Dear Blair Family,
I write to you today about the end of one chapter in Blair’s history and an exciting new beginning. After more than seven years at Blair, Chris Fortunato has decided to return with his family to New England, where he will lead Thayer Academy, a day school outside of Boston. We are most grateful to Chris for his excellent leadership and many contributions over the course of his tenure and wish him and his family well. As we now look to Blair’s future, I am thrilled to announce that our Board of Trustees unanimously voted to appoint Associate Head of School and Dean of Admission Peter G. Curran as Blair’s 17th Head of School, effective January 1, 2021. In the coming months, Chris and Peter will continue to work together closely as they transition to their respective new roles. I have no doubt that the process will be smooth and seamless.
Of course, many of you have already gotten to know Peter well over the last 10 years as he traveled the globe and connected with families and alumni to share with them the transformative nature of a Blair education. In addition to being bright, enthusiastic and engaging, Peter has literally become the face of Blair in many parts of the world and has done much to elevate our name and reputation. Under his leadership, Blair has enjoyed a record number of applications year after year, and admission to the School has become increasingly selective. Even during the current coronavirus pandemic, Blair is fully enrolled and thriving, a reflection of Peter’s ability to connect with families and a testament to his leadership of our excellent admission team.
I hope you will join us in wishing Chris, Erin, Matt and Katie the very best as they embark on their next chapter in Massachusetts. We are grateful to Chris for his tireless work in managing the challenges of day-to-day school operations, conceiving of and building our state-of-the-art Chiang-Elghanayan Center for Innovation and Collaboration, renovating and expanding the Bogle Science Center and launching our Strategic Plan that has put Blair on a positive trajectory for the next five years. Our School is stronger and more financially secure because of his efforts and stewardship.
We are fortunate that Peter and Chris have worked side-by-side for the better part of a decade, and Peter understands and deeply loves Blair’s culture and its diverse and close-knit community. During his tenure, Peter has been involved in every facet of school life and has demonstrated his commitment to building community and connecting with prospective families, students, parents and alumni of every background and experience. We are confident that this leadership transition will best position Blair for continued success moving forward, especially as we execute the people- and program-focused initiatives of our 2018-2025 Strategic Plan, All In.
Peter has had an expansive career, spending 20 years working at schools across the globe. Upon graduating from Milton Academy in 1997, he matriculated at Bowdoin College, where he met his wife, Sarah. After college, Peter taught history at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Potomac, Maryland, and Sarah earned her master’s in public health from Johns Hopkins University. They then moved to Arizona, where Peter taught and worked on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation, while Sarah conducted research on obesity prevention and promoted healthy-eating strategies.
Shortly after getting married in 2004, the Currans moved to Cambridge, where Peter earned his MEd at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education and Sarah worked at Harvard Medical School. When he graduated in 2005, they accepted positions at The American School in Switzerland (Peter as dean for 10th and 11th grades, as well as a teacher and coach; Sarah as a teacher and coach of soccer, a sport she had played at Bowdoin). The Currans returned home to the United States each summer during the two years they lived abroad, and Peter worked at Harvard as assistant dean of the secondary-school program.
Peter furthered his experience in boarding-school administration in 2007 when he was appointed dean of students at Fountain Valley School, where he also taught and coached for four years. During that time, the Currans welcomed their twins (Toby and Grace, now 11) before moving to Blair in 2011. The School’s vibrant student-centered culture resonated deeply with Peter and Sarah, and they were equally impressed by Blair’s flourishing reputation in the boarding-school world.
In his time at Blair, Peter succeeded David Low as a new dean in the student life office and taught English. He later became dean of admission, eventually rising to assistant head of school for enrollment and communications. In recent years, Peter, now associate head of school, took a leading role in the architecture and execution of our 2018-2025 Strategic Plan. Importantly, Peter has also been active professionally outside of Blair, regularly presenting at national conferences focused on education, co-founding The Deans’ Roundtable, a nonprofit that promotes best practices among independent schools, and serving as a trustee at Oldfields School in Sparks Glencoe, Maryland, and North Country School in Lake Placid, New York.
Sarah, a registered dietitian, works as a program associate for Rutgers Cooperative Extension’s Family and Community Health Sciences Department. Toby and Grace, now in sixth grade, love growing up on campus with 460 big brothers and sisters, countless friends among faculty children, dozens of faculty-and-staff aunts and uncles, and their yellow lab, Bowdoin. When they move into Sharpe House, the Currans look forward to hosting the Blair community in their home, where they will deepen existing relationships and forge new ones as they welcome new members to the Blair family.
Let me conclude by wishing the Fortunatos the very best and stating our utmost confidence in our new Head of School. In welcoming Peter to this role, we look forward to his fresh leadership perspective while continuing to embrace our beloved Blair traditions as we approach our 175th anniversary in 2023. To learn more about Blair's 17th Head of School, click here.
Doug Kimmelman P’12 ’13 ’15 ’22
Chair, Blair Academy Board of Trustees