PCA Chooses the Next Head of School

Dear PCA Parents,

It gives me great pleasure to announce that Dr. John Engstrom has been selected to become the next Head of School at Portsmouth Christian Academy.  Dr. Engstrom is currently serving as the Head of School at the Seoul Foreign School in Seoul, Korea and will complete his contract there after the 2013-14 school year. He will assume his new responsibilities here on August 1, 2014.  Dennis Runey has accepted the Board’s request to remain as Head of School for another year.

I have included Dr. Engstrom’s biographical sketch below, as well as a link to an introductory video made by him and his lovely wife, Alice, that shows their lighter side.

I could not be more pleased that God has called John Engstrom to our school and that he has heard and responded to that calling.  He possesses a wealth of experience, is wise and compassionate, has a great vision for PCA, and desires to take the school to new levels of greatness.

We are in the process of preparing a transition plan to be presented to the Board of Directors and Dr. Engstrom.  Our mutual goal is for a seamless transfer of responsibilities, and to that end, John and Dennis will be in frequent contact throughout the next school year.  We are also hoping that he and Alice will be back in this area at least once before August 1, 2014.  If so, we intend to host a reception where you will have an opportunity to meet and welcome them.

The stability of another year with the same leadership team, and Dr. Engstrom’s commitment to at least five years at PCA, assures the school community of consistency and continuity in the years to come.  I look forward with great anticipation to the Engstrom era.

God is good,

John Carpentier

Chairman of the Board of Directors

Dr. John Engstrom Bio


John Engstrom was born and raised in the Midwest of the United States and graduated with a BS in Chemistry from Wheaton College in Illinois. He was trained as a chemistry teacher and coach and after graduation, became a teacher and coach at The Stony Brook School in Stony Brook, NY.  In 1973, John earned a Master’s Degree in Liberal Studies and in 1980 was awarded a Master’s Degree in Chemistry, both from the State University of New York at Stony Brook.  While on leave from Stony Brook, the family lived and worked in Zweibrucken, Germany and Kodaikanal, India.

In 1989, John completed his doctorate at Columbia University in Science Education and was appointed the Head of School at The American School in Switzerland (TASIS), where he served for four years. In 1994, he became the President of Minnehaha Academy, a Christian day school of 1200 students in Minneapolis, Minnesota. During his years at Minnehaha Academy, the school raised $20,000,000 for various capital projects designed to upgrade and expand its facilities.  Finally in 2009, he was appointed Head of School at Seoul Foreign School in Seoul, South Korea.

John has been committed to teaching throughout his career, completing several decades of classroom teaching before coming to Seoul Foreign School.  He has been a leader in improving technology in the classroom so as to more actively engage students in their learning. John’s other interests include the integration of Christian Faith and initiating a well-functioning Development Office. John and his wife Alice have three adult children living in Chattanooga, Tennessee; Seoul, Korea and Groton, Massachusetts.

Engstrom’s Video Trailer