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Blackwell Appointed Principia Chief Executive

The Principia Board of Trustees is pleased to announce the appointment of Barbara Blackwell as Principia’s Chief Executive, effective July 1, 2022. Blackwell is currently serving as Principia’s chief advancement officer and acting chief planning officer.

The Board’s appointment of Blackwell as Chief Executive comes with deep appreciation for the experience she brings to the post. “Barbara is a seasoned educational administrator with over 35 years of administrative experience in both private liberal arts colleges and independent secondary schools. She brings broad and relevant experience to the post and is a proven consensus builder and decision maker,” said Principia’s Acting Board Chair Chuck Lindahl. “She has great enthusiasm for Principia’s mission to serve the Cause of Christian Science and will bring an inclusive approach to leadership that respects our dedicated staff and will build on our current progress.”

In sharing her enthusiasm for assuming this leadership role, Blackwell said, “I firmly believe that Principia has a unique place in the world and that it has only begun to define itself in the 21st century. I look forward to working with the Board and leadership to further develop Principia’s role and to discover the infinite possibilities awaiting us.”

After earning her bachelor’s degree from Allegheny College and law degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, Blackwell held progressively demanding positions in college and university advancement, including serving as vice president for development and donor relations for the Pittsburgh Foundation, vice president for advancement at Washington & Jefferson College, director of development for Lake Highland Preparatory School, senior director of strategic partnerships at the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System at the University of Denver, and chief advancement officer at Principia since 2017.

Blackwell has extensive experience in management and fundraising in both higher education and independent K–12 education. She has a proven track record of successfully building teams and programs, developing strategy, and creating innovative approaches. Blackwell has extensive experience working with boards as well as leading change. Her broad experience and deep knowledge of Principia and current strategic needs will provide continuity and clarity as we continue growing enrollment on both campuses and tackling the challenges of today and tomorrow.

As Chief Executive, Blackwell will have overall responsibility for strategically leading and managing Principia, establishing the institutional vision in partnership with the Trustees and the two campus heads, and ensuring the effective operation of the two campuses and shared services units as a single institution. She will oversee all operations at Principia. Primary responsibility for the educational programs will continue to rest with the Head of School and College President.

This appointment concludes a three-and-a-half-month search process conducted by the Chief Executive Search Committee composed of six Trustees and one representative each from the School, College, and Shared Services. The search firm FRCI Group assisted with the overall search process to ensure compliance with best practices.

The Board expressed its deep gratitude for the strong leadership Dr. Scott Schneberger has provided as Acting Chief Executive since September 2021. His able oversight of Principia in that role will continue through June 30. His leave of absence from the Board ends with the release of this announcement. He is returning to his membership on the Board and role as board chair.