Boston College’s Lynch Leadership Academy, established by a $20 million gift from Carolyn A. and Peter S. Lynch, is marking its first decade of training and supporting principals from Catholic, public, and charter schools.

Jenne Colasacco

Lynch Leadership Academy Executive Director Jenne Colasacco

A pioneering endeavor of the Carroll School of Management, LLA brings together principals and school leaders from Greater Boston and the state’s 26 Gateway Cities, and focuses on equity-centered and instructional leadership, and executive management as keys to school transformation.  Gateway Cities are midsize urban centers such as Brockton, Lawrence, New Bedford, and Springfield that historically provided residents with a path to the American dream, but continue to face persistent socioeconomic challenges resulting from dwindling industrial jobs.

Currently led by Executive Director Jenne Colasacco, LLA annually admits approximately 30 fellows based on nominations from superintendents and leaders in the Catholic, public, independent, and charter school sectors. The fellows, who range from new leaders to veteran principals from underserved communities where executive leadership skills and educational excellence make a critical difference, attend a leadership retreat, a two-week summer institute, monthly workshops, and regular sessions with leadership coaches.

After the fellowship, LLA alumni are offered regular opportunities for professional development, and most importantly, are part of a vibrant community of educational leaders who collaborate and support each other to best serve their communities.  To date, more than 250 fellows from some 120 schools have participated.

“The principal is the key individual who can affect everyone in the school,” said Peter Lynch ’65, H’95, P’01, the former vice chairman of Fidelity Management and Research Company, when the gift was announced in 2010.  “Carolyn and I have always looked for ways in which we can help provide opportunities for young people to have meaningful lives. For us the essential ingredient is education, and this academy will help to improve educational leadership at public, charter and urban-centered parochial schools.”

“Principals have one of the most demanding and important jobs in America,” said Carolyn Lynch H’09, P’01 at the same event. “My father was a lifelong educator and principal, so I know how critical it is that they receive the best training and support available.”

Carolyn and Peter Lynch

Carolyn and Peter Lynch

The LLA is among the many examples of the Lynches’ generous support of educational initiatives and beneficence to BC and Boston’s urban Catholic schools. Carolyn Lynch, who with her husband co-founded the Lynch Foundation in 1988 and served as its chairman and president, died in October 2015.

Speaking at the LLA’s fifth anniversary celebration, Peter Lynch—a long-time BC trustee and current trustee associate—described the couple’s funding of the academy as “the best thing we’ve ever done.”

“We are incredibly grateful for the support of the Lynch Foundation and all of our partners,” said Jenne Colasacco, executive director of the Lynch Leadership Academy. “The LLA has grown from our first cohort of 20 principals to working with 235 leaders during this academic year alone through our expanded program offerings, which in turn impact over 50,000 students. We’re looking ahead to partnering with even more leaders and school communities in Massachusetts.”

 Phil Gloudemans | University Communications | April 2021