John Palfrey
Head of School


  • Media
  • Technology and learning

John Palfrey assumed the role of Phillips Academy’s 15th head of school in 2012. Previously, he was the Henry N. Ess III professor of law and vice dean for library and information resources at Harvard Law School and co-director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, where he served as executive director from 2002 to 2008. Palfrey has published extensively on how young people are learning in a digital era, as well as the effect of new technologies on society at large. He is the author or co-author of several books, including “Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives”; “Interop: The Promise and Perils of Highly Interconnected Systems”; and “Intellectual Property Strategy.” Palfrey chairs the boards of the Digital Public Library of America and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Palfrey joined the Harvard Law School faculty after practicing law in Boston. He also served as a special assistant at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency during the Clinton administration. He holds a law degree from Harvard Law School, a master’s from the University of Cambridge, and bachelor’s from Harvard College.