Head of School
Chris M. Fortunato, JD, MSW, became the ninth head of school at Thayer Academy in July 2021. A New Jersey native, Fortunato earned an undergraduate degree from Harvard College, a law degree from Harvard Law School, and a master’s degree in social work from Boston University. His varied career includes time as a practicing attorney, a decade of work at a Newton nonprofit dedicated to assisting underserved youth, and experience at Providence College where he served as both dean of students and acting vice president for student affairs. As dean of students at Harvard Kennedy School from 2010 until 2013, Fortunato created the school’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion and appointed the first dean to that office. From 2013 until 2021, he served as head of school at Blair Academy, a boarding school in New Jersey. There, he helped to develop innovative curricula, programs, and services that advance students’ personal and academic growth while fostering a culture of achievement and social responsibility in a diverse, supportive learning environment. Fortunato emphasizes addressing real-world problems and opportunities through collaboration across academic disciplines and teamwork among various constituencies. He and his wife, Erin, have two children, Matt '26 and Katie '28, who both attend Thayer Academy.
Middle School Director
Galen Hamann returned to New England in the summer of 2020 after serving as the Assistant Head of School at Virginia Beach Friends School. Drawn to the strong sense of community at Thayer, she is focusing on the age she loves most: Middle School. Hamann, who earned a bachelor of science degree from Earlham College, began her career as a Middle School Spanish teacher, coach, and advisor at Friends Central School in Philadelphia. After earning her master’s degree in education from Saint Joseph’s University, she moved to Moses Brown School in Providence. During her 13-year tenure there, she served as the Director of Service Learning and Director of Friends Education; she also taught religion, developed and taught a medical ethics course, coached track and basketball, and served on both the wellness team and the administrative council. While working at Moses Brown, she completed a master of divinity degree at Harvard University, where she focused on spiritual care and became a board-certified healthcare chaplain. Hamann lives in Braintree with her wife Jayme and their three young children: son Jackson and twin girls Maya and Madeleine.
Upper School Director
An independent school educator for more than 20 years, Highley feels "right at home" as Upper School Director at Thayer, having attended the co-ed, 6th-12th-grade independent Severn School in Maryland. An English major and a member of a national champion lacrosse team at Princeton University, Highley spent the first two years of his teaching career at his old school as a middle school math and Latin teacher, while also coaching girls’ soccer and boys’ lacrosse. After earning his master’s degree in education from the University of Virginia, Mr. Thompson returned to Severn School and taught English, ethics, and algebra in the upper school for 14 years, also coaching boys’ soccer and lacrosse. In his time at Severn, he served as Dean of Students, Academic Dean, and Upper School Head. After a two-year stint as Director of the upper school and Assistant Headmaster at Chestnut Hill Academy in Philadelphia, Mr. Thompson joined the Thayer staff in the summer of 2011. He lives in Braintree with his wife, Anne, and their two children, son Garner '20 and daughter Virginia '23.
Director of Development
As an alumna of Thayer, Melissa rejoined Thayer in the summer of 2014. Following Thayer she attended the University of Vermont where she earned a BA in Psychology. She came to Thayer with more than 15 years of experience in non-profit development. Her previous roles include Director of Development for Partners Continuing Care and the Spaulding Rehabilitation Network, Director of Major Gifts for Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Director of Major Gifts for Horizons for Homeless Children and Director of Major Gifts for Walker. In that time Melissa worked on capital campaigns that resulted in the building of the state-of-the-art new Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Charlestown, a new headquarters for Horizons for Homeless Children in Roxbury and a campus expansion at Walker. Prior to working in development, Melissa worked as a counselor for homeless and runaway teens at Bridge Over Troubled Waters and also sold residential real estate in Boston. Melissa currently serves on the Board of Trustees for AccesSportAmerica, an adaptive sports program for people living with challenges and disabilities. The youngest of four sisters who all graduated from Thayer – Whitney Presutti ’85, Kelley Tuthill ’88 and Tracey Buckeridge ’90 – Melissa often says she grew up here. She spent many of the afternoons of her youth on the fields or in the gymnasiums watching her sisters compete in sports until she was able to enter as a sixth grader. Happy to be back, Melissa currently resides in Hingham with her husband and three children.
Chief Information Officer
Theresa Rubico Jay is the Chief Information Officer at Thayer Academy. Theresa first worked as a computer processing chip designer before entering the education field. In 1997 Theresa became the Director of Technology in Arlington Public Schools and next served as Technology Director at Xaverian Brothers High School where she designed and built a digital language lab and started an Internet radio station. When she joined Thayer Academy in 2011 she executed a student iPad program which advanced into a MacBook Air program. As Technology Director she mentors Technology Fellows, directs an innovation tech center, and has designed a cloud mobile strategy. She has devoted her tech director career to creating playful learning environments showcasing emerging technologies. Theresa holds a B.S. E.E. from Boston University and a M.Ed from UMass Boston. She is the Vice-President of Massachusetts Educational Technology Administrators Association (METAA) and chairs the CTO Clinic committee. She is also a member of Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), Association for Technology Leaders in Independent Schools (ATLIS), MassCUE and the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE).
Chief Financial and Operations Officer
Julaine McInnis comes to Thayer from Ursuline Academy, where she served as Director of Financial Operations. Previously she worked as the Business Manager at Inly School in Scituate, as CFO and COO at the Walnut Hill School for the Arts, and as the Assistant Business Manager at Milton Academy. For 17 years McInnis worked at Northeastern University, where for seven years she served as Director of Construction Accounting. Recently, Julaine was voted onto the Board of Directors at Community Music Works (CMW) in East Providence, RI and serves on the Finance Committee of the Board at The Conservatory Lab Charter School in Dorchester. For 7 years she served as President of the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Association of Non-Profit Schools and Colleges. She continues to serve on the board of the association. She is a graduate of Northeastern University, Accounting, Magna Cum Laude.
Director of Admissions
Jon White joined Thayer as Director of Admissions and a Financial Aid Officer in 1993. After attending an independent day school himself, White attended Harvard University, Middlebury College (Bread Loaf School of English), and Harvard Graduate School of Education. White’s academic career has included teaching English, coaching soccer, basketball, and rowing, and living in a dormitory at three New England boarding schools. As a freshman advisor, he works closely with a group of eight freshmen each year, assisting them in their transition, including their freshman orientation at Camp Bournedale; checking in with them daily to support their endeavors; and communicating with their parents about their progress. White has also taught seminars for juniors in college essay writing and has coached Middle School tennis in the spring. White enjoys talking with young people interested in Thayer and hearing about their experiences, interests, and aspirations. White's wife Deb teaches and coaches at an independent elementary school. Their two sons Ben ’09 and Jonathan Traylor ("T") ’11 and their daughter Mollie ’15 are all Thayer Academy graduates.