• Cushing

Message from Richard Harrington, Board of Trustees President

Dr. James Tracy announced today that he will step down as Cushing's Headmaster at the end of the academic year. Below is a message sent to Cushing alumni from Richard Harrington, President of the Board of Trustees. A similar message was sent to Cushing parents and friends of the Academy.
Dear Cushing Academy Alumni,

I am reaching out to let you know that James Tracy has decided to step down as headmaster of Cushing Academy at the end of the academic year.

As you well know, Jim is enthusiastic and passionate about the power of education and connecting young people to the greater world around them. It is in that spirit that Jim has decided to move on from Cushing and pursue new ways to apply his innovative thinking on teaching and learning. It was obvious to the board that Jim was torn about his decision because of his attachment to the Cushing community and our values, but it was also clear that he is eager to take on new challenges, and we admire him for that spirit because it benefitted Cushing greatly.

Over the six years that Jim has served as our headmaster, he has contributed a great deal to Cushing Academy that will remain with us as we move forward. He led the school further into the 21st Century and continues to foster an entrepreneurial spirit in faculty and students in a way that will make his tenure a definitive part of Cushing’s 147-year history. Jim’s drive to thoughtfully integrate digital tools into the teaching and learning experience of our students has made Cushing a leader in this area and well ahead of most independent schools. At the same time Jim remains equally committed to sustaining Cushing’s dedication to timeless values of educating the mind, shaping the character, and nurturing the creativity of young men and women.

Jim carefully built a strong team of faculty and staff who have brought very positive change to the school that will benefit us all for years to come. He successfully engaged alumni and increased resources for the school. Jim has also been a sensitive and caring headmaster who takes interest in each and every student, extending his kindness, attention, and good humor whenever needed.

Transitions like this are inevitable at institutions like Cushing. However, we have the finest faculty and staff in New England, a strong culture, and a nurturing environment that provides a solid foundation for Cushing to continue growing and providing an exemplary preparatory education to our students today, and into the future.

We are fortunate to have Jim remain with us until year’s end. In the next month, the board will begin a national search process for Jim’s successor. Assistant Head of School Catherine Pollock will have an increasing role in school operations during this transition period. We can assure you that Cushing will continue to function at the highest level without interruption.

We look forward to seeing many of you at our Family Weekend and Homecoming this week. Please feel free to speak with Assistant Head of School Catherine Pollock about any questions you may have or contact her by phone or email if you are unable to join us.
I know you share my feelings that Jim has contributed greatly to our students and community and that he will be sorely missed, but Cushing will proceed stronger into the future because of Jim’s time with us.


Richard J. Harrington
President, Board of Trustees

Cushing Academy

39 School Street
Ashburnham, Massachusetts 01430

Cushing Academy

Cushing Academy exists for students and develops curious, creative, and confident learners and leaders. Founded in 1865, Cushing is a co-ed, college preparatory boarding and day school for students in grades 9-12 and PG. Our students, who come from over 30 states and 30 countries, excel in our outstanding academic, art, and athletic offerings. We welcome you to visit our community and beautiful 162-acre campus in Ashburnham, Mass., just one hour from Boston, to experience all that Cushing has to offer.