Every week we introduce a He is Me staff member, board member, or one of our amazing partner organizations . . . today, it is board member F. Christopher Goins.
A big congratulations to He is Me Institute’s board member Christopher Goins on his appointment as President of Girard College in Philadelphia. Girard College announced Goins’ selection on April 25, and he takes on his new role July 1. He is Me is so proud to call Chris a member of our Board of Directors!
Christopher Goins is a nationally recognized educator whose career has focused on education equity, especially for Black and Brown students from under-served communities. He is Me Institute is fortunate and proud to have Chris as a member of our Board of Directors. We wish him all the best as the new President of Girard College in Philadelphia.
“We had the good fortune to be able to choose from a large pool of very talented candidates. In the end, it was clear that Chris’ skills as a visionary leader who inspires others to partner with him in helping young people reach their potential makes him the best choice to lead the new Girard College,” said the school’s announcement.
Chris was selected from more than 50 candidates in a six-month nationwide search for Girard College’s new President. The historic school, not actually a college, is a tuition-free private five-day boarding school for grades 1-2. It serves Philadelphia area students from families headed by a single parent or guardian.
Located in North Philadelphia, Girard has a long and unique history. It opened in 1848 with the endowment of French immigrant Stephen Girard, who made a fortune in shipping and banking. He was the wealthiest person in the country at the time of his death. His endowment to establish Girard College was the single largest private charitable donation in American history at the time!
Girard has evolved from its beginning as a school for “fatherless white boys” in the mid-1800s to a co-ed school whose current student population of 300 is now predominantly students of color. As a result of 14 years of lawsuits in the 1950s and ‘60s – one of which went all the way to the Supreme Court – Girard was finally desegrated in 1968. It first admitted girls in 1984.
Chris said he feels “truly blessed” to become Girard College’s next President. “This is the single most important milestone in my professional journey, and I do not take it lightly. I stand on the shoulders of giants in the educational space and I plan to bring all of their wisdom and knowledge with me to benefit the beautiful minds at Girard College.”
Chris is a graduate of North Carolina A&T University, the largest HBCU in the country. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree with a double major in History and Secondary Education. He began his career teaching Civics and AP Government & Politics at his high school alma mater in Greensboro, N.C. In 2005, he was named “Teacher of the Year” for Guilford Country (N.C.) Schools, the youngest ever to earn than honor.
Chris was one of the very few Black boys who experienced Black men as teachers. Recalling his school years in Greensboro, he said knew he wanted to teach since he “saw men that looked like me in the classroom who taught me every day.”
Growing up near an historically Black college that became his alma mater, influenced Chris’ dedication to the field of education, too. Even as a child, Chris said he observed what a person can achieve if they go to college. “I was able to see that through people who looked like me. . . I knew I was destined to do the work that I do now,” Chris reflected.
Chris moved to Cincinnati and served as Director of the Upward Bound summer program at Mt. St. Joseph University in Cincinnati in 2005. Then, from 2006 thought 2009, he was Deputy Director of the W.E.B. DuBois Academy in Cincinnati. While there, he earned a Master’s Degree in Urban Educational Leadership from the University of Cincinnati.
Chris moved to Chicago and founded the renowned Butler Prep School , serving as its Founding Principal from 2012 - 2019. The school was designed to improve academic and career outcomes for children from disinvested communities. It has been recognized as the highest-performing non-selective high school in Chicago and throughout Illinois, empowering the lives of over 700 students annually through high quality college preparatory education.
At Thrive Chicago, Chris built the Chicago Action Team for the Obama Foundation’s My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, bringing together 90 youth service organizations in the city to expand programs and services for boys and young men of color. Not surprisingly, as part of this work, Chris led the nation’s first citywide initiative to grow the number of BYMOC to become teachers and school leaders.
“My educational career has been focused on improving outcomes and expanding opportunities for young people, especially for students of color who have very little choice in their educational options,” Chris said. "The appointment as the next President of Girard College is monumental and humbling to say the least.”
“Girard College is uniquely positioned to effect transformational change because it is one of the most unique educational models in the entire world, which will continue achieving racial equity and economic mobility for the children it serves, and I am very excited for the chance to lead this effort,” he added.
Chris said he intends to be a leader who fosters authentic partnerships with mission-aligned organizations, which has been a hallmark of his career. “He Is Me Institute would be a perfect prototype of the kind of robust partnership to usher Girard College into the future,” says Chris. He is Me has full faith that Chris will make that happen and we look forward to Chris’ continued dedication, vision, support, and guidance as a HIM board member.