Head of School
Chris Kolovos is the Head of School at Boston University Academy. Since joining BUA in the summer of 2020, Chris has led the school’s evolution in ways designed to serve its exceptional students and build on the school’s traditional strengths: a more global, diverse humanities curriculum that puts the Western canon in conversation with other traditions; a new academic schedule with later starts and longer class periods; a faculty evaluation and professional growth program; creation of a Director of Equity and Inclusion role; a significant increase in the numbers of faculty of color; learning opportunities for BUA students in departments and interdisciplinary centers at Boston University; emerging partnerships in the City of Boston; and a strategic vision guiding BUA’s path to 2030. A dramatic rise in applications since 2020 aligns with Chris’s commitment to ensuring that all families of exceptionally kind, curious, and capable students in the Boston area consider BUA as an option. Major increases in fundraising during Chris’s tenure have also led to a significant expansion of professional development funding, renovations to all classroom spaces, and growth in financial aid – allowing BUA to admit every qualified applicant regardless of the family’s ability to pay.
Prior to BUA, Chris served for seven years as the Associate Head of School at Greens Farms Academy in Connecticut where he oversaw the school’s academic program. He began his teaching career at Belmont Hill School where he served for nine years as a history teacher, department chair, and Director of Global Education.
A son of Greek immigrants, Chris grew up in the Boston suburbs. He attended Roxbury Latin School and then Harvard College as a first-generation college student. He later earned a law degree at Harvard, while serving as Coordinating Editor of the Harvard Law Review. He lives outside of Boston with his wife Tracey, son Charlie, twin daughters Penny and Maggie, their dog Circe, and their cat Chester.
Associate Head of School
Greens Farms Academy
Director of Global Education
History Department Chair
Belmont Hill School
Harvard Law School
JD, cum laude, 2003
AB, magna cum laude, 1998
Roxbury Latin School
Magna cum laude, 1994
Interview with Chris Kolovos
What drew you to BUA?
The values, the people, and the promise. The school’s values are my values: unapologetically high academic standards, the celebration of intellectual curiosity, an understanding that innovation and tradition go hand in hand, a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, and a deep belief that students learn and grow best when the adults in their lives know and love them. During my visits, I met students, faculty, staff, alums, parents, and administrators at BU and BUA who live these values every day. I learned everything I needed to know about the culture over lunch with a group of students who not only debated ideas about the future of the school with clarity, rigor, and passion, but also took the time to respect and take care of one another during that conversation. Plus, they were enjoying every minute! And there is so much promise for the future — the chance to leverage all these strengths, including the connection with a world-class research university, to serve our students well for generations to come and further establish the reputation of this tremendous school in the broader marketplace. I am so honored to have the chance to join the BUA community.
Why are you an educator?
Independent schools changed my life. Both my parents emigrated from Greece, having grown up in a small village outside of Sparta. While neither attended college, they believed in the power of education. With their support, I found my way from public schools to Roxbury Latin, which opened my eyes and opened doors for me that may have otherwise been shut. My parents’ sacrifice gave me the education they never had. I left high school with a deep conviction that serving others is a key to living a life of purpose, and that conviction led me to a career in schools. I knew a long time ago that life in schools was for me, but, for years, I pursued careers in business and law, paths perhaps more typical for a son of immigrants. Sixteen years ago, I stepped off the legal track to return to the kind of community that gave me so much. I have never looked back. I am convinced that school leaders have a special role to play in shaping school culture, expanding access, and ensuring sustainability so that our schools can continue to serve students for generations to come. That, to me, is a life well lived.
What do you love most about schools?
The students. Every day for the past sixteen years, they have reminded me that I made the right career choice. Even now, as my duties mainly revolve around leadership, I make time to teach one class, coach a soccer team, and make cameo appearances in musicals whenever the casts will have me! That engagement makes me a far better — and happier — leader.
What would you like BUA families to know?
The one promise we can and must make to our families is that we will know and love their children. Research and experience tell us that young people learn best when they feel safe and known as individuals. Families choose independent schools because they value the close relationships between students and teachers, because they know that our schools will make sure that each student is challenged up to the level of his or her abilities, and because we care about and nurture the whole person. One of the things I admire most about BUA is that it lives up to these expectations every day, largely due to this extraordinary faculty. And it is joyful work.
What does the future hold for BUA?
BUA is poised to thrive in its next twenty-five years. It begins the next leg of its journey from a position of strength. It boasts a well-deserved reputation for academic excellence and stoking intellectual curiosity; a college list that many schools would envy; healthy and growing demand in admission; a dedicated and energized faculty and staff; and a wonderful sense of tradition. Perhaps BUA’s greatest differentiator is being part of a world-class research university. BUA offers the best of both worlds. It is a small, family-style, caring community of teachers and students, which also offers students access to everything BU has to offer, from robotics labs, to athletic facilities, to advanced classes, to thesis research with experts in their fields. Now is the time to build on those strengths — innovate in a way that is consistent with our traditions, deepen connections to all that BU has to offer, expand access to fully live up to our mission — all while staying focused on our main goal: serving the students under our care. I look forward to telling the school’s compelling story in the Boston area and throughout the region.
Are there any books you have read recently that you would recommend to BUA students?
An Odyssey by Daniel Mendelsohn. I’ve always loved classics, and they play an important role in the life of BUA as well. Mendelsohn, who is a classics scholar and professor, tells the story of his father auditing his course on The Odyssey, weaving his family’s story with an analysis of the epic poem. Beautiful, sometimes funny, sometimes sad, and always thoughtful.
What would you like to share about your family?
My wife Tracey and I both grew up in the Boston area, Brookline and Dedham respectively. We have both devoted our lives to serving young people: Tracey is a child and adolescent psychiatrist working, most recently, in an emergency room. We live with our young son, Charlie, and five-year-old rescue dog, Circe, who is named for the character in The Odyssey (with apologies to Game of Thrones fans for any confusion).
Reflection from Chris Kolovos – February 2020
Student Interview with Chris Kolovos – November 2019
Letter from Chris Kolovos to the BUA Community – June 2019
Memo from BU Provost Jean Morrison announcing appointment of Chris Kolovos
BU Today article about Chris Kolovos