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F. Christopher Goins will be Girard College's next president. Photo Courtesy of Girard College.
F. Christopher Goins will be Girard College's next president. Photo Courtesy of Girard College.

Girard College names F. Christopher Goins its new president

The nationally recognized equity-focused Chicago educator will lead the college, effective July 1.

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A months-long national search has concluded, as Girard College has announced F. Christopher Goins as its next president.

He will succeed incumbent president Heather D. Wathington, who stepped down last summer after accepting a position as the new CEO of mentorship nonprofit, iMentor. James D. Turner has been serving in an interim capacity since.

Goins is a nationally recognized equity-focused educator who has built his career through his devotion to expanding opportunities for children, particularly children of color from underserved communities. 

With Girard College’s legacy in North Philadelphia as a private boarding school that provides free education for disadvantaged children from single-parent families, Goins leadership and history seems like a great fit to lead the college. 

He is currently the Chief Equity Officer for Thrive Chicago, a dedicated group of individuals committed to collaborative work, creative problem solving, and breaking down systemic barriers. All of which is done with an eye toward achieving equity for young people and communities. 

Goins also built the My Brother’s Keeping Alliance for the Obama Foundation, which helps youth service organizations across the city of Chicago expand programs and services for boys and young men of color. 

An educator by training, Goins is the founder of 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 entire state of Illinois. It has empowered the lives of over 700 students annually.

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

Goins was selected out of a pool of more than 50 candidates. 

“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,” added Brown.

Goins noted how blessed he feels to have been selected for this role, noting what it means to him.

“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,” said Goins. 

A native of North Carolina, and graduate of NC A&T State University (the largest HBCU in the country), and the University of Cincinnati, Goins’ educational journey — particularly with his focus on improving and expanding opportunities for young students of color with a lack of resources — has led him to this new role.

“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,” said Goins. 

He will officially assume the position as Girard College President July 1. 

Founded in 1848 and named after banker and merchant Stephen Girard, Girard College is a five-day boarding school for students grades 1-12. All students receive full scholarships to partake in the school’s academic program. 
 

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