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Boston Arts Academy honors founding headmaster through endowment

Posted by Johanna Kaiser  March 26, 2013 09:09 AM

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As the founding headmaster of the Boston Arts Academy settles into a new position, supporters of the city’s only public arts school are making sure the support and guidance she offered teachers continues.

Linda Nathan, who helped found the school 15 years ago, stepped down from her position as Headmaster of Boston Arts Academy last year to become the executive director of the Center for Arts in Education.

Now, the school is honoring her by establishing a permanent endowment in her name that will support teachers’ professional development.

The Linda F. Nathan Fund for Teachers will help pay for summer professional development courses and programs of study for teachers.

The endowment focuses on teacher support and development as a tribute to Nathan's mentorship of countless teachers over the years.

“Teachers are at the center of everything good about education,” Nathan said by phone before a reception in her honor at the Citi Wang Center earlier this month. “There’s so much in the world today about standardized tests and all this quantitative data, but the real way schools improve is by passionate teachers who get lots of support.”

In her new role, Nathan now works to spread the school's best practices around the country.

“There’s tons of ways to keep kids engaged in school…but the arts are truly holistic and immersive," said Nathan, who described the school's mission "putting arts in the hands of urban kids who don’t have a lot of artistic or academic experience and they can rise to great heights.”

The school, which does not consider academic background in the admission process, sends over 94 percent of its graduates to college.

"We know early on we needed a school that would look for passion, not necessarily skill, but passion," Nathan said. "Boston didn’t need an exam school for arts.”

The school has been offered a Challenge Match Grant from anonymous donors that will match all contributions up to $50,000 in order to establish a $100,000 endowment.

"The endowment will hopefully allow others to follow in her footsteps," Tony James, chairman of the school's board of trustees, said at the reception.

E-mail Kaiser at Johanna.yourtown@gmail.com. For more news about your city, town, neighborhood, or campus, visit boston.com’s Your Town homepage.

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