Head of School Search
Christopher M. McDonald named MCI Head of School
On April 26 and after a comprehensive international search, board president Michael Hodgins '86 announced that Christopher M. McDonald will become Maine Central Institute’s 22nd head of school this July. McDonald, currently the director of international affairs and a humanities teacher at Stanstead College in Quebec, Canada, succeeds Christopher J. Hopkins, who is departing at the end of June after leading the School for 11 years.
The MCI Board of Trustees made the appointment upon the unanimous recommendation of its head of school search committee that included trustees and former trustees, said Michael Hodgins, board president and chair of the search committee.
McDonald’s academic background, boarding school experience, educational philosophy and vision, combined with his personal disposition, character and core values, are exemplary, said Hodgins.
He described McDonald as a “can-do leader” with an excellent understanding of how schools operate, educate, and thrive in today’s economy — and said his focus is on student achievements and positive experiences in a safe, supportive educational environment.
“The search committee found Mr. McDonald’s breadth of ideas for moving MCI forward to be creative and remarkable,” Hodgins said. “He possesses an impressive talent for sharing his positive approach to education and energy with those around him, and we are impressed with his leadership abilities as well as his deep connections to students.”
McDonald has worked in education throughout his entire professional career, beginning as an instructor and coach before assuming leadership positions in school administration.
At the Winchendon School in Massachusetts, where he served as associate head of school for six years, McDonald was instrumental in creating a summer camp program with The Olympia Schools in Hanoi, Vietnam. McDonald then served as head of school at The Olympia Schools, where he still is on the advisory board.
McDonald earned a Bachelor of Arts in English at Kalamazoo College in Michigan, and Master of Arts degrees from Wayne State University in Michigan and Middlebury College in Vermont. He is married to Van Nguyen and they have a young son, Kien.
“My family and I are honored to join the MCI community that has been rich in tradition, culture, and learning for over 150 years,” said McDonald. “The spirit and soul of a proud faculty, staff, parents, students and board are evident, and we eagerly embrace the continued challenges of providing quality education now and into the future as a determined and committed team.”
Hodgins expressed gratitude to the search committee and to all who participated in the process and provided thoughtful feedback that helped the committee reach its decision.
Search committee members included Tania Carnrick ’73, Arielle Costello ’06, Jason Cummings ’98, Gregg Newhouse ’81, Peg Olson ’84, Linda Shorey ’69, Matt Stein ’93, and Norbert Young ’66. Hodgins also acknowledged the support of Deirdre Ling and John Mackenzie of Educators’ Collaborative, LLC, which advised and assisted MCI during the search process. He also thanked faculty and staff, and most notably Dean of Student Life Tom Bertrand ’90, Director of Music/Visual and Performing Arts Chair Dean Neal, and Head of School assistant Kelly McCormick for their important roles in the search process.