Proctor Welcomes New Head of School This Summer

Brian Thomas officially starts in July

By Scott Allenby
On July 1, Brian Thomas became Proctor Academy’s Head of School. Photo: Lindsey Allenby

Proctor Academy officially welcomes new Head of School Brian Thomas to campus in early July. Brian steps into this leadership role as Mike Henriques retires after 16 years of service that saw Proctor grow in unprecedented ways.

A native of Robbins and Harvey, Illinois (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. 

Brian was most recently the Assistant Head of School at Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day School, a PreK-Grade 12 independent day school in St. Louis, Missouri that serves more than 1,200 students. Previously, Brian served as Associate Head of School at Bentley School in Oakland, California and Head of School at Presidio Hill School in San Francisco and 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. 

Their daughter Olivia, 23, recently graduated from Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington with a degree in Art and Race and Ethnic Studies and 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.