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New chief named for JFK Library foundation

Steven Rothstein will be announced Tuesday as the new executive director of the non-profit entity that guides the John F. Kennedy Library (above), officials said. David L. Ryan/Globe Staff/File/2003/Boston Globe

The search for a new chief of the foundation that oversees the John F. Kennedy Library has settled on a longtime family ally with an extensive non-profit background, officials said Tuesday, capping a long period of turbulence at the iconic Dorchester institution.

Steven Rothstein, who has led Citizen Schools and the Perkins School for the Blind, will be announced Tuesday as the new executive director of the non-profit entity that supports the museum, officials said. A formal proclamation is expected later in the day.

Rothstein will succeed Heather Campion, who resigned in December as the foundation’s leader after a foundation board review of her stormy tenure, which was marked by heavy staff departures and complaints about her leadership style.


Steven RothsteinPerkins School for the Blind

The foundation bankrolls much of the library’s operations and works in harness with federal archives employees. Collaboration between the two entities had deteriorated during Campion’s tenure, with the library’s longtime director, Thomas J. Putnam, resigning last September. Putnam’s exit followed a spate of departures that had begun with Campion’s appointment.

Defenders of Campion said she was implementing a challenging agenda of change and modernization with which she had been charged by the foundation board, which is stocked with longtime Kennedy family friends and allies.

At least 15 people, more than a third of the employees whose positions were funded by the foundation, either resigned or were terminated during Campion’s tenure.

Foundation board chair Kenneth J. Feinberg planned to inform board members of the choice on Tuesday afternoon, officials said.

Rothstein, who lives in Somerville, was president of the Perkins School from 2003 until 2014 and then worked as CEO of Citizen Schools, a non-profit focused on extending school hours. He is close to former congressman Joseph P. Kennedy II and helped found the Citizens Energy Corp., working as its general manager.


He worked as assistant commissioner of what was then known as the state Department of Mental Retardation, then founded a consulting firm focused on environmentally friendly products.

Rothstein is expected to wear the title of executive director, a step down from the CEO moniker that Campion had, officials said. That designation will bring the Kennedy Library Foundation more closely in line with libraries like those named for presidents Lyndon Baines Johnson, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton, officials said.

Jim O’Sullivan can be reached at jim.osullivan@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JOSreports.