Linda Nathan


Executive Director, Center for Arts in Education at Boston Arts Academy and Founding Headmaster, Boston Arts Academy

Linda Nathan is the founding headmaster of Boston Arts Academy, Boston’s first public high school for the visual and performing arts. Under Dr. Nathan’s leadership, Boston Arts Academy has won state, national and international awards and recognitions, and consistently sends over 94% of its graduates on to college. Currently, Dr. Nathan is the Executive Director of BAA’s Center for Arts in Education. The Center fosters transformative education by empowering students, schools and communities through artistic and academic innovation, and is an internationally recognized provider of professional development as well as innovative and tailored outreach and advocacy programs.

Dr. Nathan is a nationally and internationally recognized leader in education reform, and has lectured and written widely on topics ranging from the importance of arts education to developing schools centered on equity to developing strong structures that support teachers and leaders. Her book, The Hardest Questions Aren’t on the Test: Lessons from an Innovative Urban School, was published in 2009, and her articles have appeared in numerous publications. She is also a lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where she teaches a course titled “Building Democratic Schools.”

Dr. Nathan began her career as a bilingual teacher and has taught both academic and theatre classes. She founded a middle school for the arts, helped to create a high school that specialized in school-to-career programs (Fenway Middle College High School), and co-founded a non-profit organization dedicated to school reform (Center for Collaborative Education). Dr. Nathan is also an Executive Board member of the Coalition of Essential Schools. She has won numerous awards, including the Excellence in School Administration Award from Arts/Learning (2012), Passion for Action Award from Wheelock College (2011); Morton R. Godine Medal for Service to the Community from Massachusetts College of Art and Design (2009); Barr Foundation Fellow (2007); Fidelity Inspire the Future Award (2006); and the Nadia Boulanger Award from the Longy School of Music (2004). In 2006, she presented to the first UNESCO World Conference on Arts Education in Lisbon, Portugal. Dr. Nathan has also consulted widely with school systems in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Puerto Rico and districts throughout the United States. She continues to actively mentor principals and teachers.

Linda Nathan holds a Doctorate in Education from Harvard University, a Master’s degree in education administration from Antioch University, a Master’s of performing arts from Emerson College, and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley. She blogs about education and the arts at