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. 

Chris Fortunato

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 Fortunato and family

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.

Sincerely,

Michael Joe P ’17, ’20, Trustee
Jen Havlicek P ’18, ’21, ’21, Trustee
Head of School Search Committee Co-Chairs


Frequently Asked Questions

Position and Candidate Specification

   

Search Committee

Michael Joe P '17, '20
Trustee
Co-chair

Jen Havlicek P '18, '21, '21
Trustee
 
Co-chair

Donavan Brown '01
Trustee

Brian Cibelli
Middle School English Department Head

Elaine DeLuca P '20, '21
Trustee

Joseph Farmer P '23
Trustee

Maureen Keleher P '24, '26
Upper School English & Foreign Language Faculty, Class Dean

Brendan McDonough '87 P '18, '22
Trustee

Michael McNally P '22, '24, '27
Trustee

Melissa Bayer Tearney P '14
Chair of the Board of Trustees

Jennifer Welch
Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion; Director of International Student Enrollment

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