Dr. Linda F. Nathan
2011 Passion for Action Leadership Award Recipient
Dr. Linda F. Nathan is the founding headmaster of the Boston Arts Academy, the city's first and only public high school for the visual and performing arts. Under her leadership, the school has won state, national, and international recognition, including a Massachusetts Compass Award, a "Breaking Ranks" award from the National Association of Secondary School Principals, and a Mentor School award from the Coalition of Essential Schools. BAA sends well over 90 percent of its graduates—all residents of the city of Boston—to college.
Dr. Nathan was instrumental in starting Boston's first performing-arts middle school and was a driving force behind the creation of Fenway High School, recognized nationally for its innovative educational strategies and school-to-work programs. She is also a co-founder and board member of the Center for Collaborative Education in Boston, a nonprofit education reform organization dedicated to creating more equitable and democratic schools.
She was named 1990 Teacher of the Year by Channel 5's "Chronicle" in Boston, and from 1995 to 1998 she served on the National Academy of Sciences' Commission for the Science of Learning. In 2003, Dr. Nathan received the Nadia Boulanger Educator's Award from the Longy School of Music for her work in arts education. In 2007, she was named a Barr Foundation fellow for her work in social entrepreneurship and leadership. In 2009, she received the Godine Medal for service to the community by Massachusetts College of Art and Design.
Dr. Nathan has published widely on issues of school reform and arts education. She is the author of the book The Hardest Questions Aren't on the Test: Lessons from an Innovative Urban School, which was published in 2009 by Beacon Press.
Fluent in Spanish, she has worked on issues of school reform in Puerto Rico, Brazil, Argentina, and Colombia. In 2006, Dr. Nathan presented at UNESCO's World Conference on Arts Education in Lisbon, Portugal. She is a lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where she teaches a course titled Building Democratic Schools.
Dr. Nathan earned a bachelor's degree at the University of California, Berkeley, a master's in education administration at Antioch University, a master's of performing arts at Emerson College, and her doctorate in education at Harvard University.