The Charles River School Board of Trustees Appoints Gabe Burnstein as the School’s 11th Head of School

The Board of Trustees is thrilled to announce the appointment of Gabe Burnstein as Charles River School’s next Head of School, beginning July 1, 2023. The Board unanimously approved the Search Committee’s recommendation to appoint Gabe as the school’s 11th Head of School, following an eight-month search process that included many members of the CRS community. 
 
“We are overjoyed to welcome Gabe to CRS,” says Leslie Jackson Judge ’91 P'24 '26, President of the Board of Trustees. “During his time on campus, Gabe was thoughtful and engaging in his conversations with teachers, parents, and students. It is clear that he is passionate about student-centered progressive education, as well as Charles River School’s commitment to community, equity, and belonging. We know he will bring a strong vision as an educator and leader.”

Gabe currently serves as the Middle School Director for The Gordon School in Providence, R.I., and brings to CRS nearly 20 years of experience working as a teacher, advisor, coach, consultant, and leader in independent schools. He began his career at Campbell Hall School in California, where he redesigned the curriculum as a humanities teacher to include collaborative, project-based learning. At Campbell Hall, Gabe also served as a junior high advisor and dean of students. He joined The Gordon School’s faculty in 2008 as a humanities teacher and eighth-grade advisor. For 10 years in the classroom, Gabe taught with an emphasis on multicultural practice, social justice, and inclusion. He led the eighth-grade Civil Rights trip to Alabama and Georgia, and he co-coordinated the eighth-grade Service Learning Program. Gabe also served as a facilitator for Gordon's Institute on Multicultural Practice and for a White Affinity Group.
 
In 2018, Gabe was appointed the Middle School Director at Gordon School. In this leadership role, he hires, supervises, and evaluates faculty and oversees student schedules and support systems. He manages the middle school budget, facilitates restorative justice practices, and makes disciplinary decisions. Throughout the pandemic, Gabe coordinated the Middle School Online Learning Community and Gordon@Home program. Also during his time at Gordon, he has served as the Faculty Board Representative, a member of the Leadership Team, the Finance Committee, the administrative liaison for the Personnel Committee, the Diversity Committee, and the Anti-Racism Working Group for White Parents.
 
Gabe grew up in Michigan and earned a bachelor’s degree in English and Film at The University of Michigan. He went on to earn his master’s degree in Independent School Leadership at Teachers College, Columbia University. During his impressive career in education, Gabe has presented at numerous workshops and conferences and served as a consultant to schools across the country on policies and teaching practices related to diversity, equity, and belonging. 
 
We would like to thank the CRS community for enthusiastically participating in this selection process and providing invaluable feedback. We would also like to thank the members of the Search Committee for their extraordinary service and dedication to Charles River School. 
 
As we celebrate this exciting appointment, please join us in congratulating Gabe and welcoming him, along with his wife Rebecca and their four children, Remy (age 15), Moses (age 6), Juliette (age 6), and Max (age 2), to the CRS community.

A Letter to the Community from Gabe:

Dear Charles River School Community, 

At the conclusion of my three-day visit to Charles River School in early May, I was picked up by an Uber driver in the parking lot. As the car pulled away, I craned my neck to get one last look at the campus. The driver’s Spotify played Coldplay’s ubiquitous pop song Something Just Like This:
 
I want something just like this
I want something just like this
Ooh, I want something just like this
Doo-doo-doo, doo-doo-doo
Doo-doo-doo, doo, doo, 
 
By the time it got to the “doo-doo-doo” part, I was “doo-doo-dooing” along. The song captured my feelings… almost exactly. But not exactly. Because I didn’t want to be part of something like Charles River School. 
 
I wanted to be part of Charles River School. 
 
And so I write to you today with deep gratitude. When I left campus soaring, I was certain that Charles River School is a perfect match for my values as an educator. I am honored to serve the community as the next Head of School. 
 
This match was obvious the first time I read the mission statement. It was obvious on my campus tour when I saw the walls and hallways decorated with proud PreK/K self-portraits, the sixth-grade interdisciplinary “Times Ten” sculptures, and covers of fifth-grade books that allow each student to see a reflection of their own stories and identities while learning about experiences different from their own.
 
Every time I turned a corner or listened to another community member, my enthusiasm grew…
 
I was moved when faculty spoke about the children in their care – consistently holding students’ needs at the center of their thinking. 
 
I could feel the love and warmth of the community in the voices of parents, as they described why they chose CRS for their children. 
 
I felt hopeful when I met with a group of students over lunch and saw that, at Charles River School, academic excellence holds hands with the joy of childhood all the way to age 14. Their combination of curiosity, empathy, and optimism is exactly what our world needs right now. 
 
For my wife Rebecca and me, CRS also aligns with our hopes for our own young children. This is not a school where students simply acquire knowledge and skills to use for their own self-interest; it is a shining example of what is possible in progressive education—a community where students build skills and are empowered to use them to “shape the future of a diverse world.” 
 
I am so fortunate to be passed the baton from Gretchen Larkin, and I am grateful for her leadership. Education is a relay race, and we will continue to feel the wind at our backs thanks to her work. I also want to thank the Board of Trustees for their thoughtful stewardship of Charles River School. 
 
Finally, I want to thank the members of the Search Committee for the grace and care with which they led the search process. I want to thank them, the Board of Trustees, the administrative team, faculty, staff, families, alumni, and students for already making my family feel so welcome in our new school home. 
 
I look forward to seeing you all very soon. 
 
With gratitude,
Gabe
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Charles River School is a PreKindergarten through Grade 8 independent school that honors the pursuit of academic excellence and the joy of childhood. We nurture each child by igniting curiosity, encouraging creativity, and cultivating intellectual engagement. Our graduates know themselves, understand others, and shape the future of our diverse world with confidence and compassion.

Charles River School admits students of any race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin in administration of its educational or admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.