Meet Chris Fortunato
Appointed Blair Academy’s 16th Head of School in 2013, Chris’ multidisciplinary skills and experiences afford him great depth and breadth of perspective in the areas of educational administration, teaching and institutional advancement. Throughout his career and at Blair, he has helped to develop innovative curricula, programs and services that advance students’ personal, academic and professional growth, foster a culture of achievement and social responsibility, and create diverse and supportive learning environments. Under Mr. Fortunato's leadership, the number of annual applicants and Blair's selectivity reached historic records as the School's reputation continues to grow and reach new markets.
The Blair Leadership Stories Project and the School’s growing service and global engagement programs are among the forward-thinking leadership education initiatives instituted at Blair during Chris’ tenure. In addition, he has emphasized the importance of understanding and addressing real-world problems and opportunities through collaboration across academic disciplines and teamwork among various constituencies. Chris led the community-wide task force that conceptualized the dynamic new academic facility that opened in 2017: The multidisciplinary Chiang-Elghanayan Center for Innovation and Collaboration (CIC) is home to fine arts and technology and serves as a learning hub designed to inspire creativity, promote innovative thinking, foster collaborative learning among Blair’s students and teachers, and further connect the Blair community to people, ideas and opportunities beyond our campus.
Chris was raised in Freehold, New Jersey, and spent his undergraduate years at Harvard College, including a semester in England at Oxford University. Upon earning a bachelor's degree in government in 1994, he immediately went on to law school at Harvard, graduating and passing the Massachusetts bar exam in 1997. While a litigation associate at Sullivan & Worcester, LLP, he provided pro bono educational advocacy for adolescents, also volunteering as a tutor and mentor to a diverse group of teens.
In 1999, Chris left the practice of law to design and direct adolescent services at the innovative nonprofit organization, Newton Community Service Center, Inc. (NCSC), in Newton, Massachusetts, where he developed academic, social, therapeutic and leadership programs for nearly a decade.
Chris sought to expand his portfolio of academic administration and student affairs expertise, and in 2008, he accepted an appointment as dean of students at Providence College, where he also served as acting vice-president for student affairs. In these roles, he supported 4,000 undergraduate and graduate students, overseeing counseling, residential life, student health, security, emergency management and career development programs.
As dean of students at the Harvard Kennedy School from 2010 to 2013, Chris’ role focused on attracting and supporting a rich mosaic of the best and brightest aspiring public leaders from every corner of the globe. “Over the years, it has become my professional and personal mission to lead a school community whose shared vision is to provide students with the knowledge and methodologies they need to effectively relate to real people, challenges and opportunities on campus, in the surrounding community and on a global stage,” he said. “As a father of two young children, I intensely feel the privilege and responsibility of training and shaping those who will lead our global society in the public sphere, business, science, the arts and beyond.”
Chris met his wife, Erin, as a result of their shared love of teaching and helping young people, while both were working at NCSC. Erin holds a master’s degree in public health from Boston University. Married in 2003, Chris and Erin, along with their children, Matty and Katie, enjoy the arts, sports, being outdoors, and spending time together and with the Blair community.