Head of School Search

Dear Benchmark Community:
 
Following a comprehensive five-month search process, I am pleased to announce that the Board of Trustees has unanimously selected Chris Hancock as Benchmark School’s third Head of School, effective July 1, 2020.
 
Chris stood out among a field of 50 qualified candidates and brings an extensive background in independent school education. As a mentor and an administrator, an academic advisor and a coach, he has dedicated a majority of his career to supporting children who learn differently. Chris’s consistent, collaborative, and forward-thinking leadership will help Benchmark strive toward continued excellence into its 50th year and beyond.
 
Chris began his career in 2003 at Eagle Hill School in Hardwick, Massachusetts, where he most recently served as Assistant Head of School for Student Life. There, Chris helped a team implement what has become a nationally recognized human development curriculum. His team also oversaw the Creativity, Activity, and Service component of the school’s International Baccalaureate Program—the first of its kind among schools serving students with learning differences. He also led SPARK, a research-based initiative that correlates physical activity with mental acuity, designed in partnership with Harvard professor Dr. John Ratey.
 
Chris has also served as Director of Development at the Rudolf Steiner School in New York City; Director of Development and Alumni Relations at The Sage School in Foxboro, Massachusetts; and Assistant Director of Admissions and Diversity Coordinator at Cushing Academy in Ashburnham, Massachusetts. He holds a B.A. in Economics from Haverford College and an Ed.M. in School Leadership from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Educational Leadership at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education.
 
Chris’s leadership style, vision, and understanding of our school and its founding values will help shape our community for years to come. I am immensely grateful to the Head of School Search Committee and to our community for your support during this exciting time in the school’s history. Your continued involvement, feedback, and collaboration helps to ensure that Benchmark fulfills its aim of developing learners, thinkers, and problem solvers—now and in the future.
 
Warm regards,
Benjamin B. Rogers '95
Chair, Board of Trustees
Chair, Head of School Search Committee

A Message from Chris Hancock, Our Incoming Head of School

Dear Benchmark Community:

I have been blessed thus far in my professional life to work with educational institutions that have wisely challenged a few, fundamental assumptions about learning to improve student outcomes. They were innovative. They were continuously learning. Most of all, they were focused on caring, mutually respectful relationships among faculty, staff, students, and the wider school community. I am beyond excited and humbled to join Benchmark—a community that has these qualities in abundance.

Benchmark has stood as a beacon in the educational community for 49 years, demonstrating an uncompromising commitment to the understanding that all students can learn. The teacher-student engagement that undergirds that seemingly simple, yet pioneering principle is palpable. Similarly, the spirit emanating from the hallways and classrooms is profound. I felt it within my first few minutes on campus and it has yet to dissipate. I suspect there are thousands of stories you can share that bring to life those transformative experiences and emotions. I am eager to hear all of them.

Let us not forget that Irene and Robb Gaskins established the foundation for such a community and, in doing so, helped define a generation of teaching and learning. As we look to a bright Benchmark future, we rightly honor their legacy with every child’s accomplished smile, every milestone reached, and every return visit from present and future alums. We ensure their legacy endures by leaping confidently into the next 50 years of internationally recognized educational excellence, together.

Only together can we successfully hold onto the core strengths of Benchmark’s research-based education. Only together can we leverage the remarkable talents of our teachers to seek groundbreaking new ways to build upon an already life-changing model. Only together can we continue to ignite all possibilities previously unimagined. It is a unique privilege to lead that collective effort.
 
Sincerely,
Chris Hancock

SEARCH COMMITTEE

Committee Chair
Benjamin B. Rogers ’95 
Chair, Board of Trustees

Committee Members
Wendi Chase
    Trustee, Alumni Parent
W. Gregory Coleman
    Trustee, Former Staff Member
Dr. Eleanor Gensemer, Ed.D.
    Head of Middle School
Nicholas Kemp
    Trustee, Alumni Parent
Julie Mattaliano
    Lower School Head Teacher
 Dr. Leroy Nunery II, Ed.D. 
    Trustee
James Viner
    Trustee, Current Parent
Roberta West 
    Trustee, Alumni Parent