School Leadership

List of 15 items.

  • Interim Head of School

    Jeff Hooper
    During his time at Thacher, Jeff has taught courses in Spanish, history, and economics. He is also the head coach of varsity football—having himself played four years of football at Trinity University and then worked as assistant football coach at TMI-The Episcopal School of Texas in San Antonio, where he also taught Spanish. Jeff appreciates the tightly knit community at Thacher and enjoys the Outdoor Program, whose trips into the Sespe, the San Rafael Mountains, and the southern Sierra have taught him a lot about camping. Guided by his love of Spanish, Jeff has explored Mexico and studied in Latin America. He lives on campus with his wife, Kara, and their two sons, Hayden ’23 and Hiram '25.
  • Assistant Head of School & Director of Studies

    Dr. Tracy Miller
    Tracy is from north of Boston, Massachusetts and graduated from Mount Holyoke College, moving to New York City immediately following to pursue a PhD in English at NYU. While in graduate school Tracy taught for NYU’s English dept. She also worked in the summer programs at The Northfield Mount Hermon School and Phillips Academy, which solidified her interest in teaching at the secondary level. Tracy began teaching at The Webb Schools in 2010, where she held a variety of roles, including most recently director of studies. In her free time Tracy loves the outdoors and spending time with her son Joseph and husband Jay.
  • Director of People Operations

    Justin Arnold
    As the Director of People Operations at Thacher, Justin helps to enhance the culture of creativity, productivity, and innovation that is foundational to our work as educators in supporting the growth and development of the students in our care. Prior to joining Thacher, Justin was a consultant specializing in executive coaching, organization design, leadership development, change management, and high performance team building. He also served as Vice President and Manager of People Strategy and Development at a major Engineering and Construction company. In this role he was accountable for the design, development, and implementation of enterprise-wide talent strategies that spanned the employee lifecycle. Justin has worked on multiple projects throughout the United States as well as Algeria, Equatorial Guinea, and the United Arab Emirates. Justin holds an undergraduate degree in human and organizational development and a master’s degree in leadership and organizational performance from Vanderbilt University.
  • Director of Facilities

    Ed Bennett
    Before retiring from the U.S. Navy Civil Engineer Corps, Ed served in a number of facilities leadership positions, with his final position being the head of facilities and construction for Marine Corps Base 29 Palms, California. After the Navy and prior to coming to Thacher, Ed held a number of senior facility leadership roles in higher education. At Thacher, Ed is responsible for all facilities matters, which include sustainability, security, maintenance and repair, grounds, utilities, event support, Horse Program support, and planning, design, and construction. Ed and his wife Tammy have been married for 38 years and have two children, Matt, a graduate of West Chester University, and Ashlee, who holds a PhD in microbiology from Columbia University.
  • Director of Institutional Advancement

    Jeff Berndt
    Jeff joined Thacher in 2015 and serves as the School's director of advancement. He started his career at Middlesex School where he held roles in the annual fund and their record-setting capital campaign. In 2001, he joined the Noble and Greenough School in Dedham, MA, as their director of development where they became the first day-school in the nation to complete a $100MM+ capital campaign. After completing the campaign, he became managing director of New Profit—one of the leading “venture-philanthropy” firms—where he helped organizations such as Year Up, KIPP, and Teach for America scale across the country. Immediately preceding Thacher, Jeff was a managing director and the head of philanthropic services at Roundtable Investment Partners, which is a shared family office headquartered in NYC. Jeff and his wife Kristin live on campus and have three children, Tyler CdeP 2020, Erik CdeP 2021, and Kendall.
  • Director of Development

    Sara Billings
    Sara Billings, a native to Los Angeles, joined Thacher in 2019 as director of development to oversee the Alumni Relations, Operations, and Annual Fund teams. Sara has worked in major gifts, development, and team management since 2001. Before coming to Thacher, Sara was most recently the director of advancement at The Archer School for Girls and brings 12 years of independent school experience to the role. A graduate of Johns Hopkins University and Campbell Hall High School, Sara is passionate about serving her team and the supporters of Thacher. She lives locally with her two children and husband.
  • Director of Afternoon Programs

    Jason Carney
    Jason teaches history, advises, and chairs the School's Voices and Perspectives Committee. While at Thacher, Jason has served as History Department chair, dormitory head for three dorms, a senior admission officer, and dean of faculty. He has also developed curriculum for many history courses, including Honors U.S. History and Honors Contemporary Ethical Issues. Additionally, Jason has coached the varsity boys’ basketball team since 2002 and, along with receiving league honors, was a CIF Coach-of-the-Year recipient. He lives on campus with his wife, Megan, their three children, and their dog, Bruce.
  • Director of Student Life

    Megan Carney
    Megan joined the Thacher community in 2001 and since that time has been a dorm head, including the last 11 working with 9th graders in Casa, taught English and psychology, coached cross country, and played a central role in developing programming, policy, and vision for residential life at Thacher. Megan has a BA from Princeton University and an EdM from Harvard University.
  • Associate Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

    Christian Garris
    Christian moved to Ojai from Massachusetts with his wife Erin and newborn son, August. He spent the last four years working in admissions at Tabor Academy where he is also an Alumnus. Christian also comes to us with a strong background in diversity, equity, and inclusion work and looks forward to continuing that at Thacher. In addition to working in DEI and admissions, Christian will be coaching football and basketball this year and advising sophomore boys in Los Padres. He will be cheering on all student teams and achievements this year, but you'll be sure to catch him in a Patriots jersey on Sundays.
  • Director of Enrollment and Planning

