John Palfrey P’21

Educator & author, historian & innovator, John Palfrey is devoted to Andover’s highest ideals.

John Palfrey assumed the role of Phillips Academy’s 15th Head of School on July 1, 2012. Prior to joining the Andover community, he was the Henry N. Ess III Professor of Law and Vice Dean for Library and Information Resources at Harvard Law School. He served as executive director of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society from 2002 to 2008.

Palfrey has published extensively on how young people learn in a digital era, as well as the effect of new technologies on society at large. He is the author or coauthor of several books, including: Safe Spaces Brave Spaces: Diversity and Free Expression in EducationBorn Digital: How Children Grow Up in a Digital AgeBiblioTech: Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever in the Age of GoogleInterop: The Promise and Perils of Highly Interconnected SystemsIntellectual Property Strategy, and Access Denied: The Practice and Policy of Global Internet Filtering.

Outside of his work at Andover, Palfrey is chair of the board of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and LRNG. He serves on the board of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, School Year Abroad, and MIT Press. He is a former board member and the founding chair of the Digital Public Library of America and has served on the boards of the Ames Foundation, Data & Society, and Open Knowledge Commons, among others.

Palfrey joined the Harvard Law School faculty after practicing law at Ropes & Gray in Boston. He was a visiting professor at the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland during the 2007–2008 academic year. He also served as a special assistant at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency during the Clinton administration.

A teacher, author, and innovator, Palfrey has earned praise for his books and scholarly work, as well as his teaching. The Bok Center at Harvard recognized him in 2007 for Distinction in Teaching. In 2005, he earned a Dean’s Commendation for Excellence in Teaching from the Harvard Extension School.

Palfrey holds a JD from Harvard Law School, an MPhil from the University of Cambridge, and an AB from Harvard College.

This is a place where we all rise up together, where we all support one another in the pursuit of our dreams.

John Palfrey Head of School
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