When Head of School Mike Henriques announced in early January 2020 his retirement in 2021, Proctor’s Board of Trustees embarked on a journey the school has taken only six times in the past century. The remarkable stability of Proctor’s leadership has allowed the school to evolve into the community it is today. While leadership styles have varied, each of Proctor’s Heads of School has unrelentingly stewarded Proctor’s mission. On September 17, Proctor announced the appointment of Brian Thomas as Proctor’s next Head of School.
A native of Robbins, Illinois and Harvey, Illinois (both on Chicago’s far south side), Brian graduated from Yale University (BA in History) and Portland State University (MS in Education), and has spent 30 years in independent school education preparing for this opportunity to lead Proctor. Currently, Brian is the Assistant Head of School at Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day School, a prekindergarten to grade 12 independent day school in St. Louis that serves more than 1,200 students.
Previously, Brian served as Associate Head of School at Bentley School in Oakland, California; as Head of School at Presidio Hill School in San Francisco; and at Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy in Las Vegas. His early teaching career included roles as English teacher, English Department head, Humanities Coordinator, and baseball and basketball coach.
Prior to discovering his passion for teaching and working in independent schools, Brian was a professional actor, working off-Broadway and in Hollywood, and it is this love of the arts that has led him to remain engaged on the Board of Trustees of the Center of Creative Arts in St. Louis.
A frequent speaker at the national level, Brian’s varied experiences across independent schools in the western United States have honed his belief that embracing diverse learning styles, proximate learning opportunities, and human relationships sit at the core of an effective education. In Proctor, Brian sees a school that not only shares these core beliefs, but has the opportunity to help the greater educational landscape innovate toward more effective pedagogy through sharing Proctor’s unique model more broadly.
Brian’s partnership with his wife, Jaime, and children, Eian and Olivia, has informed each stage of his professional career, as well as his development as an educator. A Physical Therapist Assistant in a critical care hospital, Jaime adores her work teaching people with traumatic brain injuries to re-learn to walk and move again.
Their son Eian, 24, attends the community college system in California, studying the sciences. His coursework and experiences have led him to explore microbiology and small scale family-owned farms. Currently, Eian and Jaime are taking care of Jaime’s 99-year-old mother in San Rafael, California.
Olivia, 23 recently graduated from Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington with a degree in Art and Race and Ethnic Studies. She is working at a unique independent pre-school for Black and Latinx students run by adults who are the same. Brian notes Olivia is quite interested in Proctor’s Learning Skills Program because of her own dyslexia and her long journey to understand her own brain.
Both Jaime and Olivia are award winning home bakers, entering and winning county fairs and pie contests in Northern California. They also started the Marin Cake Project as a way to offer children in foster care who have never celebrated their own birthdays a way to have a delicious and beautifully decorated cake.
Over the next nine months, Brian will host online forums and will schedule campus visits to better get to know the Proctor community. Specifics on these engagement opportunities will be shared as details materialize. In the link below, Brian shares insights on his journey to Proctor, his excitement about joining the Proctor community, and his anticipation for what this next chapter in Proctor history can be.
Join us in welcoming Brian Thomas as Proctor’s next Head of School. Learn more about Brian at Blogs.ProctorAcademy.org/Announcing-Proctor-Academys-Next-Head-of-School-Brian-Thomas