Now in his 14th year as an educator, Tom Taylor ’00 has become nothing if not devoted to his craft. To hear him speak of it, it was impossible for him to not pursue a career working with students.
“It was very shortly after I began that I fell in love with teaching,” Taylor said. “I really just remember this dawning sense that I was home. When you laugh with kids, when you see they “get it” or have that moment of realization, it’s magical. There really wasn’t one moment or student, but just a general awakening to the notion that I belonged in education.
“I was learning, I was challenged, and I never looked back.”
Taylor graduated from Oberlin with a double major in physics and theater. Having attended an independent school meant he understood what would be involved with teaching at an independent school, a suggestion made to him at Oberlin’s career center. It didn’t take him too long in the classroom at Riverdale Country School in the Bronx, N.Y. for Taylor to realize he made the right choice.
While at Riverdale, he branched out from being solely a teacher to overseeing financial aid and outreach, eventually becoming a Dean of Students. He earned a Master’s degree from Teachers College of Columbia University before becoming the Head of the Upper School at the prestigious Breck School in Minneapolis. Now in his sixth year at Breck, he is also working on a Ph.D. in education policy and leadership.
“At some point, I think I’d like to be a Head of School, if there is a right fit,” he said. “With this Ph.D., the possibility of working on the teacher prep side as a college professor could potentially appeal to me as well.”
St. Andrew’s has no shortage of graduates who have gone into the education field. Taylor believes there are a few reasons for that.
“Something about the community and being an Episcopal School fosters this notion of community,” said Taylor, who began his career teaching physics. “And people thrive in that and want to create it for others. I think teaching is an act of love and I think St. Andrew’s students feel that and kids leave feeling a sense of being cared for and loved and that perpetuates itself.
“I had role models, as well. I thought a lot about Kurt Sinclair, who was my physics teacher. At the high school level, you have to be passionate about and have expertise in your subject area. Kurt Sinclair’s connection to physics made me feel a connection to physics.”
Tom Taylor is one of 12 alumni featured in the 40th anniversary magazine, published in May 2019. Learn more about the history of St. Andrew's and the impact our alumni are having around the world by reading our spring magazine.