Heads Up to the New Head of School

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Students want these traits in their next leader. (Source: Selina Tang (II))

By Quyen Vo (III) and Olivia Chen (VI)

The Head of School Screening Committee and the Boston Public Schools School Site Council selected Jason Gallagher (‘91) as the new leader of Boston Latin School.

Established two months ago as a means for BLS to have a voice in the hiring process for the next Head of School, the screening committee included a wide range of voices, from parents, to faculty, to students. 

A member of the committee, Classics teacher Mr. Patrick Finnigan, explains, “With my alumnus hat on, I want someone who both understands and appreciates the history and tradition of BLS, with its many complexities, while also having a clear vision to continue the work [Head of School Rachel] Skerritt has done to move our school forward.”

Applicants have demonstrated their experience and leadership throughout the search for a qualified candidate. The committee members, however, also sought out traits beyond those outlined in the job description. Approachability, care for the community and adaptive thinking were all valuable attributes, but were difficult to gauge based on merely a Zoom meeting. 

Guidance counselor Ms. Elyce Sweeney says, “It is important to me that our next Head of School shares that commitment to relationship-building and creating a welcoming environment for all.”

The committee reviewed résumés and held virtual interviews to reduce the applicant pool to two finalists. After conducting final interviews with them, Superintendent Brenda Casselius appointed Jason Gallagher to the position.

Mr. Gallagher is the current principal of Charlestown’s Harvard-Kent School and was an Assistant Director in the BPS Office of Special Education. He is also a 1991 BLS graduate and parent of two BLS alumni.

Despite the confidential nature of the selection process, BLS students have voiced their views on the school’s future. Many have remarked that the new Head of School should continue Skerritt’s geniality and support of student initiatives.

Elizabeth Noronha (V) notes, “I liked how I saw [Ms.]Skerritt at almost every school event. She went above and beyond to communicate with students and make everyone feel welcome.” 

Uncertainty is a common feeling in the BLS community with the announcement of a new Head of School. This is also the last month in which Skerritt and Assistant Head of School Jonathan Mulhern will serve at BLS.

Mark Snekvik (IV), a student representative on the screening committee, says that he is “nervous but optimistic” about the new year. The dramatic change in leadership marks an ending, but also a new beginning for BLS.