BART taps Southern Vermont College provost as new leader

ADAMS — Berkshire Arts & Technology Charter Public School has tapped a top administrator at Southern Vermont College in Bennington as its new executive director.

James "Jay" C. White II will take the reins at the Berkshires' only charter school beginning in the 2017-18 school year.

"We're just very excited and we consider ourselves very lucky," said Charles Swabey, chairman of BART's board of trustees on Wednesday.

With a career spanning more than 30 years in the field of education, White currently serves as the provost and dean of the college, and as a professor of physics.

He will succeed Julia Bowen, BART's founding executive director, who announced last year that she would be leaving the position in July after more than a decade to pursue other opportunities.

White, who could not immediately be reached on Wednesday, is set to begin at BART in mid-June, briefly overlapping with Bowen's tenure to ensure a smooth transition.

"As a seasoned administrator, I enjoy working closely with colleagues to improve and advance programs and whole institutions and to make more evocative and powerful the education we provide," he said in a prepared BART release.

The nine-member search committee for Bowen's replacement, formed in the wake of her announcement last October, focused on finding a candidate that could meet the position's three main requirements: an ability to to fundraise, experience as an administrator, and a background in education.

White had all three.

"He was the whole package," Swabey said. "We had fully expected that we may have to compromise somewhere."

Of the 29 applicants to the position, few had a deep background in education along with the skill set for fundraising.

"It's not a massive part of our budget, but when our times are tight, it's something we look to," Swabey said.

The all-volunteer search committee, which consisted of four trustees, a teacher, a parent, an administrator and a community member, selected three finalists who were brought on a daylong visit to BART and a final interview with the board of trustees.

"BART Charter Public School is an important institution, and I am absolutely thrilled to help the teachers and families of the school's students help these children emerge as the great souls we know they are," White stated.

White is an astrophysicist with a doctorate from Indiana University Bloomington, according to his biography on the Southern Vermont College website.

His career highlights include teaching science and mathematics the Linden Hall boarding school and serving as chief academic officer and a physics professor for Washington & Jefferson College and Gettysburg College.

White will become only the second-ever executive director at the school, which serves all of Northern Berkshire County and Pittsfield.

Bowen, who Swabey described as the "soul" of the school, was brought on in 2003.

"She's done a tremendous job and is leaving the school in a really good position," Swabey said.

Reach staff writer Adam Shanks at 413-496-6376 or @EagleAdamShanks on Twitter.


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