Message from the President
In Use, In Practice
As we welcome the longer days of late winter, I’ve had the chance to reflect on an essential aspect of North Bennet Street School. In a recent conversation with Roman Barnas—Department Head of our Violin Making & Repair program—an important idea emerged: “NBSS is not a destination.” Roman’s comment was a reminder that while our School is a place for intense learning and connection, it is a way station on a longer journey towards meaningful contributions in work, careers, and community.
At NBSS, we are regularly exploring the boundless impact of skilled craft and trade. We know that our school serves as a catalyst for change, igniting the potential within our students to create a better world with their expertise. These skills are most important—and made most relevant—when our students take these new-found abilities into the world beyond our building. Roman’s insight highlights the true value of an NBSS education: it lies not only in the skills our graduates acquire, but in how they apply these skills to enrich the lives of others.
You can see this at Memorial Hall in Charlestown where our Preservation Carpentry students are completing a full restoration of the historic building’s exterior, ensuring that it will be a part of the neighborhood for generations to come. While this client-based work occurs in Boston, our Locksmithing & Security Technology students and faculty are making community connections farther away, at the Yankee Security Convention in Connecticut. While learning about new products and participating in specialized coursework, students are also networking with suppliers, manufacturers, and a wide range of employers. Finally, halfway around the world, in Poland, two of our Violin Making & Repair students were applauded for their work in an international violin making competition focused entirely on student instruments. These conversations and occasions result in a broader awareness of our School, the building of professional relationships, and opportunities for positive change among individuals, businesses, and our industries at large.
As I think about these recent activities, I see a common thread. We are a vital and intensive school, and from that we are also a hub for partnerships and collaborations that extend far beyond our building. Our collective work serves as a bridge, connecting skilled craft and trade with the needs, talents, and work of broader communities. In turn, more and more people discover the value of our programs and work, bringing their perspective into the NBSS context and out again.
I invite you to join us in a collective reflection: where do you see skilled craft and trade benefiting the community or being amplified through collaboration? Your insights, ideas, and experiences are essential in shaping the future of NBSS and how we work with partners. Please share your thoughts with us, whether it’s a project, an initiative, or a vision for the future. Together, we can continue to be a force for positive change in our neighborhoods, cities, and beyond.
Sarah Turner, President
As an educator, leading from both the office and the studio, Sarah has worked at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, the Rhode Island School of Design, the State University of New York at New Paltz and the Oregon College of Art and Craft. As the Dean at Cranbrook, she directed the Academic Programs of the Academy, including a ‘public-lecture-as-variety-show’ series, and a Critical Studies + Humanities residential teaching fellowship, which she established in 2009. Sarah has also worked extensively in the areas of student success, from enrollment and admissions to developing opportunities for students and alumni. She has lectured widely, regularly serves as a guest critic to studio programs, and has organized exhibitions on contemporary craft and design in the US and abroad. In 2005, Sarah was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to the Netherlands to research Dutch contemporary applied art.
In addition to her work in education, Sarah has maintained a studio practice rooted in craft. Trained initially in metalsmithing and jewelry, her work has ranged from woodworking to weaving to printmaking—always with a focus on the meanings inherent to objects and materials. Her artwork has been included in exhibitions nationally and internationally, including the Museum of Art and Design in New York, the National Ornamental Metal Museum in Memphis, Galerie Noel Guymarc’h in Montreal, and The Society of Arts and Crafts in Boston.
Sarah has been a volunteer and advisor for a variety of organizations, including the Southeast Michigan Fulbright Association, the Vermont YWCA, and the Society of North American Goldsmiths. She currently serves on the Boards of the Art Jewelry Forum and The Furniture Society.
Born and raised in Ohio, Sarah received a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Smith College and a Certificate in Metalsmithing from the Oregon College of Art & Craft. She earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from Cranbrook Academy of Art.
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Miguel Gómez Ibáñez CF ’99 retired as President in 2018, after 12 years of leadership. He leaves behind a tremendous record of physical and economic institutional growth for America’s first trade school. Among other notable accomplishments, Miguel implemented two strategic plans, secured and led the renovation of the School’s new 64,000 sf facility, established multiple strategic educational partnerships, and oversaw the School’s major $20 million Lives & Livelihoods Campaign, which will help to fund $1 million in student scholarships annually.
Born in New England and raised in Europe by parents who worked in higher education, Miguel long aspired to make a living with his hands. After earning a BA from Wesleyan University and a Masters in Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania, Miguel worked for 26 years designing civic and educational projects.
Throughout his time at NBSS, Miguel has maintained a furniture making workshop, which provides him not only personal fulfillment, but also a unique perspective on education. His work has been featured in House & Garden, American Craft, and other magazines, galleries, and museums across the country.
Full Resume — Miguel Gómez-Ibáñez