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2016 Recipient: Ralph Wales '70

Ralph Wales '70 has been Head of School at the Gordon School since 1994. Over that time, Gordon has received national attention for its achievements in creating and sustaining a decidedly diverse faculty, staff, and student body. Under Ralph’s leadership, Gordon has worked to implement and refine the school’s focus on multicultural teaching practice and anti-bias education.


Ralph and Gordon’s faculty are regularly invited to present the school’s work at both regional and national conferences. Many independent school trustees, administrators and teachers regularly visit Gordon to seek guidance on governance and curriculum innovation.

During Ralph’s tenure, the school has established an endowment that now exceeds 11 million dollars, the largest portion of which supports financial aid. Additionally, Ralph has helped lead the work to significantly enhance Gordon’s facilities to support athletics, performing arts, and the academic program. 

Prior to Gordon, Ralph taught in four independent schools including eight years on the faculty at the Shady Hill School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he now serves on the board. Ralph is also the President of the Board of Directors of the Association of Independent Schools in New England. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Harvard and a M.Ed. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Ralph presently sits on the Board of Trustees at the Park School in Brookline, Massachusetts, and Community Preparatory School in Providence, Rhode Island, serves as Treasurer for the Independent School Association of Rhode Island, and is a director on the Board of the Association of Independent Schools of New England. He is the father of three girls and lives in Providence, Rhode Island.
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