The Worcester Academy Board of Trustees today announced the selection of Massachusetts native Kevin J. Breen as the Academy’s 32nd Head of School, effective July 1, 2021. Mr. Breen, head at the Marshall School in Duluth, MN, for the past eight years, and former director of enrollment at the Brooks School in North Andover, will succeed Worcester Academy Head of School Ronald M. Cino, who will remain in the post through June 30.
Breen’s selection was the culmination of a nationwide search that the Worcester Academy Board of Trustees undertook earlier this year after Cino notified the board he intended to step down at the end of the 2020-2021 school year. The search committee, under Puryear’s leadership, began its work in earnest with 51 applicants from across the country eventually being pared to just four before finally recommending that the job be offered to Breen.
Worcester Academy trustees voted to affirm the search committee’s recommendation Oct. 16, voting unanimously at its Annual Fall Meeting to offer the position to Breen.
Breen, in his acceptance letter, thanked the board for the trust and confidence it has placed in him and said he is looking forward to the opportunity to “join a community with so much forward momentum.”
“It is an honor and a privilege to accept your offer to serve as Worcester Academy’s 32nd Head of School,” Breen said. “As I wrote in March, every quality we seek in each other at this time of global crisis is inherent in the Mission of Worcester Academy. Indeed, if ever there was a time for ‘Achieving the Honorable,’ it is now.
“Dana and I are eager to begin a new journey with the dedicated team in place at Worcester Academy--a place with a rich history, a bright future, and an inspiring Mission,” he said.
The Worcester Academy Mission is as follows: Worcester Academy exists to instill in its students the desire to learn throughout life, to engage passionately with the world around them, and to be honorable persons of strong and resourceful character.
GRADUATE OF WESTWOOD PUBLIC SCHOOLS
A Massachusetts native, Breen, 53, went to public schools in Westwood and graduated with a B.A. in American Studies from the University of Notre Dame and an M.A. in Writing from DePaul University. With more than 30 years of experience in education and independent schools, he has served in various leadership positions, including associate head of school for external relations and director of enrollment for the University Liggett School in Michigan, and director of admission and financial aid at the Brooks School in North Andover. He also served as a dorm parent and English Department Chair while at Brooks.
During his tenure at the Marshall School, Breen is credited with leading a successful capital campaign, renovating facilities, expanding its international boarding program, cutting attrition, introducing successful new tuition strategies, and raising faculty salaries.
Founded in 1904, the Marshall School has 352 students in grades 4-12 from two states and eight countries. The school’s 40-acre campus overlooks Lake Superior and downtown Duluth.
Worcester Academy, founded in 1834, serves 513 students in grades 6-12 (and postgraduates) with students from 20 countries, 12 states, and 96 cities and towns in Massachusetts. A local school with an international reputation, the Academy encompasses 70+ acres on two primary campuses. Its historic main campus is situated on Union Hill just above the popular Canal district, home of the new Worcester Red Sox stadium that is under construction.
Interestingly, the athletic teams at both schools are called the “Hilltoppers.”
DECADE OF GROWTH
Head of School Cino, following today’s announcement, said he is excited about the next decade and a half leading up to the Academy’s 200th anniversary, a milestone it will achieve in 2034, and believes Breen will do a good job.
“The Board of Trustees conducted an excellent search process, and it yielded a great result,” Cino said. “I look forward to working with Kevin during the transition.”
Over the last decade, many physical improvements have been made at Worcester Academy, including the renovation of Walker Hall on the historic main campus and the construction of the Worcester Academy Performance Center on South Campus. Another significant accomplishment was the completion of the Academy’s $52.5M capital campaign in 2016.
Cino, who has served as Worcester Academy head of school since 2012 (he also served as acting head during the 2010-2011 school year), has held various Academy leadership roles, including associate head of school and head of the upper school. He started at Worcester Academy as head of College Counseling in 2001.
The Worcester Academy Board of Trustees expressed its gratitude to Mr. Cino for his leadership and for his unwavering dedication and service to the Academy, particularly in challenging times.
“In the coming weeks, we will assemble a team to assist with the transition and welcome of Kevin, and his wife, Dana, to Worcester Academy to help ensure Kevin’s successful preparation and onboarding into his new role,” the board letter read.
The board also thanked the search committee for its work. In addition to Puryear, board search committee members included Jamie Lavin, Meg O’Leary, and David Shamoian.