New President announcement
After a rigorous nationwide search, NBSS has found a dynamic, thoughtful leader who can articulate the value of a skills-based education, and build on the institution’s 137-year tradition of excellence. We welcome visionary educator and artist Sarah Turner as the next President of North Bennet Street School.
North Bennet Street School Names Sarah Turner as New President
Recognized Educational Leader and Artist to Carry On 137-Year Craft and Trade Legacy
BOSTON – The acclaimed North Bennet Street School (NBSS) has selected Sarah Turner as the institution’s next President, effective December 1. Turner will spearhead expansion of the School’s public programs and community partnerships within the craft-education world, while continuing the School’s 137-year legacy of training students for careers in traditional trades and fine crafts.
From its beginnings as a settlement house offering vocational training, NBSS has become a unique, professional craft school, recognized internationally for its excellence as a learning institution. The School offers nine full-time programs—Bookbinding, Carpentry, Cabinet & Furniture Making, Jewelry Making & Repair, Locksmithing & Security Technology, Piano Technology (Basic & Advanced), Preservation Carpentry, and Violin Making & Repair—in addition to dozens of continuing education classes. Since 1881, America’s first trade school remains committed to fostering individual growth, attention to detail, and technical mastery.
Turner brings more than 20 years of experience in contemporary craft and design, as an educational leader, instructor, and artist at a number of celebrated institutions, including Cranbrook Academy of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Oregon College of Art and Craft, and the State University of New York at New Paltz. Notably, at Cranbrook, Turner redesigned the Academic Programs and implemented an international Teaching fellowship to bring art and design thinkers to studio practice. Turner also launched a new public lecture series, instituted regular symposia on changing topics, and developed new community and institutional partnerships.
“My heart lies in leadership work; helping studio-craft institutions draw together the contributions of all members to make something unique, useful, and forward-looking,” says Turner. “The strong sense of this, past and present, at North Bennet Street School drew me to the position. I am excited to get started on bringing about new connections and ideas.”
Turner has unique perspective on an educating artisans. She earned a BA in Sociology from Smith College, a Certificate in Metalsmithing from the Oregon College of Art & Craft, and an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art.
According to Marc Margulies, Chair of the School’s Board of Directors, the nationwide search for a new President resulted in dozens of well-qualified candidates before Turner's selection. “Sarah has the training, experience, and passion necessary to lead the institution,” he says. ”We are thrilled to have her as our next president. She understands the context of teaching in a workshop, knows first-hand the details of running a postsecondary school, and appreciates the significance of a career in craft and the trades.”
Turner succeeds Miguel Gómez-Ibáñez, the School’s first leader to also be a graduate, who will retire in December. Among other accomplishments, during his successful 12-year tenure Gómez-Ibáñez secured and led the renovation of the School’s new 64,000 sf facility, established multiple strategic partnerships, and oversaw the School’s recent $20 million fundraising campaign, which will help to fund $1 million in student scholarships annually.
“This transition is coming at an ideal moment,” adds Margulies. “Sarah inherits an institution with a tremendous legacy and bright future, supported by a dedicated community of alumni, donors, and friends. The Board looks forward to working with her to enhance the School’s presence, reputation, and impact in the world.”
About North Bennet Street School
North Bennet Street School (NBSS) trains students for careers in traditional trades that use hand skills in concert with evolving technology, to preserve craft traditions and promote a greater appreciation of craftsmanship. Since 1881, America’s first trade school remains committed to teaching the whole person while fostering individual growth, attention to detail, and technical mastery. The private vocational school’s programs and experienced faculty draw students worldwide who graduate with the skills, tools, and practical understanding needed to build self-sufficient, meaningful, and productive lives. For more information, visit: www.nbss.edu.
