Head of School Tom Dillow

Tom joined the KO community from Shorecrest Preparatory School in St. Petersburg, Florida, where he was the assistant head of school and was the head of the upper school for six years. Prior to his tenure at Shorecrest, Tom held a number of positions of increasing responsibility at the Lawrenceville School. First and foremost a teacher during his time at Lawrenceville, he also served as the head of one of the residence houses, was the founding director of Lawrenceville’s highly regarded summer program and redesigned the Humanities curriculum. A lifelong educator and scholar, Tom holds his undergraduate degree in Government and History from Georgetown University and a Master’s degree in International and European Politics from the University of Edinburgh.
In his educational philosophy statement, Tom stated, "The end goal for our students is to create life-long learners who are respectful of others, capable of challenging their prior assumptions when confronted with better evidence to the contrary, yet steadfast when it comes to tackling a problem that seems insurmountable. They should be wary of the treacherous effects of entitlement and recognize that success should not be measured by how much they acquire or consume, but the extent to which they give back to their communities and make a difference.”

Tom attended high school in Austria and Germany. Spurred by his international background, his interest in history, government, and international affairs led him to Georgetown University. A true scholar-athlete, Tom was also a stand-out soccer player at Georgetown. After college, Tom began a career in finance but was drawn toward education and became a faculty member at The McCallie School. This began a career spanning more than two decades in teaching, coaching, and academic leadership at a range of schools, giving him exposure to diverse cultures and experiences.

At Shorecrest, one of the oldest independent day schools in Florida serving approximately 975 students from PreK-12th grade, Tom directly oversaw an upper school that consists of 315 students. During his tenure there, Tom has spearheaded a number of initiatives including the implementation of a new academic schedule that met the brain-based learning and social-emotional health needs of the students, and numerous project-based learning initiatives in the Upper School. In addition, Tom created and taught senior interdisciplinary initiatives (Sub-Saharan Africa and Tribalism: Us vs.Them) and chaperoned service-learning trips to Haiti, Peru and Argentina.

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  • Letter from the Head of School

    To the Kingswood Oxford Community,
    I am deeply honored and incredibly excited to serve as the next Head of School of Kingswood Oxford. From my first interactions with the members of the search committee, I felt an immediate connection and I was impressed by their profound sense of commitment and love for KO. As the process unfolded, and I had the opportunity to meet with additional members of the school, it became clear to me that this sentiment was not unique to the members of that committee. The more I heard from faculty, students, parents, alumni, and board members, the better I understood the source of that affection, and found myself being drawn into the magic that is Kingswood Oxford.
    As a career-long teacher, coach, advisor and administrator at both day and boarding schools, I believe strongly that our role as educators extends beyond the interactions we have with students in the classroom. We are given a great opportunity to educate the whole child, and great schools like Kingswood Oxford do just that. Indeed, I was first attracted to this position after reading KO’s mission statement, which I find is as compelling a statement of a school’s purpose as any I have seen in the independent school world. While it calls us to inspire our students to pursue academic excellence, it also asks our students to be involved, to live lives of great integrity, and for all of us to build a community that supports these endeavors.
    As I got to know the school better, it became abundantly clear that KO’s faculty models the school’s core value of “care beyond self”, particularly in the way that they support our students. Students learn best in a community where they are respected, challenged, and surrounded by caring adults. They grow in empathy when they learn from others who are different from them. They deepen their understanding when they are forced to wrestle with ideas that challenge their prior assumptions. And they are more likely to take intellectual risks in a community that is inclusive. This kind of community has already been created at KO by a talented and engaged faculty and through the visionary leadership of Dennis Bisgaard, and I am thrilled to further this work in the years ahead. I am likewise eager to build upon the strong academic, athletic and arts programs that exist at Kingswood Oxford, to nourish the talents of our students and to prepare them for success in their years after KO.
    While I have learned quite a bit about KO already, there is so much more for me to learn in the months ahead. Though my official start date is not until July 1st, I will be visiting campus a few times this spring to see the KO community in action. During this next school year, I look forward to hearing from you about what makes Kingswood Oxford such a special place. I know that these conversations will be important in order for us to write the next chapter of KO’s illustrious history together.
    I would like to thank Brad Hoffman, Bruce Mandell and all of the members of the Search Committee and Board of Trustees for their thoughtful and challenging questions, and for representing KO so thoroughly throughout the process. I’d also like to thank Meaghan Becker, whose expertise as a consultant with Spencer Stuart was greatly enhanced by her affiliation with KO as a proud alum! Deirdre and I and our four sons (Finn, Ronan, Aidan, and Tadhg) very much look forward to our move to West Hartford this summer!
    I can’t wait to get started!
    With Gratitude,
Recently our Head of School Tom Dillow held a State of the School presentation for the entire community. It was an exceptional and insightful evening and we encourage you to watch the recording below.
Located in West Hartford, CT just steps from Blue Back Square, Kingswood Oxford is a private school inspiring co-ed day students in grades 6-12 with a college preparatory curriculum. Empowered students become clear confident communicators, resourceful problem-solvers, and ethical leaders. KO: where unlimited potential meets endless opportunities.
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