Thursday, August 16 , 2018, 1:37 pm | Fair 77º

 
 
 
 

Q&A with New Laguna Blanca Board Chairman Tom Pickett

He shares his goals and vision for the school for the new year and beyond

Laguna Blanca School is pleased to announce Tom Pickett as the new chairman of its Board of Trustees

Tom Pickett
Tom Pickett

Below, he shares his goals and vision for the 2012 school year and beyond, and answers some important questions about Laguna Blanca School with his new leadership perspective.

Q: What does Laguna Blanca NOW mean to you?

A: Laguna Blanca NOW is a call to action to take a look at our school today and consider it for your student. The school has never been stronger or better, and we are guiding students to even greater heights by continuing a tradition of core academic excellence, and building on that core in new and innovative ways.

With the introduction of the school’s iPad initiative, the one-to-one laptop program in the middle school, the new outdoor adventure education program, and the renovation of the library into a state-of-the-art academic research center, the school is proactively enabling students to have a comprehensive educational experience.

Q: What do you hope your daughters and the other students at Laguna Blanca School gain from their educational experience here?

A: I want my daughters and all Laguna students to succeed in college and beyond, in whatever path their lives take; I want them to feel empowered and self-confident. I think this is exactly what Laguna offers through its academics, sports programs, and tight-knit community of students and faculty. The support, guidance and interaction with the faculty of Laguna gives students the tools they need to succeed.

I give credit to Laguna for my older daughter, Caroline’s, success in college. She is happy and confident, in the right school, and succeeding largely in part to the Laguna faculty who affected her. I know my younger daughter, Olivia, is heading down the same path through her experience at Laguna, and I am excited to see where the next few years take her.

Q: How do you see education and learning in schools evolving over the next five to 10 years?

A: I see schools becoming more innovative in how they develop their students academically and more global in how they help their students to be great citizens. The accelerating pace of online learning and the growing acceptance of social networking offer significant opportunities for entirely new and energizing methods of teaching and community building, and our schools need to capitalize on these new methods. With expert faculty, highly motivated students, a strong core academic foundation, and the freedom to act quickly and creatively, Laguna is at the forefront of taking full advantage of these opportunities.

Q: What goals do you hope to achieve for Laguna Blanca School this year?

A: The board, in partnership with Headmaster Paul Slocombe, has several goals for the year that include developing and articulating where the school is going, how we will get there and the resources required; continuing to make progress on our WASC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges) accreditation renewal, which keeps Laguna current and competitive with the top schools in the country; and rounding out our Board of Trustees to fill in areas of expertise that will add to the strength of the board.

It is also particularly important to me that we bring our entire community closer together over the next year, and recognize our successes and continue building a stronger, tight-knit and proud community.

Q: What words of wisdom would you share with the students entering the new school year?

A: I guess it would be the same “words of wisdom” I would give any young person, and that is to seek out people that have come before you, show them respect, ask them questions and listen to their answers. Never be afraid to ask questions and keep asking questions until you understand the answer. It is always beneficial to seek to learn what others know.

. . .

Pickett has been a member of the Laguna Blanca School Board of Trustees for the past two years, previously serving as treasurer and as a member of the finance and executive committees. He has extensive experience in independent school leadership, having served on the Board of Trustees of Marymount of Santa Barbara for seven years, leading the board in his last two years of service.

In addition to his nonprofit experience with independent schools, Pickett served on the Board of Directors for the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara for five years, where he served on the strategic planning, development and personnel committees.

Pickett completed the Executive Program in Strategy and Organization at Stanford Business School and holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, a bachelor of science degree in accounting from the University of Virginia and various courses related to initial public offerings and SEC reporting.

Currently a consulting chief financial officer at Weber Logistics and a financial advisor for TrueVision Systems Inc., Pickett has more than 35 years of experience as a senior finance and operations executive with companies ranging from technology based startups to a multinational publicly traded corporation in the information services business.

— Jennifer Guess is a publicist representing Laguna Blanca School.

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