Lynches make $20 million gift to BC education program

CHESTNUT HILL -- A new educational leadership academy -- the first in the nation to jointly train and support new principals from Catholic, public and charter schools -- will be established at Boston College's Lynch School of Education thanks to a $20 million gift from Carolyn A. and Peter S. Lynch, long-time supporters of educational initiatives and benefactors to Boston College and Boston's inner-city Catholic schools.

The gift will create the Lynch Leadership Academy, a two-week summer professional development opportunity for public, private, and charter school leaders.

The Lynch Leadership Academy will award 25 fellowships annually, accepting nominations from superintendents and leaders in the Catholic, public and charter school sectors. The fellows will attend a leadership retreat, a two-week summer institute, monthly workshops, and weekly sessions with leadership coaches, as well as participate in an online community to foster ongoing communication and networking among the fellows. Upon completion of the program, the fellows will receive three graduate school credits and a Certificate in School Leadership.

Fellows will be drawn from the leadership of Boston's public and charter schools, as well as the 135 schools of the Archdiocese of Boston. Lynch School Dean Father Joseph O'Keefe, SJ, estimates that within the first five years approximately 45 percent of these school leaders will have graduated from the Lynch Academy.

In addition to the faculty and staff of the Lynch School, the Lynch Leadership Academy will include faculty from BC's Carroll School of Management, Winston Center for Ethics and Leadership, Connell School of Nursing, Graduate School of Social Work, and its law school, as well as successful school leaders from Boston-area Catholic, public and charter schools.

The Lynches have played a critical role in the advancement of BC's Lynch School, which is named on their behalf following a gift of more than $10 million in 1999, and some of its signature initiatives, including the Urban Catholic Teacher Corps and the Collaborative Fellows Program, both housed at Boston College. The Urban Catholic Teacher Corps provides numerous teachers for the Boston Catholic schools while studying for their master's degrees at Boston College on scholarship. The Collaborative Fellows Program has awarded approximately $3.3 million in grants during the past 11 years that have connected BC education faculty with Boston teachers and administrators in more than 18 schools on multi-year teaching and research projects.

The Lynches were among the earliest donors to City Year and Teach for America and were founders of the Boston Library Foundation. They have been longtime supporters of the Boys and Girls Clubs, the Boston Plan for Excellence in Public Schools, the Campaign for Catholic Schools, and the Inner-City Scholarship Fund while leading the 20-year effort to raise over $100 million for scholarships.

"Even though I grew up in a single-parent household because of the early death of my father, I received a great public school education, as did my wife, Carolyn," said Peter Lynch. "Education has always been our biggest concern. The United States is the only industrialized country in the world where children are less likely to graduate from high school than their parents. That is what we are trying to combat. We feel that this leadership academy is the best way to make a lasting difference by helping to provide every child with the same quality educational opportunity regardless of race, religion or national origin."

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