Letter from Rabbi Marc Baker

Dear Gann Community,

It is with both excitement and a heavy heart that I share the news that I have accepted the position as the new President and CEO of Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston (CJP) to begin this summer. Below you will also find a letter from the current and incoming Presidents of our Board of Trustees.
 
The decision was an incredibly difficult one, but I believe the right one for me personally and for Gann. 

I love this school. It is my 11th year as Head of School, and, until the CJP opportunity came up, I could not imagine why or when I would ever leave. There could be no better environment in which to “grow up” as a Head of School, surrounded and supported by an extraordinary Board of Trustees, talented and devoted colleagues, passionate and intellectually curious students and alumni, and engaged and supportive parents.
 
Together we have created one of the finest Jewish high schools in the world and have educated, inspired, and empowered thousands of confident and ethically responsible Jews who will create a vibrant Jewish future and build a better world. Gann’s mission has become my mission: to inspire the next generation, to strengthen the Jewish People, and to improve the world. And that’s precisely why the CJP opportunity called to me. In many ways, it feels as if my entire personal and professional journeys have been leading up to this point, to the opportunity to build on all that I have learned and the groundbreaking work we have done together at Gann.
 
The CJP position is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have a profound impact on thousands of lives, to help mobilize the Greater Boston Jewish community, and to build communities of learning and action that strengthen Jewish life across the world. It is a chance to further my own growth as a leader and a teacher to help the CJP organization evolve and respond to the unique challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.
 
I have never been more confident that our school is ready for this moment and this leadership transition. Our school and its leadership have always been about a mission, vision, and values that are larger than any one person. Thanks to our Board of Trustees and Senior Leadership Team, we have been preparing for leadership succession—at every level of the school—for years now. We have a transition plan in place that will ensure stability and continued progress on all fronts, from the execution of our strategic plan to the management of the day-to-day operations.  Additionally, leadership succession brings new thinking, fresh perspectives, and a different array of capacities, all of which will be exciting for our Gann community.
 
I feel deeply connected to so many of you—students, parents, alumni, community members—and I want to nurture those relationships even as I leave 333 Forest Street. While I will not be walking the halls of Gann on a daily basis, my priority will be to continue to work directly with Gann’s leaders and across the community to keep Gann and all of our Jewish day schools strong and thriving. As a community, our day schools are educating the future leaders of our community, the Jewish People, and the world, and we need to work together to ensure that the entire community understands how essential they are for our future.
 
As I contemplate this incredible new opportunity and responsibility, I am filled with gratitude for our Gann community, gratitude that I hope to find many ways to express in the coming months. I feel humbled to have had the privilege of leading this institution for the past 10 years and excited about the next stage of my relationship with Gann, both as a parent for many years to come and in my new role. My wife Jill and I love being part of this community, and there is no other high school in America where we would want to educate our children.
 
Over the next several months, I will work closely with our Senior Leadership Team and Board of Trustees to seamlessly implement the transition plan and ensure that this change is a positive one for the entire Gann community for the coming year and long into Gann’s future. Ultimately, our leadership today will be measured by how strong our school remains for decades to come, and I have complete faith that we have built a foundation—of excellence, values, vision, and leadership—that will endure.
 
With gratitude and love,

 


Rabbi Marc Baker

Letter from the Board of Trustees

Dear Gann Academy Community,
 
You have just read the heartfelt words from Rabbi Marc Baker, our Head of School, about his selection as the next President and CEO of Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston (CJP). He will remain as Head of School through this academic year and will assume the position with CJP in July 2018. We would like to share with you some thoughts about Marc’s news and our plans for the future. 
 
Having worked closely with Marc for many years, we are very proud to see him tapped for this role and recognized for the combination of vision, intellect, and compassion that we so appreciate at Gann.  Marc has inspired our community, nurtured a caring and reflective culture of learning and growth, and been committed to excellence for our students. And he has cultivated a fabulous faculty and staff and an extraordinary leadership team, all of whom are committed to these same values.
 
It is no surprise that CJP selected him considering his incredible leadership of Gann. We are confident that his tenure at CJP will greatly strengthen the Boston Jewish community and the other institutions which many of us support, including Gann.
 
This event is not a complete surprise to our Board. As you can imagine, over the last several years, Marc has been recruited for a number of prestigious positions—locally, nationally, and internationally. The Gann Board of Trustees has been dedicated to ensuring that Gann is in a position of institutional strength, including the establishment of a strong and stable leadership team, a durable culture and environment of excellence, and a long-term vision and strategy that are not reliant on any one individual.
 
We are particularly proud that Gann has attracted, developed, and retained an extraordinary faculty and staff who are intensely focused on the student experience and on the improvement and growth of the school. Collectively, the Board, faculty, and staff remain devoted to the shared culture and core values that are the bedrock of the Gann community, the basis for our student and family experience, and the source of our educational innovation. 
 
Moreover, Gann has developed a uniquely strong and collaborative group of academic and organizational leaders in our Senior Leadership Team. Together, they bring nearly a century of combined experience to the work of the school and provide extraordinary leadership in pedagogy, academic innovation, operations, community engagement, Jewish life, and more. The Board and the Senior Leadership Team have deep and trusting working relationships with each other.  
 
Many of you may have questions about the next few months, so let us answer some preliminary questions and outline the process going forward.
 
Marc will remain at Gann full-time through the remainder of this academic year. He is also not going far, and we know that he will continue to remain a part of our community and is invested in the future of the school for many years to come. 
 
As we plan ahead, the Gann Board will host a number of gatherings for the Gann community during the next several months. These sessions will provide opportunities to discuss our priorities for Gann, and its next Head of School and will offer the Gann community a forum to share thoughts and questions. 

These meetings will also be the first stage of a formal search for what we know will be a highly coveted job as the next permanent Head of School. The Gann Board is committed to conducting an open, transparent, and comprehensive national search process that will enable us to continue the school’s history of extraordinary leadership. We anticipate identifying the next permanent Head of School during the 2018-2019 academic year and for this leader to start with us in the summer of 2019. We are confident that, in light of Gann’s exemplary reputation and institutional strength, we will be successful in recruiting another world-class Head of School.
 
Meanwhile, we are already working on an interim leadership plan for the 2018-2019 school year.  This interim plan is being developed and implemented in partnership with Gann’s strong Senior Leadership Team and will take advantage of those talents and other expertise. We look forward to sharing this plan as soon as it is ready.  
 
Gann has a critical mission and is on a strategic “Journey to Extraordinary.” We will continue to fulfill that mission and to complete that journey over the next months and years. We are looking forward to our third decade with excitement and confidence, and we believe that our growth and accomplishments to date are a precursor to even greater success in the future. Thank you for your passionate dedication to Gann Academy and for your support during this exciting and important moment for Gann and for our entire community.
 
On behalf of the Gann community, please join us in wishing a huge mazal tov to Marc. We promise an opportunity to celebrate his many contributions later this spring.   
 
If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to email us at: leadership@gannacademy.org.
 
Sincerely, 


Frank Litwin
Board President


Scott Cohen
Board President-Elect

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