BOSTON – The acclaimed North Bennet Street School (NBSS) has selected Sarah Turner as the institution’s next President, effective December 1. Turner will spearhead expansion of the School’s public programs and community partnerships within the craft-education world, while continuing the School’s 137-year legacy of training students for careers in traditional trades and fine crafts.
From its beginnings as a settlement house offering vocational training, NBSS has become a unique, professional craft school, recognized internationally for its excellence as a learning institution. The School offers nine full-time programs—Bookbinding, Carpentry, Cabinet & Furniture Making, Jewelry Making & Repair, Locksmithing & Security Technology, Piano Technology, Preservation Carpentry, and Violin Making & Repair—in addition to dozens of continuing education classes. Since 1881, America’s first trade school remains committed to fostering individual growth, attention to detail, and technical mastery.
Turner brings more than 20 years of experience in contemporary craft and design, as an educational leader, instructor, and artist at a number of celebrated institutions, including Cranbrook Academy of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Oregon College of Art and Craft, and the State University of New York at New Paltz. Notably, at Cranbrook, Turner redesigned the Academic Programs and implemented an international Teaching fellowship to bring art and design thinkers to studio practice. Turner also launched a new public lecture series, instituted regular symposia on changing topics, and developed new community and institutional partnerships.
“My heart lies in leadership work; helping studio-craft institutions draw together the contributions of all members to make something unique, useful, and forward-looking,” says Turner. “The strong sense of this, past and present, at North Bennet Street School drew me to the position. I am excited to get started on bringing about new connections and ideas.”
Turner has unique perspective on an educating artisans. She earned a BA in Sociology from Smith College, a Certificate in Metalsmithing from the Oregon College of Art & Craft, and an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art.
According to Marc Margulies, Chair of the School’s Board of Directors, the nationwide search for a new President resulted in dozens of well-qualified candidates before Turner’s selection. “Sarah has the training, experience, and passion necessary to lead the institution,” he says. ”We are thrilled to have her as our next president. She understands the context of teaching in a workshop, knows first-hand the details of running a postsecondary school, and appreciates the significance of a career in craft and the trades.”
Turner succeeds Miguel Gómez-Ibáñez, the School’s first leader to also be a graduate, who will retire in December. Among other accomplishments, during his successful 12-year tenure Gómez-Ibáñez secured and led the renovation of the School’s new 64,000 sf facility, established multiple strategic partnerships, and oversaw the School’s recent $20 million fundraising campaign, which will help to fund $1 million in student scholarships annually.
“This transition is coming at an ideal moment,” adds Margulies. “Sarah inherits an institution with a tremendous legacy and bright future, supported by a dedicated community of alumni, donors, and friends. The Board looks forward to working with her to enhance the School’s presence, reputation, and impact in the world.”
About North Bennet Street School
North Bennet Street School (NBSS) trains students for careers in traditional trades that use hand skills in concert with evolving technology, to preserve craft traditions and promote a greater appreciation of craftsmanship. Since 1881, America’s first trade school remains committed to teaching the whole person while fostering individual growth, attention to detail, and technical mastery. The private vocational school’s programs and experienced faculty draw students worldwide who graduate with the skills, tools, and practical understanding needed to build self-sufficient, meaningful, and productive lives. For more information, visit: www.nbss.edu.