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A message from Dr. Thomas López

Dear Gordon Family,

It is with a heavy heart that I write to inform you that the 2024-2025 school year will be my last at Gordon School. On July 1, 2025, I will begin a new position as the Head of School of Poly Prep Country Day School in Brooklyn, New York.

This decision was incredibly difficult and evolved quickly. I began this school year with no intention or expectation that I would be sharing this news with you today. Since my arrival in 2018, the Gordon community has wrapped its arms around me and my family and made it possible for a state we had never set foot in before and a school we only knew by its national reputation to become our home. I was in. We were in.

This fall, however, it became clear that my extended family would be needing more attention in the coming years than Rodney and I are able to provide from Rhode Island. The opportunity at Poly came into my view this winter and offered me a chance to continue my work as a school leader at Poly, an exceptional institution whose mission aligns with my own, while allowing me to be in the ideal position to navigate some new familial realities. After careful consideration, Rodney and I agreed that we could not ignore the potential positive impact this opportunity would have for our family. Monday night, I informed Gordon’s Board of Trustees of my decision. 

In the world of independent schools, these transitions traditionally take place slowly, and I am grateful for the fact that this move leaves me eighteen more months with you. I've still got a long list of hopes for my time here, and I will need every one of these days to make those dreams for Gordon come true.

This decision is made easier by the knowledge that I will be leaving Gordon in a position of strength after six years of unimaginable growth and change, in our nation and on our campus. There never is an ideal time to say goodbye to a community this special, but Gordon is in good hands. Over my time as the Head of School, I have been blessed with the support of three incredible Board Chairs: George Matouk, Amanda Golding Riegel, and now Damian Ewens ’93. I am grateful for the support they have shown and the trust they have placed in me, and I am convinced that Damian, with the support of our amazing trustees and leadership team, is the perfect person to steward Gordon through this transition.

Of one more thing I am convinced: this place has changed me forever. 

One of the joys of my job is being in conversations about the lasting impact Gordon has on people and, in turn, the impact those people have on the world. In every admissions talk I have with prospective families, I share that the grownups in our community learn as much as our students, and I proudly count myself in that number. I marvel at how much I have grown during my time at Gordon, and how much of Gordon I will take with me. 

In my address to the Class of 2023 last May, I encouraged them not to step out of the “Gordon bubble,” but to let it grow and invite others in to see what’s possible.

After Gordon, I know it’s possible for a school to be a place where mistakes are seen as an opportunity for growth. I know it’s possible for a school to be a place where all families feel welcome, on their first day on campus and long after their last child has graduated. I know it’s possible for a gifted professional community to be committed to lifelong learning and that it’s possible for a school to center the needs of their students during difficult times, even if that means helping families navigate national crises or rethinking the shape of the school day during a pandemic. After Gordon, I know it’s possible for joy to be an essential, daily ingredient of classroom and community life. Gordon has taught me that it’s possible for a small school in East Providence, Rhode Island to create the world we want to see.

Like anyone who has been privileged enough to be a part of this special community, I will bring Gordon with me wherever I go. As I made this decision, it was essential that my new school home be a place that would welcome the values and practices that have become so instinctual during my time in East Providence. I am delighted to have found a match in Poly Prep, and I am honored that they have invited me to be their next Head of School.

I am excited to see what Brooklyn holds for me, but first, I am ready to make these next eighteen months at Gordon count. In the short term, due to the timing of this announcement, I made the decision to withdraw from the Klingenstein Heads of School Program at Teachers College, which is happening this week. So, I look forward to seeing many of you at drop off tomorrow morning.

In the longer term, there will be tears (lots from me), there will be letting go, but there will also be good, hard, thoughtful, joyful work. I'm happy that we’ll be on this journey together and grateful for my chapter in the Gordon story.

With deep appreciation and love,