The Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) has selected Gretchen Larkin, Head of Charles River School (CRS), an independent school in Dover, Mass. for Grades PreK–8, as the recipient of the Division I 2018 Chief Executive Leadership Award. Larkin is one of only two elementary school Heads to receive this award, traditionally given to leaders of colleges or universities.

Larkin joined CRS in 2014 as Head of School, bringing experience, passion, and an unyielding commitment to excellence. Under her leadership, the school has constructed a new, state-of-the-art middle school and science lab, a new Media and Design Lab, created an outdoor Wetlands Laboratory (for the use of students and the broader community), increased diversity among CRS faculty and students, and reduced attrition to the lowest level in five years.

“I am thrilled to receive this award; to be in the company of leaders from institutions like Babson College, Tufts University, and the University of Massachusetts is an honor and I am proud of our work at Charles River School over the past four years,” said Larkin. “In a world that is changing rapidly, conventional education is not enough, and we must push ourselves to innovate. I look forward to continuing to grow and evolve our school with support from our extraordinary community of Trustees, faculty, and parents.”

Donald Brezinski, Senior Vice President of Institutional Advancement at Southern New Hampshire University and Chair of the CASE committee for this award, commented, “Gretchen was chosen due to her laudable record of success at CRS. She led the school in a record-setting comprehensive campaign, which had an important impact on the facilities and the curriculum. She also made impressive strides elevating equity and inclusion in the school, and has shifted the culture and practice of CRS to one of customer service and demand-based planning. Gretchen’s story at CRS is consistent with the spirit and criteria for this award, which is to actively support advancement, while providing leadership in the areas of innovation and overall institutional success.”

Throughout her career, Larkin has worked in independent schools in the New York City and Boston areas. Prior to CRS, she served as the K-8 Assistant Principal and Head of Lower School at Milton Academy, and has also worked as a middle school math, English and history teacher, a reading and learning specialist, and as a PreK-8 educational coordinator. In 2017, Larkin was elected to the Board of Directors for the Association of Independent Schools of New England (AISNE). She also serves as co-chair of Greenwich Academy’s Boston Alumnae Chapter, previously chaired the Education Committee for St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church, and served as a board member for the Northeast Association of Learning Specialists.

The Chief Executive Leadership Award honors institutional leaders for outstanding contributions to their campus communities, for efforts in promoting public understanding of education, and for support of advancement at their campuses. Larkin will be recognized at the annual District I Achievement and Accolades Awards Celebration Luncheon on Thursday, March 14.

About Charles River School

Founded in 1911, Charles River School is an independent school located in Dover, Mass. for grades PreK–8. CRS challenges and engages students through its hands-on approach to learning; the school’s MaD Lab (Media and Design Lab) and state-of-the-art middle school building are two new campus resources that create even more opportunities for innovation and exploration. Located on a beautiful 16-acre campus, CRS honors the pursuit of academic excellence and the joy of childhood. Learn more at