March 05, 2019

Andover announces leadership transitions

John Palfrey to conclude successful tenure this summer; Amy Falls named President-Elect; Jim Ventre named interim head
by Tracy Sweet

Phillips Academy, Andover, announced a series of leadership transitions today. Head of School John Palfrey plans to conclude a successful seven-year tenure this summer to become President of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The board also voted unanimously to name Amy Falls ’82 President-elect of the Board of Trustees. She will succeed Peter Currie ’74, whose term will conclude June 30, 2020.

Amy Falls ’82

Falls’s first priority will be to chair the search for a new Head of School, a process that will begin this spring. To ensure consistently strong school leadership during this transition, trustees have named Jim Ventre ’79 Interim Head of School for the 2019-2020 school year. This will allow Andover to maintain an accelerated pace around its highest priorities, including the Knowledge and Goodness campaign. A graduate of Dartmouth College, Ventre is a seasoned administrator who has risen through the ranks of the Phillips Academy Admission Office and is currently assistant head of school for admission and financial aid.

Falls holds degrees from Georgetown University and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Her professional experience includes positions with Morgan Stanley as managing director and global fixed income strategist. Prior to becoming Rockefeller University’s chief investment officer, her current role, she was Andover’s first CIO from 2005 to 2011.

“Amy is a devoted trustee with strategic vision, financial savvy, and exceptional ability to engage and motivate others,” said Currie. “She has served for seven years as a charter trustee and currently serves with Joe Bae ’90 and me as co-chairs of the Knowledge and Goodness campaign.”

Falls will become the first woman to lead Andover’s board of trustees. Her outstanding record of service has earned high praise across generations of alumni and parents. Her leadership on the campaign front has meant personal investment in Andover’s future, as well as strategic involvement in all facets of planning and execution.

John Palfrey

Under Palfrey’s leadership, Andover continues to excel, completing or making significant progress on every aspect of its 2014 Strategic Plan. “As Andover prepares to move from strength to strength, we celebrate John’s tenure and a school in excellent shape,” said Currie. “With record applications and enrollments year over year, the demand for an Andover education has never been higher.”

Thanks to skilled management and the generosity of donors, Andover’s financial health is strong, with an endowment that has grown from $785 million to more than $1.1 billion since 2012.

Working with the campus community, Palfrey has placed student health and wellness above all else and advanced the academic program so that every child has the support and resources they need. The Rebecca M. Sykes Wellness Center, new athletic facilities, and a revitalized library are examples of facilities designed to match the caliber of an exceptional program.

“Academic life is rigorous as ever with innovations in teaching and learning central to the enterprise,” added Currie. “The Tang Institute has awarded dozens of faculty fellowships, forged partnerships with entities like Khan Academy, and created online and hybrid courses.”

“John has guided Andover with vision, compassion, and the highest integrity,” said Falls. “His departure will be bittersweet, but we are also excited for John as he pursues an incredible opportunity with one of the nation’s preeminent foundations. We are also grateful to Jim for stepping in as Interim Head of School. We are confident that the leadership team will continue to advance Andover’s highest priorities. They won’t miss a beat.”

Jim Ventre ’79

“Andover is an incredible school with unmatched talent and resources. I have felt privileged to be part of this community, and will remain connected as a parent,” said Palfrey. “I will miss my daily interactions with students—our time together in class, on the courts, and in the dining hall, their cheerful greetings on the pathways,” said Palfrey. “I will miss the adults in our community who pour their hearts and minds into this extraordinary place.”

“Behind every successful endeavor is a devoted and experienced team,” he added. ‘No one does Andover alone,’ we often say. That is especially true for this Head of School.”

Categories: Leadership

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