Dear St. Thomas,
My name is Jose A. Garrido III, and I am honored to serve as the new Chairman of the Board of Trustees. My history with St. Thomas runs deep. I am a proud graduate of the Class of 1993 and an even prouder parent of a rising 5th grader, 3rd grader, and kindergartener. I serve on several boards of my former alma maters, including Belen Jesuit’s Board of Advisors and Vanderbilt University’s College of Arts & Science, and have been a part of St. Thomas’ Board since 2020.
For those of you who are new to our community, welcome! Our Board of Trustees comprises a team of volunteers tasked with leading the School’s long-term strategic plan. Based on our passion and commitment to St. Thomas, we were brought together to serve our community, and our professional backgrounds and expertise make it possible for us to counsel the School across various areas, including finance, facilities, and advancement. Additionally, as part of our duties, we serve as a sounding board for St. Thomas’ leadership team, which is led by our Rector, Father Tim Fleck, and Head of School, Sarah Kemeness.
As I begin my first year in this role, I am excited to build upon the work done by my predecessors to ensure the Church and School operate as One St. Thomas - sharing the same vision and purpose. Furthermore, I will lean upon my long-term involvement with St. Thomas to honor the past while also addressing the needs of tomorrow’s learners in our rapidly evolving world. I am also committed to working closely with our Board, so that they continue to lead our community in myriad ways, including philanthropically.
With the School’s platinum (70th) anniversary as our backdrop, the Board will be focused on updating our Strategic Plan for the next five years. We will work closely with our consultants, Mehta Cognition, to navigate this process and create a roadmap to position St. Thomas for continued success. This will be complemented by the relaunch of our Master Plan, which will focus on improving and developing our physical plant while accommodating it to the growth of our community. Finally, we will work closely with Ms. Kemeness to review the accreditation recommendations from the Florida Council of Independent Schools (FCIS) and the Southern Association of Independent Schools (SAIS).
The excitement at St. Thomas is palpable, and I hope you will take every opportunity to be a part of our community. As my oldest son begins his last year at St. Thomas, I can tell you that it passes by too quickly. I invite and encourage you to participate in our activities, as these are the years that matter most. Join us for Flag on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Mark your calendars for the multiple events that take place throughout the year. Support fundraising efforts and help us ensure our school's future is bright. Whatever your time, talent, or treasure allows, we hope to see you at St. Thomas.
I look forward to a fantastic year ahead and thank you for your support. Welcome home!
Jose A. Garrido III