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SOURCE Milton Hershey School
MHS Alumnus Gurt Brings Deep Academic and Operational Experience and Knowledge
HERSHEY, Pa., June 5, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The Board of Managers of Milton Hershey School has appointed Peter G. Gurt as Milton Hershey School's 10th president. Gurt, 46, is a proven academic leader who has served Milton Hershey School (MHS) as Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer since the 2009 academic year. The appointment concludes an extensive 11-month search process.
Announcing Gurt's selection by the Board of Managers, Board Chairman Robert F. Cavanaugh said, "Pete is the ideal leader for Milton Hershey School as we progress into our second century of serving children in financial and social need and helping them to reach their full potential. He's a Milton Hershey graduate who exemplifies all of our core values and who has dedicated his professional life to serving the School in a range of capacities. Over the past five years, Pete has played a critical leadership role at MHS, presiding over a period of tremendous enrollment growth and academic achievement."
Gurt succeeds Dr. Anthony J. Colistra, who retired in July 2013. John Estey was appointed Interim President at that time. Estey will continue to serve the School, returning to his role as Executive Vice President of Administration for the Hershey Trust Company.
As the Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Gurt was responsible for Admissions and Family Relations, Curriculum and Instruction, Career/Technical Education, Home Life, and Health Services for all students, in addition to the office of Alumni Relations. He has also held positions of Vice President of Administration and Vice President of Student Life.
Gurt serves as the President of the William E. Dearden Alumni Campus Advisory Board; is an Advisory Board member of the World Children's Center in Atlanta, Georgia; and since 2009 has served on the Commission for Accreditation, responsible for all independent schools in Pennsylvania. In 2009, he was named Administrator of the Year by the Coalition for Residential Education (CORE).
An Outstanding Academic Leader and Dedicated Advocate for Children in Financial and Social Need
In his role as Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Gurt's priorities have been to establish the School's Five Year Strategic Plan which prioritizes strong growth in student enrollment in order to serve as many children from poverty as possible; enhance the School's safety and security plans and processes; and place a greater focus on post-graduate success. In addition, he has reestablished a strong working relationship with the Milton Hershey School Alumni Association.
In the last several years, Gurt has led a team of educators and administrators who have consistently guided students' test scores to levels which surpass some of the most competitive school districts in the state, despite many students having significant achievement gaps upon arrival at Milton Hershey School.
Ensuring higher education is accessible to students with financial need is a priority for Gurt, and he has worked with several colleges and universities to ensure greater access for students. Most recently, Gurt partnered with Temple University Harrisburg to offer a full semester of college classes to MHS seniors.
A Dedicated Alumnus Who Experienced Milton Hershey School's Mission Firsthand
The youngest of eight children, Gurt was enrolled at Milton Hershey School at the age of five with his two older brothers. After graduating from MHS, he attended Temple University from which he received a Bachelor of Business Administration; he later continued his education at Pennsylvania State University, receiving a Master's of Education degree. Gurt resides in Palmyra, PA with his wife and two sons.
"Spending 13 years as a student and having spent over 20 years as an administrator, I am honored to be selected as the 10th president of this school which means so much to me and look forward to continuing the mission of Milton and Catherine Hershey," said Gurt. "I have spent virtually my entire career serving with the very dedicated staff at Milton Hershey School. Together we have ensured that our students are provided the best opportunities for success in life. I am deeply committed to working with the entire MHS community to explore new and effective ways to extend the Hersheys' generosity and legacy to as many children as possible."
A Rigorous Search Process
Pete Gurt will be the 10th president of Milton Hershey School since Milton S. Hershey and his wife Catherine founded the School in 1909.
Gurt's selection resulted from a rigorous nationwide search undertaken by the Board of Managers over the past 11 months, during which they identified, assessed and interviewed a deep and talented pool of candidates recommended by internal and external sources. The Board engaged nationally-recognized search firms and considered input from several stakeholder groups including students, houseparents, teachers and alumni before making its selection.
For more details about Gurt, Milton Hershey School, and the selection process, please visit Milton Hershey School's website at http://www.mhs-pa.org/about/mhs-president-2014.
ABOUT MILTON HERSHEY SCHOOL
Milton Hershey School is a cost-free, private, coeducational home and school for children from families of low income. The School is funded by a trust established by Milton S. Hershey and his wife Catherine. Milton Hershey School offers a positive, structured home life year-round and an excellent pre-kindergarten through 12th grade education. Our vision focuses on building character and providing children with the skills necessary to be successful in all aspects of life. Go to www.mhskids.org to learn more.
Milton Hershey School
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