After being a headmaster for 25 years, Tom Reid retired. But he and his wife, Ann, weren’t interested in staying home and just puttering around; they wanted to live in new places and experience different cultures. So they decided on a path that brought them to Miami where Reid is the interim head of school at Palmer Trinity School.
“That was the most attractive about Palmer,” he said. “To be able to live in Miami, which is so different from where we have been before.”
He did have an important stipulation taking the interim job. He wanted housing near the school.
“I’ve never commuted in my life,” Reid said. “We started a day school in Philadelphia and we lived close enough to walk. We were at a boarding school with housing and the other schools [had housing].”
He and his wife are happily living in Cutler Bay.
“The community is everything I had been led to believe,” he said, adding that he has had a warm welcome to Palmer and the beginning of school has gone well. “I’m really pleased with teaching and the learning here the school have been everything is had hoped it would be.” Reid said the interim position is different from being a permanent head of school.
“It’s keeping the train running on time so the operations are smooth and consistent,” he said. “In particular for the senior class. You do not have the ultimate responsibilities. It gives you freedom to take some actions and limits you in other things.”
Reid said his job will be headmaster and part consultant. He also will help inform the board members in their discussions of where they want to go.
He will have an important role this year in getting the self-study for accreditation off the ground.
“My mission is to see that and guide that,” he said.
Being an interim head has some good points. Reid said he does not have to have the ultimate responsibilities. Which gives him freedom to take some actions and but limits him in other things. His job is to be both a headmaster and a consultant.
“To help inform the board in their discussions of where they want to go,” he said.
As the head of school during the selfstudy, he will offer different ways of looking at things. Those will be things he has done or tried.
“I’ll be helping to set a direction,” he said. “There are decisions to be made to support a permanent head to come.”
After Sean Murphy announced his resignation in October 2012, the Palmer board did a search for an interim head of school. The search mechanism for headmasters is unique and includes long lead times, with new jobs announced in October.
“I announced my resignation at St. Paul’s in February 2012 and was there through the next school year,” he said. “The schedule is to have a permanent head named sometime in October.”
Reid is not a candidate for the head of school position.
Reid is the past headmaster at St. Paul’s School in Lutherville, MD, a coed school in the lower grades and all-boys middle and upper schools. He worked as headmaster at the Buckley Country Day School in Roslyn, NY, and he was a teacher and administrator at the Pomfret School in Connecticut and teacher and administrator at the Chestnut Hill Academy in Philadelphia.
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