As the new Upper School principal of CCSC, Chris Cook has a pretty good idea of what he’s getting himself into and he loves it.
Reared in a family of teachers - his grandmother, mother, and two aunts are all professional educators -
Mr. Cook has wanted to be a principal since he was 13. “I know how influential a figure the school principal can be,” he says. “I want to truly impact kids’ lives. The passion I have for education derives largely from the content of the interactions my family had in regards to education, and my family’s belief in the transformative power of education.”
This is his first year as principal of CCSC’s Upper School. He replaces Caleb Hurst-Hiller, who has been promoted to Head of School.
The Long Island, NY native graduated from Northeastern University with a degree in Sociology and later earned his master’s degree in School Leadership at Harvard University.
“In August of 2007 I began my career as a teacher at Boston Preparatory Charter Public School in Hyde Park, MA,” Mr. Cook says. “In four years at Boston Prep, I worked with sixth graders through 12th graders. I served these students in the role of teacher, detention administer, athletic director, special educator, and coach. After four years, I decided to enroll in a masters program that would prepare me with the skills necessary to be a school leader. I decided I was ready for the training to be what I had always wanted to be.”
For Cook, there is nothing more satisfying than witnessing a student, “through their own blood, sweat, and tears”, make progress. “Sometimes the progress students make is from day to day. Sometimes the progress students make is from week to week. However, when a student progresses and there is notable growth over years, that's the best.“
He says being a good principal is a lot like being a good business leader. “Like great business leaders, school leaders embody their school’s mission, set clear rules and model them, welcome differences, build powerful relationships, have courageous conversations, cultivate talent and individual improvement, spread responsibility, and evaluate themselves and their schools making changes as warranted. Good leaders across all professions share these characteristics. School leaders, at least good ones, are no different.”
Mr. Cook, an active member of the Massachusetts Charter School Athletic Organization, says one of his goals is to increase the extra-curricular activities and opportunities available to CCSC students.
Mr. Cook says he is really excited to be joining CCSC at a time of when the school is fast becoming known as one of the area’s premier college preparatory programs for 7th-12th grade students. “CCSC is on its way to becoming one such school, and I came here - rather than going to a school that would require a major reset - to help fine-tune what's going on here. The best part about coming aboard at CCSC is that the team is so strong, and the kids we serve are so great! It's rare to find a team that is as strong as the one here. It's rarer to find a team that is so focused on improving. That's why it's great to be here. CCSC has a great team.”