Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


July 12, 2012

Digital-age leader arrives at historic Phillips

John G. Palfrey Jr., the 39-year-old author, Harvard law professor and scholar, reported to Phillips Academy July 2 to begin his new role as head of school.

He succeeds Barbara Landis Chase, who retired after serving for 18 years.

Palfrey is just the 15th head of school in Phillips Academy's 234-year history. He is certainly the first to enter with his own blog, Twitter following and Facebook page.

His formal investiture is planned for Sunday, Sept. 23 on campus.

Prior to joining the private high school known throughout the world as "Andover," Palfrey was the Henry N. Ess III Professor of Law and Vice Dean for Library and Information Resources at Harvard Law School.

"A recognized thought leader in the field of internet law, intellectual property, and on the impact of digital technologies on societies and education, Palfrey served as the executive director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard from 2002 to 2008, where he secured millions of dollars in funding for and oversaw programs to examine the far-reaching effects of the internet and digitized information on commerce, governance and education," reports the school in describing his arrival.

Palfrey is the author or co-author of several books, including one released just last month titled "Interop: The Promise and Perils of Highly Interconnected Systems." Previous works include "Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives" and "Access Denied: The Practice and Politics of Global Internet Filtering."

Anticipating the start of his tenure, Palfrey said he is looking forward to "joining a spirited, dedicated, and inquisitive community whose long-held values are lived each day. Core values — non sibi, goodness and knowledge, youth from every quarter — form the bedrock of Andover. How can we build upon these precepts to prepare students for a world marked by globalization and innovation? Andover is the kind of place that can ask and answer these questions, and it is exciting to think where those conversations may lead."

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