Blair Academy Appoints 16th Head of School

 

James P. Jenkins ’66
James P. Jenkins ’66
Dear Blair Alumni, Parents, Faculty, Students and Friends:

 

On behalf of Blair Academy’s Board of Trustees, I am very pleased to announce that Christopher M. Fortunato, JD, LCSW, has been appointed as Blair Academy’s next Head of School, effective July 1, 2013. With broad experience in educational and non-profit administration and leadership, Chris possesses an accomplished background and skill set that make him highly qualified to lead Blair into its next era of growth and progress. This appointment marks the conclusion of a months-long national search that brought several highly qualified candidates to campus.

Chris will join Blair from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Mass., where he currently serves as Dean of Students. He returned to Cambridge in 2010 after working at Providence College and the non-profit organization Newton Community Service Center (NCSC), Inc. A Harvard alumnus who earned an AB cum laude in government in 1994 and a JD cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1997, Chris also received a master's degree from Boston University Graduate School of Social Work in 2008.

In addition to his academic credentials, Chris is a licensed clinical social worker with extensive experience working with teenagers and young adults. Over the course of his career, he has remained committed to doing volunteer work with adolescents and serves as a member of the Newton Youth Commission, a teacher of experiential learning to high school students and an advisor to Harvard College undergraduates.

In his current position as Dean of Students at Harvard’s Kennedy School, Chris works with a graduate student population of more than 900, nearly half of whom come from outside the United States. In that role, he has gained experience in admissions, advancement, student affairs, academic advising, student leadership, international engagement and diversity programs. Along with fellow members of the senior leadership team, he developed the strategic vision for Kennedy School degree programs and student affairs, including crafting plans for a major financial aid fundraising campaign. 

Over the last few months, a number of Trustees, parents, faculty members, students and alumni have had the opportunity to meet Chris in person and learn firsthand about his experience as an educator and administrator. All of Blair’s constituencies were impressed by his professional accomplishments, his commitment to helping young students achieve success inside and outside of the classroom, and his genuine, caring personality. To learn more about Chris's professional experience and career, please click the "Introducing Chris Fortunato" tab above.

In accepting the position as Blair’s 16th Head of School, Chris remarked: “I am sincerely honored and humbled to become Blair’s 16th Head of School. I share the School’s deep commitment to building powerful relationships among students and faculty to further academic, athletic and artistic excellence. This commitment has been the driving force of my life’s work as an educational leader focused on encouraging students to love learning, to find purpose and to become persons of great intellect and character who will make a difference in the world. As I have learned more about Blair’s remarkable student-centered approach, its dedication to recruiting and supporting the best faculty and its strong commitment to build upon its already impressive achievements, I have grown certain that this is precisely the dynamic and caring community that I am passionate about embracing and leading for many years to come.”

Chris also acknowledged the very special 24-year legacy he follows and the successful tenure of Chan and Monie Hardwick in positioning Blair for this transition. We will be honoring the Hardwicks on Alumni Weekend, May 10 and 11, and at a special Saturday night dinner and celebration on May 11.

I would like to thank the members of the search committee, trustees, students, administration, faculty, parents and alumni who helped interview candidates over the course of the fall. The entire search process was successful due to the efforts of our partner in the search, Carney, Sandoe & Associates, and so many members of our community. We look forward to welcoming Chris and his wife, Erin, and their two young children, Matthew and Kate, to Blair Academy.

And many thanks to all of you for your continued support of our School.

Sincerely,

James P. Jenkins ’66