Former Boston schools superintendent Michael Contompasis will serve as interim headmaster at Boston Latin, the nation’s oldest high school.
Contompasis, a 1957 graduate of Boston Latin, served as headmaster of the school from 1976 to 1998. He served as chief operating officer of Boston Public Schools before serving as district superintendent from 2005 to 2007. Since leaving the district, he had worked as a field consultant for Mass Insight Education, a Boston-based group that works to improve low-performing schools.
Boston Superintendent Tommy Chang appointed Contompasis and also named longtime Boston schools educator Jerry Howland, a 1966 Boston Latin graduate, as interim associate headmaster. Change expressed hope that the two will restore calm to a school that has been roiled by students’ claims of racial hostility and an administrative shakeup.
The U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts is investigating recent complaints of racism at the highly competitive exam entrance school, which was founded in April 1635.
The school’s headmaster and assistant headmaster resigned last week amid the racial tension. Chang expects to appoint their permanent replacements in March 2017.
“I have every confidence that Mr. Contompasis and Mr. Howland will ensure that BLS, as a historic institution, both upholds its tradition of unparalleled academic excellence and serves as a model of a safe and welcoming environment for all,” Superintendent Chang wrote in a letter to Boston Latin parents. “They have dedicated their lives to educating students in Boston and have a thorough understanding of the unique issues currently facing Boston Latin.”
A version of this news article first appeared in the District Dossier blog.