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
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