Sarah Turner, NBSS President-Elect
As an educator, leading from both the office and the studio, Sarah Turner has worked at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, the Rhode Island School of Design, the State University of New York at New Paltz and the Oregon College of Art and Craft. As the Dean at Cranbrook, Sarah directed the Academic Programs of the Academy, including a ‘public-lecture-as-variety-
In addition to her work in education, Sarah has maintained a studio practice rooted in craft. Trained initially in metalsmithing and jewelry, her work has ranged from woodworking to weaving to printmaking – always with a focus on the meanings inherent to objects and materials. Her artwork has been included in exhibitions nationally and internationally, including the Museum of Art and Design in New York, the National Ornamental Metal Museum in Memphis, Galerie Noel Guymarc’h in Montreal, and The Society of Arts and Crafts in Boston.
Sarah has been a volunteer and advisor for a variety of organizations, including the Southeast Michigan Fulbright Association, the Vermont YWCA, the Art Jewelry Forum, and the Society of North American Goldsmiths.
Born and raised in Ohio, Sarah received a Bachelor's Degree in Sociology from Smith College and a Certificate in Metalsmithing from the Oregon College of Art & Craft. She earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from Cranbrook Academy of Art.
- September 2018 Internal Announcement Letter
- May 2018 Search Announcement
- May 2018 Position Summary
- April 2018 Search Timeline
Dear NBSS Community:
For many months now, we have searched for a new President to lead NBSS following Miguel’s retirement at the end of this year. An extremely dedicated Search Committee, headed by Charlie Kline (Former Chair of our Board of Directors), worked with executive recruiting firm Korn Ferry to judge the merits of dozens of capable candidates with diverse experience across industries. Together they poured over dozens of resumes, narrowing the field to several well-qualified individuals. The resulting interviews took place in a crowded Shaw conference room, with your representatives—NBSS faculty, staff, alumni, and board members—considering the “fit” of each candidate for this important next step in our shared future.
The Search Committee and Board of Directors have unanimously agreed upon a superb candidate to be the next President of North Bennet Street School. Today, we are pleased to report that Sarah Turner, whom most of our Staff and Faculty have already met, has enthusiastically accepted our offer.
During the interview process, it became clear to us that Sarah has the training, experience, and passion necessary to lead our institution. She has a spent her professional life working in the world of contemporary craft as an educator, administrator, leader, curator, and artist. Because of this, she understands the context of teaching in a workshop, knows first-hand the details of running a postsecondary school, and appreciates the significance of a career in craft and the trades. For these reasons and more, we could not ask for a better leader for the next chapter of NBSS. You can learn more about Sarah here.
In Sarah’s own words, “I am honored to be invited as the next President of NBSS. While I’ve been both a maker and an educator, my heart lies in leadership work; helping studio-craft institutions draw together the contributions of all members to make something unique, useful, and forward-looking. The strong sense of this—past and present—at NBSS impressed me and drew me to the position. It is exciting to anticipate the work and ideas we’ll share.”
From all of us on the Search Committee and Board of Directors, a heartfelt thank you to all Faculty and Staff for your insight and wisdom during this presidential search. We know Sarah inherits an institution with a tremendous legacy and bright future, supported by a community of passionate, experienced, and dedicated professionals.
While Sarah’s official start date is Monday, December 3, she’ll be onsite for weeklong stints each month before then. Check back soon for planned presidential events and activities, including ones focused on Miguel's retirement at the end of December.
Thank you for the opportunity to be a part of this moment, and to represent your interests throughout. We look forward to continued success at NBSS in the months and years to come.
Presidential Search Committee
Board of Directors
Dear NBSS Community:
As you may already know, after twelve years of spectacularly successful leadership at NBSS, Miguel Gómez-Ibáñez will be retiring as President of the School in December 2018.
Miguel’s long-planned decision to start his next chapter comes at a time when the School is positioned remarkably well thanks to the many accomplishments of the past decade, including the relocation to North Street. We are deeply grateful for Miguel’s profound commitment to the School and his leadership over the past twelve years.
