Interim Head Of School Tom Reid has officially begun his tenure at Benjamin. Mr. Reid spent his first day on campus meeting staff members and enjoying a tour of the new Maglio Family STEM Center lead by Chief Development Officer Juan Carlos Fanjul ‘93 and Chief Operating Officer Leslie Downs.
Mr. Reid travelled through state-of-the-art classrooms and labs and had a hands-on look at the space Benjamin students will begin using this fall. Despite visiting our School only a few times before July, he looked right at home on campus.
Reid comes to Benjamin with a long career as a former Head of School at prestigious independent schools including Buckley Country Day in Roslyn, New York and St. Paul’s School in Baltimore, Maryland.
Mr. Reid completed his undergraduate degree at University of Pennsylvania and received a Masters in Educational Administration from University of Connecticut.
“I am honored to have the opportunity to join The Benjamin School and its community as Interim Head,” said Reid.
The Buccaneer magazine sat down with Reid to learn more about him, his goals for the School, and his hobbies.
Q: Which three words best describe you?
A: I ask a variation of this while interviewing others; answering it now reminds me how difficult it is. I would say competitive, friendly and flexible.
Q: What’s your favorite thing about working for a school?
A: I enjoy the energy and spirit of school communities, interactions with students of all ages, and the variety in the day of a school head. Sorry, that is more than “a favorite thing” isn’t it?
Q: What was your first impression of Benjamin?
A: Overall, I noted three things: loyalty to TBS, faculty concern for what is best for students, and a humble recognition of the need to continue to improve, with the confidence and commitment to do so. My meetings with students were delightful. I sensed a lot of energy and listened to thoughtful reflection on TBS that provided me a view into the student experience.
Q: What are your goals for the school year?
A: I have three broad goals: help to maintain momentum on Board and faculty priorities, provide a fresh perspective on those matters, and set a smooth path for transition to the permanent head to be named in the fall. Additionally, I hope I can add to the spirit and energy that exists at TBS, work with the seniors to make it a special year for the Class of 2020, and play with the early childhood students as often as I can. Finally, I want to get to know as many students as possible by name.
Q: What’s your greatest accomplishment?
A: As a Head of School, you tend to be rated and rate yourself by enrollment growth, funds raised, college lists, etc., and I am certainly proud of my role in the successes in those areas of schools I have headed. Yet, the accomplishments I value most are much more rooted in people - a student’s success enabled by a dedicated teacher, supported by a gift from a grateful donor that enhanced a program, initiated by another master teacher. Lots of names and faces come to mind in that cycle of school life, and I treasure those memories.
Q: What do you do in your free time?
A:Though it does not happen frequently enough, the most enjoyable use of my free time now is playing with our grandchildren; it also provides lots of exercise. I enjoy skating and playing hockey, and I run and bike to try to stay reasonably fit. Woodworking, gardening, reading, and crossword puzzles are also on my list of things to do to relax and re-energize.
Q: What’s your favorite book?
A: Picking a favorite book or even genre is impossible, but I can offer a range of titles and authors I enjoy. I love Harold and the Purple Crayon and Where the Red Fern Grows. Shane ranks high on my list of favorites, and I re-read A River Runs Through It every few years. I think I have read all of John McPhee’s work and Donald Hall’s prose and poetry. I usually have a mystery going (prefer British) along with whatever non-fiction book has caught my attention (presently, Chesapeake Requiem, A Year with the Watermen of Vanishing Tangier Island). Finally, as related to school life, my favorite is Delderfield’s To Serve Them All My Days, the story of a WWI veteran and his rise from a struggling teacher to head of a British boarding school- very old school, very inspirational.
Q: What’s your favorite city?
A: Favorite city is another tough question. I fear another less than definitive answer is going to put me in the Charlie Brown category of being wishy-washy, but I cannot help it. Ann and I have lived in or lived near enough to know well Philadelphia, Boston, New York, Washington, Miami and Charleston, all great cities. We enjoy each for different reasons.
Q: Favorite quotation?
A: “There is nothing so strong as gentleness nor nothing so gentle as real strength.”
Q: What’s something people would be surprised to know about you?
A: I have been on the stage at the Apollo Theater. That answer probably generates the desire to ask a follow-up question- that will have to wait.