Cecelia of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur was my teacher and college counselor. She drove me all the way to Belmont for an open house to encourage me to apply for admission and financial aid,” Zavoli recalls. “After I received my BA at NDNU, I started working in the Admissions Office. My work there taught me that I could be an advocate for kids like me who didn’t think they could go to college.”

At the College Board, Zavoli held a variety of posts, including vice president of the Western Region. She played a key role in the revision of the SAT test in 2001; helped to train and educate college admissions officers, counselors, and teachers; and traveled to state capitols throughout the West to influence legislation to encourage better academic preparation for students.

When Zavoli attended the awards ceremony in Costa Mesa on February 9, 2017, she had no idea she was the recipient. She listened to the description of the person who was this year’s awardee, and suddenly realized it was her. “It’s such an honor to receive the Joe Allen Exemplar Award,” said Zavoli. “I’m grateful I’ve had the chance to help students get the life-changing opportunities that higher education provides.”


Notre Dame de Namur University is a Catholic, not-for-profit, coeducational institution serving approximately 1,700 traditional-aged and adult students from diverse backgrounds. Established in 1851 by the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, NDNU maintains a strong commitment to access for diverse populations, academic excellence, social justice and community engagement. The university is fully accredited and offers a rich variety of undergraduate, graduate and credential programs. The historic, 50-acre campus is located on the San Francisco Peninsula in Silicon Valley. For more information, visit www.ndnu.edu.

Zack Rogow
(650) 508-3585