A Message from Jim Kitendaugh

Dear Fenn Alumni, Parents, and Friends,

I'm delighted to let you know that at its most recent meeting, acting on the unanimous recommendation of the Search Committee, the Board of Trustees voted—also unanimously—to appoint Derek R. Boonisar as the next Head of The Fenn School, effective July 1, 2018.

As many of you are aware, over the past three months Derek has gone through a rigorous process of personal, in-depth interviews with the Search Committee; extensive surveys and feedback forms; and many small group sessions with faculty and staff, trustees, alumni, and parents. During the course of this process, the Search Committee of thirteen—nine Trustees and four faculty and staff—held a series of in-depth discussions to assess and discuss Fenn's needs for the future and Derek's candidacy as Fenn's next Head of School.

The Search Committee and the Board of Trustees were enormously impressed with Derek's deep knowledge of Fenn and understanding of Fenn's school culture, developed and honed over his twenty-two years of service to Fenn as teacher, advisor, coach, Director of Secondary School Placement, Upper School Division Head, and Assistant and Associate Head of School; his commitment to middle school boys' education; his outstanding ability to communicate with every part of Fenn's diverse constituency; his excitement regarding Fenn's future; and his ability to balance continuity and change. It was also clear to the Search Committee and the Board that Derek is held in very high regard by many, many members of the Fenn community. (A letter from Derek follows, and a brief biography is also attached.) 

My deepest thanks go to the Search Committee, wonderfully and wisely led by Kevin Parke as its Chair, and particularly to the faculty and staff members who served on the Committee—Tory Hayes '02, Veronica Jorge-Curtis, Elise Mott, and John Sharon—whose thoughtful contributions were vital to the Committee's discussions. For the next fifteen months all of us in the Fenn community are doubly blessed to benefit from the leadership, wisdom, and expertise of Jerry Ward through June of 2018 and to look forward to Derek Boonisar's "arrival" as Fenn's next Head of School in the summer of 2018.


Jim Kitendaugh  P'97, P'05                            
Chair, Board of Trustees                    

Dated April 18, 2017

Dear Members of the Fenn Community:

I am honored to be appointed the sixth Head of School in Fenn's history and am brimming with excitement to steward this wonderful school beginning in July 2018. Since Jerry Ward announced in November his intention to retire at the conclusion of the 2017-18 school year, I have had the opportunity to engage in various forums with many Fenn constituents across the decades. These conversations, which have ranged in topic from the strategic to the operational, have been invigorating and rooted in the deep, abiding love we all share for Fenn. It is unique, I believe, for a school serving boys in grades four through nine to generate for so many such a powerful, unwavering sense of connectivity and appreciation, yet that is what the brilliantly distinctive Fenn School does. As I prepare to assume leadership responsibilities fifteen months from now, I am committed to concurrently preserving and growing Fenn's culture and program to best position the School for ongoing success.  

Twenty-two years ago I visited Fenn as a candidate for a position teaching Latin in the Middle and Upper Schools, advising in grade eight, and coaching three sports. I was struck immediately by the clarity of Fenn's mission and the effective application of its philosophy as it prepared boys for the road ahead. Dedicated faculty and staff and bright boys of sound character were at the heart of the experience and brought the School to full bloom for me that day. Many years later Fenn continues to thrive. We are fully enrolled with boys of tremendous promise, our caring faculty and staff believe in the importance of educating boys specifically in their elementary and middle school years, our broad program is robust in each dimension, we have made impressive strides with diversity initiatives, and our beautiful Monument Street campus is remarkably well situated to best serve our boys.

Accompanying the strength of Fenn's current position must be a mindfulness toward enhancement and evolution. Roger Fenn founded a school in 1929 on the premise of using progressive yet proven methods of instruction and operation. Previous Heads of School have carried Roger's ideology forward, as will I. Guided by and adhering to the goals of the long-range plan, I will strive to balance innovation with tradition while carefully protecting the unique culture of the Fenn that we all love.

This past week has been a joyous one for me and my family. There have been many handshakes and many hugs from people, affirming once again the amazingly caring community that is Fenn. Celebratory as today may feel, there is much work to be done and the months between now and July 2018 will quickly peel away as focus is placed on the transition. To those of you whom I have not yet met, I look forward to the opportunity of establishing a relationship with you soon. To those whom I have met or already know well, I look forward to strengthening the connection we already have. Until then, Sua Sponte!


Derek R. Boonisar      

Dated April 18, 2017

Read Derek's Biography

Read Archived Messages from Jim Kitendaugh and Jerry Ward


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An Independent Day School
for Boys Grades 4-9

516 Monument Street, Concord, MA 01742

Tel: (978) 369-5800 Email:  info@fenn.org

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