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F. Christopher Goins Named President of Girard College

Equity-focused educational leader built a national reputation at Thrive Chicago in partnership with Obama Foundation My Brother’s Keeper Alliance

Philadelphia, PA (April 25, 2022) – The Board of Directors of City Trusts today announced that it has named F. Christopher Goins, a renowned visionary educational leader from Chicago, to become the next President of Girard College, the historic boarding school in North Philadelphia that provides free education for disadvantaged children from single-parent families.

Photo of F. Christopher Goins

Chris Goins is a nationally recognized equity-focused educator whose career has been devoted to expanding opportunities for children, especially for Black and Brown children from under-served communities. As the Chief Equity Officer for Thrive Chicago, Chris built the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance for the Obama Foundation, helping youth service organizations across the city expand programs and services for boys and young men of color (BYMOC).

An educator by training, Chris also founded the renowned Butler Prep School in Chicago, designed to improve academic and career outcomes for children from disinvested communities. Since its founding in 2013, Butler Prep has been recognized as the highest-performing non-selective high school in Chicago and throughout the state of Illinois, empowering the lives of over 700 students annually.

Goins was selected by the Board of Directors of City Trusts following a six-month national search led by the Girard College Presidential Search Committee, comprised of Board members, Girard faculty and alumni. During the search, the Committee considered more than 50 candidates interested in leading Girard, the private boarding school that provides tuition scholarships and five-day room and board for 300 students from single parent families.

“We are very excited to welcome Chris Goins as Girard’s next President,” said Lynette Brown-Sow, Chair of the Board’s Girard College Committee. “Chris is an inspirational educational leader whose professional career has been focused on helping children and young people achieve success in life.

“We had the good fortune to be able to choose from a large pool of very talented candidates,” Brown said. “In the end, it was clear that Chris’ skills as a visionary leader who inspires others to partner with him in helping young people reach their potential makes him the best choice to lead the new Girard College.”

“I am truly blessed to be selected as the next President of Girard College,” said Goins, who is excited to relocate to Philadelphia as he prepares to assume the presidency on July 1st. “This is the single most important milestone in my professional journey and I do not take it lightly. I stand on the shoulders of giants in the educational space and I plan to bring all of their wisdom and knowledge with me to benefit the beautiful minds at Girard College.”

Goins credits his supportive village of family, mentors and friends; both Dudley High School and NC A&T State University in Greensboro, NC; the University of Cincinnati, Noble Schools in Chicago, Chicago Public Schools, the Surge Institute and his fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated as the teachers who deserve all the credit.

“My educational career has been focused on improving outcomes and expanding opportunities for young people, especially for students of color who have very little choice in their educational options. Girard College is uniquely positioned to effect transformational change because it is one of the most unique educational models in the entire world, which will continue achieving racial equity and economic mobility for the children it serves, and I am very excited for the chance to lead this effort.”

The Board’s selection of Goins underscores its renewed commitment to make Girard a model for academic excellence in residential education while also expanding and strengthening partnerships that can enable the school to serve as a “campus for the city” in furtherance of its educational mission.

“It’s a new day at Girard College,” said Brown-Sow, “and it is fitting that we have a dynamic new President to lead us into what we believe will be a very bright future.”

A teacher by training, Goins comes to Girard after serving most recently as the Chief Equity Officer of Thrive Chicago, a non-profit focused on strengthening the capacity and performance of youth-serving organizations citywide. Thrive’s principal partnerships include the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance of the Obama Foundation, for whom Goins led the creation of the MBK Chicago Action Team, a coalition of nearly 60 grassroots leaders from 90 organizations who collectively design strategies to drive expanded opportunities for BYMOC. In addition to raising unprecedented levels of private funding support for the MBK Chicago community, Goins cultivated the launch of impactful partnerships with Chicago Public Schools, Teach for America, Represent Justice, City Colleges of Chicago, Loyola University, and the University of Illinois at Chicago. As part of this work, Goins led to the creation of the nation’s first citywide initiative to grow the number of BYMOC to become teachers and school leaders.

From 2012-2019, Goins was the Founding Principal at Butler College Prep, where he led the design of the school’s academic model, created an identity-centered school culture, generated impressive private funding support and recruited top-flight faculty and staff to help lead Butler’s mission of improving academic outcomes for children. Since 2013, Butler Prep has consistently been recognized for achieving outstanding student outcomes, having been named as the highest performing non-selective school in the state.

Before his work at Butler, Goins served as the Director of the federally funded Upward Bound Program at Mt. St. Joseph University in Cincinnati, where he oversaw Upward Bound’s summer academic prep program aimed at improving academic performance low-income, first-generational high school students. From 2006-2009, Goins was Deputy Director of the W.E.B. DuBois Academy in Cincinnati, where as director of the school’s operations he oversaw the recruitment, retention and professional development of faculty while also leading a series of highly successful grant funding opportunities. While in Cincinnati, Goins earned a Master’s Degree in Urban Educational Leadership from the University of Cincinnati.

After his college graduation from North Carolina A&T University, the largest HBCU in America, where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree with a double major in History and Secondary Education, Goins started his career as a Civics and AP Government and Politics teacher at his alma mater, James B. Dudley High School in Greensboro, N.C. In 2005, he became the youngest “Teacher of the Year” for Guilford County schools and coached the four-time national championship step and dance team, the UMOJA Male Step Team.

“Chris Goins is an outstanding educator whose focus on changing outcomes for all children is mission-aligned with our goals for the students of Girard College,” said Bernard W. Smalley Esquire, President of the Board of Directors of City Trusts. “On behalf of the Board, we look forward to working with Chris to expand the mission of Girard as a ‘campus for the city’ that impacts the lives of children and families throughout Philadelphia and beyond.”

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