ADAMS — After more than a decade at the helm, the founding executive director of the Berkshire Arts & Technology (BART) Charter Public School is moving on.
Julia Bowen will step down at the end of the school year to "explore a new career direction," the school announced on Wednesday afternoon. Her resignation is effective June 20, 2017.
"Over the past 13 years, I have had the privilege of leading the school through its inception and growth to a high-quality institution that is truly changing students' (and families') lives," Bowen wrote in an open letter to the community.
In a statement, BART board of trustees Chairman Charles Swabey said that Bowen provided ample notice for the school to form a search committee for her replacement and ensure an easy transition. The committee will consist of members of the board, parents, faculty and students, according to the announcements. The board will select one of three finalists chosen by the search committee.
As its first executive director, Bowen oversaw the college preparatory school through its formative years after opening in 2004.
"The board is mindful that BART's achievements would not have been possible without her," Swabey said. "Julia found the school's facility and oversaw multiple renovations and expansions, opened the school in 2004, recruited and developed a high-quality administrative team, and led improvement in student growth and performance that has earned BART numerous recognitions."
Unable to open its home at One Commercial Place in time, the school began its first year by leasing space within Mount Greylock Regional High School in Williamstown. It opened the current building in 2015.
Most recently, Bowen led the school through the $4.5 million expansion of its facilities in downtown Adams, including a 10,500-square-foot addition to the existing 33,000-square-foot main building and a 5,500-square-foot renovation that was completed in 2015.
Swabey credited Bowen with helping the school raise more than $1 million for the recent expansion.
"I have had the privilege of working alongside an incredible team of educators and staff members who care so passionately about students," Bowen wrote. "And I have had the privilege to represent this amazing school to the broader community, always aware that the real work is what happens each and every day in the classroom and by the staff members who keep the school running."
Contact Adam Shanks at 413-496-6376.