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Tim Richards '85 P'14 New Head of Pomfret School

 
August 15, 2012

Early in his freshman year at Connecticut College, Tim Richards ’85 P’14 was asked to write
down his career goals. His parents, grandparents and a great-grandfather were all teachers, so if
genetics had any role to play in his job choice, it would seem that his path was laid out for him.
But Connecticut College offered him a chance to change his fate. As he filled out the sheet, he
underlined his response for emphasis, “Anything but teaching.”

Richards’ response might come as a surprise to those who know him as the head of school at
Pomfret School, an independent coeducational boarding and day school in Pomfret, Conn. Now
entering his second year in this role, Richards’ new leadership position is the culmination of a
long and distinguished teaching career, including 23 years at St. George’s School in Newport,
R.I., where he served in a wide variety of teaching and administrative positions.

“My job is infinitely satisfying and unbelievably rewarding,” Richards says. “The community at
Pomfret is unlike any place I’ve ever known.”

One of Richards’ newest initiatives at the Promfret School is spearheading a strategic planning
process for Pomfret, which began last spring. A key area of focus is identifying teaching
practices that address the changing demands of today’s world. For Richards, the traditional
model based on content mastery needs to shift to an emphasis on developing a skill set,
especially in areas of communication.

Other prominent themes in Richards’ vision for the school include fostering creativity and
cultivating a global perspective. Additionally, through programs like Pomfret’s twice-weekly
non-denominational chapel services, Richards seeks to instill students with a solid foundation of
morals.

Connecticut College remains a large part of Richards’ life today. He double majored in French
and psychology, was active in the Student Government Association, served as a housefellow
and won the Helen Lehman Buttenweiser Scholar Award for Outstanding Scholarship and
Leadership. He met his wife Anne, who is also a teacher, during freshman orientation week,
and they both remain close to many friends from their time at the College. The family tradition
continues today -– their son Max is a member of the class of 2014.

For Richards, many hallmarks of the Connecticut College experience are consistent with the
advantages of a boarding school education.

“The most significant moments at Connecticut College frequently take place outside of the
classroom,” Richards says. “I knew all of my professors and could easily talk to them outside
of class. The extracurricular activities I got involved in gave me the opportunity to learn about
leadership. All of these experiences were transformative and transcend my days on campus.”

Richards earned a master's degree in French from Middlebury College, served as a teaching
intern at Groton School and taught briefly at Wilbraham and Monson Academy. He and his wife,
Anne Kiely Richards ’85 P’14, have three children -– Max, Molly and Lucy.

- By Tom Owen

 

 

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