    Bill McMahon
    As director of enrollment and planning, Bill says his favorite part of the day is talking with families about Thacher's amazingly positive peer community. His favorite week-long Thacher camping trip entails sea kayaking down the leeward side of Catalina Island and spending the afternoons snorkeling in the kelp forests. In addition to his administrative duties, Bill is an advisor to senior boys and an enthusiastic supporter of the surf club. After earning his BA at Colgate University and his MBA at Columbia University, Bill worked in advertising in NYC before serving as director of marketing and planning at The Northfield Mount Hermon School. Bill and his wife Sabina have four sons, all of whom attended Thacher and then went on to Colgate University.
  • Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

    Sepideah Mohsenian-Rahman, MSW
    Sepideah Mohsenian-Rahman, MSW rejoined the Thacher community in the summer of 2022 as the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. A social worker with deep experience in educational and community settings, Sepideah brings over 10 years of experience to this role, including serving as the Program Director of the University of California, Santa Barbara’s Multicultural Center, where she curated events and lectures featuring leading scholars, and worked closely with student affairs and academic departments to elevate student belonging and success. Additionally, Sepideah will support on-campus wellness initiatives by offering therapy under clinical supervision using a trauma-informed lens. Sepideah received BAs in International Studies, Peace & Conflict Resolution and Religious Studies from American University, and a Master of Social Work from Columbia University.
  • Director of College Counseling

    Maria Morales-Kent
    Maria came to Thacher in the fall of 1997 after working in the admission offices of the University of Pennsylvania and Occidental College. She earned a BA in English from Occidental and is also a graduate of the Coro Foundation’s Fellows Program in Public Policy in Los Angeles. To her position as director of college counseling, Maria brings 30 years of experience on both sides of the college admission desk. Early in her career, she co-founded a non-profit organization focused on supporting first-generation students’ pursuit of college. While at Thacher she co-founded ACCIS, a national professional organization for counselors at independent schools. Maria is dedicated to helping students find the right personal and academic fit for their education beyond Thacher and values our unique learning experience, which helps nurture bright, authentic students. She serves as a faculty advisor to senior boys, is the School ombudsman, and serves on the advisory councils at Colorado College and the University of Chicago.
  • Director of Finance

    Jim Poulson
    Jim arrived at Thacher from Northfield Mount Hermon, where he served as business manager for 18 years. Jim's initial boarding school experience was at Middlesex School, where he was assistant business nanager and an assistant football coach. With a BA from Williams College and an MBA from UMASS-Amherst, until 2013, Jim had been an east coaster exclusively. He considers the prospect of EDTs an especially exciting opportunity to work with students and faculty on different grounds. Jim is the father of two sons, Luke and Dominick.
  • Director of Communications

    Carly Rodriguez
    Carly joined Thacher in the summer of 2021 from Marlborough School, a middle and high school for girls based in Los Angeles. She brings over 25 years of communications experience to her working in schools, business services, and technology to her role. Carly also serves on the Voices & Perspectives Committee, helping to identify and coordinate engaging speakers and visitors, as well as the Senior Ex Committee, for which she supports Thacher seniors in the promotion of their senior exhibitions. Carly lives in Ojai with her husband and daughters, Lucy (a student at the University of California at Santa Cruz) and Lila, a member of Thacher's Class of 2024.
  • Dean of Faculty

    Tim Sullivan
    In addition to his dean of faculty role, Tim teacher English, coaches boys' varsity lacrosse, and serves as Dorm Head in Upper School. Tim joined the Thacher community in 2013 after eight years at Loyola, where he has served as director of alumni relations and assistant varsity lacrosse coach. A native of Edina, Minnesota, Tim holds a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University and a master’s degree in English from Middlebury College. 

Board of Trustees

Danny Sonenshine CdeP 1991, Chair
Riley P. Bechtel CdeP 1970
Hiroko Bekins (Parents Association Co-Chair)
Michael Bekins (Parents Association Co-Chair)
Scott C. Brittingham
Michael Galgon 
Blake Grayson CdeP 1991
T. Newlin Hastings Jr. CdeP 1970 
Annica Howard 
Laura Van Winkle James CdeP 1993
Stephanie Lynch 
Gretchen H. Milligan 
Anna Ortiz-Morfit
Peter Munzig CdeP 1999
Guadalupe Nickell CdeP 1992
Dawn Porter 
Max Reniers CdeP 1992
Janet Carroll Richardson CdeP 1983
Mark Robinson
Catalina Saenz CdeP 1995
Brian Smallwood CdeP 1983
Dermond Thomas CdeP 1994
John B. Wagner CdeP 1976
Stefanie Warren CdeP 1996

Honorary and Emeritus
Cabot Brown CdeP 1979, Trustee Emeritus 
Reid W. Dennis CdeP 1944, Trustee Emeritus 
Justin M. Faggioli CdeP 1969, Trustee Emeritus 
E. Randolph Labbe CdeP 1960, Trustee Emeritus
Marshall C. Milligan CdeP 1969, Trustee Emeritus 
Andrew R. Shakman CdeP 1990, Trustee Emeritus
Toby Rosenblatt CdeP 1956, Honorary Trustee
Dan Yih, Trustee Emeritus
Notice of nondiscriminatory policy as to students: The Thacher School admits students of any race, color, national, and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the School. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national, and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admission policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other School-administered programs.