The Board of Directors has begun a search for the next President of NBSS. We are looking for someone who will embrace both the 137-year history of the School and who can help craft a strategy for a future of continued excellence. The Board has formed a Search Committee, chaired by Charlie Kline and comprised of trustees, and representatives of the faculty and staff, to undertake the search process. The Search Committee has hired Korn Ferry as our Executive Search Firm to serve as our partner, help guide the search, and to develop the description of the position. If you know of potential candidates, please forward their names to Rosa Morris (Rosa.Morris@KornFerry.com) for consideration.
While Miguel plans to step down at the end of 2018, he has agreed to continue to lead the School until such time as we find the perfect person to fill his shoes. Meanwhile, Miguel is focused on the completion of our $20 million endowment campaign this year. This campaign will strengthen the School financially and increase our ability to offer financial aid to talented students – both important priorities for Miguel’s presidency.
Needless to say, we will plan a wonderful celebration of Miguel for later this year. We are all deeply indebted to him. Meanwhile, as Miguel would be the first to remind us, we have much yet to accomplish in the remainder of 2018!
Marc Margulies, Board of Directors Chair
One of the nation’s oldest schools for hands-on training in traditional trades and fine craftsmanship, North Bennet Street School (NBSS) is internationally known for its programs. For more than a century, the exceptional programs, master faculty, and inspiring community have provided students with the skills to lead meaningful careers. NBSS is a non-profit institution that offers a welcoming and collaborative environment in Boston's North End. The nine full-time programs include Bookbinding; Cabinet & Furniture Making; Carpentry; Jewelry Making & Repair; Locksmithing & Security Technology; Piano Technology (Basic & Advanced); Preservation Carpentry; and Violin Making & Repair.
The next President has the opportunity to build on the institution’s 137-year tradition of excellence and its unsurpassed reputation in its field. The President will lead the institution by embracing change as well as tradition in a world in which education is being reinvented. He or she will position NBSS and craft education in a changing context for post-secondary education, vocational training, and workforce development. The next chapter of NBSS should include the expansion of its reach and external brand to a broader audience through increased enrollment, expanded continuing education opportunities, existing and new partnerships, full utilization of the facility, and exploration of online distance learning. Without losing what makes NBSS distinctive today, the next leader will need to evaluate the role of digital tools for teaching, learning, external positioning, and administration. A priority of the next President will be to develop a financial and organizational model which recognizes and leverages the size and scale of NBSS and secures its future.
NBSS seeks a dynamic leader with vision who has a demonstrated record of innovation and successful performance in an academic or nonprofit setting or similarly complex organization. The successful individual should demonstrate inspirational leadership, business acumen, and strategic direction for the institution.
The successful candidate must be a compelling and energetic external voice and advocate for the goals of NBSS to a variety of audiences and be able to leverage opportunities in the area of development and fundraising. The President must have an entrepreneurial spirit, guided by the ability and willingness to identify new approaches that can transform and cultivate excellence. He or she must understand the history of NBSS, uphold its traditions, and represent the broad interests of the institution. This next leader should have a nuanced understanding of how technology and learning can intersect. He or she must be an outstanding and self-confident communicator, in both oral and written form, with an ability to listen to and nurture relationships within the NBSS community.
It is essential that the next President be able to articulate the value of skills-based education through his or her own work, education, and/or meaningful experience with a trade. An advanced degree is not required.
North Bennet Street School is an equal opportunity employer, and we welcome applicants of all backgrounds to apply for employment at the School.
Presidential Search Committee
McKey Berkman BB ’11*
Ann Cahoon JM ’02, Department Head
Bruce Dayton, Campaign Committee Co-Chair, Board of Directors Vice-Chair*
Claire Fruitman CF ’96, Provost
William R. Hettinger CF ’07, Board of Advisors Member
Charles L. Kline CF ’05, Search Committee Chair*
MaryJane Kubler, KublerWirka Strategic Advisors
Marc Margulies, Board of Directors Chair*
Geneva Thorndike CF ’16, Campaign Committee Co-Chair*
Rosa Morris, Principal at KornFerry
* Board of Directors Member