Head of School Search
On January 14, 2020, Thayer Academy Head of School Ted Koskores ‘70 P ‘10, ‘13 announced that he would conclude his 18-year tenure at the end of the next school year on June 30, 2021. The Board of Trustees then retained Spencer Stuart, a highly regarded national search firm, to work with the Academy’s Search Committee to find a new Head of School. On Sept. 22, 2020, after an eight-month process, Chris Fortunato, currently the Head of School at Blair Academy in New Jersey, was announced as the ninth Head of School in Thayer history. Fortunato will begin his duties in the summer of 2021.
Dear Thayer Community,
We are thrilled to share with you the news that the Thayer Academy Board of Trustees has selected Chris Fortunato as its next Head of School.
A New Jersey native, Chris currently serves as Head of School of Blair Academy, a boarding school in Blairstown, New Jersey. During his seven years there, the school has reached new heights, including six consecutive years of record application numbers. Under his leadership, Blair opened the Chiang Center for Innovation and Collaboration, and Chris spearheaded multiple curricular innovations in areas including technology, human rights, and leadership development. He also led academic collaborations with institutions including the Harvard Kennedy School, Boston University, and Lehigh University. He partnered with his team to increase the school’s endowment, especially in financial aid to support a diverse student body, an effort to raise $25M that is nearing its goal.
Chris holds an undergraduate degree from Harvard College, a law degree from Harvard Law School, and a master’s degree in social work from Boston University. In 1999, he left the practice of law to devote nearly a decade to working at a Newton nonprofit dedicated to assisting underserved youth. He has also served as Dean of Students at Providence College and Harvard Kennedy School. At HKS, Chris created the school’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion and appointed the first dean to that office.
The comprehensive, eight-month process to find the Academy’s next Head of School began in January with the assistance of Spencer Stuart, our search consultants, with invaluable input from the Thayer community, including students, faculty, staff, administrators, parents and guardians, alumni, and board members. From the start, Thayer attracted a diverse group of highly qualified candidates from around the country; the HOS Search Committee identified nearly 200 candidates, conducted in-depth reviews of almost 50 candidates, and selected eight candidates for first-round interviews. A smaller group of finalists was vetted in July and August. Throughout the process, Chris showed himself to be an ideal fit with Thayer based on his student-centered philosophy and humble but confident leadership style. The Board of Trustees believes he will bring a strong combination of vision, experience, and leadership to build on Thayer’s successes, address our challenges, and drive educational innovation to prepare our students for a dynamic and ever-changing world. Chris and his wife Erin have two children, Matt and Katie.
Chris will be the ninth Head of School in Academy history. He will begin his tenure in the summer of 2021, succeeding Head of School Ted Koskores ’70 P ’10, ’13, whose faithful leadership since 2003 has been nothing short of exemplary.
On behalf of both the HOS Search Committee and the Thayer Academy Board of Trustees, please join us in welcoming Chris as Thayer’s next new Head of School. We look forward to opportunities to introduce him to the community in the months ahead.
Michael Joe P ’17, ’20, Trustee
Jen Havlicek P ’18, ’21, ’21, Trustee
Head of School Search Committee Co-Chairs
- 1. Who will select the new Head of School?
- 2. What is the role of the search firm?
- 3. How will community members be able to provide input?
- 4. What are you looking for in a new Head of School?
- 5. When do you expect to announce a new Head of School?
- 6. How can I keep updated on the search process?
- 7. How do I share any questions or comments regarding the search?
Michael Joe P '17, '20
Jen Havlicek P '18, '21, '21
Donavan Brown '01
Middle School English Department Head
Elaine DeLuca P '20, '21
Joseph Farmer P '23
Maureen Keleher P '24, '26
Upper School English & Foreign Language Faculty, Class Dean
Brendan McDonough '87 P '18, '22
Michael McNally P '22, '24, '27
Melissa Bayer Tearney P '14
Chair of the Board of Trustees
Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion; Director of International Student Enrollment
- September 10, 2020: Head of School Search | September 2020 Update
- June 26, 2020: Head of School Search | June 2020 Update
- April 7, 2020: Head of School Search | Update from Search Co-chairs
- January 14, 2020: Letter from Ted Koskores '70 P '10, '13
- January 14, 2020: Letter from Melissa Tearney P '14, Chair of the Board of Trustees