School Leadership

List of 4 items.

  • Head of School

    Michael K. Mulligan
    With an extensive background in independent schools—as student, teacher, and administrator—Michael holds an unwavering belief in the value of an outstanding boarding school education.
     
    A graduate of The Governor's Academy, he went on to Middlebury College. After some enlightening time in the corporate world, Michael returned to his former prep school in 1977 to teach history and English, and to coach soccer, lacrosse, and wrestling. After five years he became the Director of College Placement. During this time, he simultaneously earned Master’s degrees from Middlebury College (English) and Harvard University (Education).
     
    In 1986 Michael moved west to join Thacher as Dean of Administration, teacher, and coach. He then took on other administrative roles, including Assistant Headmaster, Dean of Students, and Interim Head of School, before his appointment as Head of School in 1993. Since then, Michael has overseen all the administrative activities involved in running Thacher, still finding time to coach freshmen boys in soccer and lacrosse and to lead two Extra-Day Trips in the High Sierra or the Los Padres National Forest, traveling on horseback or on foot. He continues teaching various classes including Public Speaking and World Religions.
     
    Michael enjoys the variations in a head of school’s life—each day its own mosaic that might include conversing with faculty and students, discussing construction projects, running Assembly, riding horses or coaching sports in the afternoon, and sharing a Formal Dinner table in the evening. Every Thursday evening after dinner, his advisees join Michael and Joy at their home for Fireside Study.
     
    Michael’s vision for the School is clear: that Thacher be the strongest boarding school of its size and kind. His ultimate desire is for students to recognize that happiness is found in service to others, and to a world that is sorely in need of compassionate, wise leadership. As Chair of The Association of Boarding Schools, a national organization that helps schools like Thacher in professional development, program development and marketing outreach, Michael worked with other educators and specialists across the country to get the good news out about boarding schools to a public that may not know or may misunderstand this unique educational opportunity. He recently served on the board of the California Association of Independent School and is a member of the Headmasters Association.

    Michael lives on campus with his wife, Joy. Their daughter, a recent Thacher graduate, attends college in Colorado. Every Saturday night, they open their home to the Thacher community for games of all kinds, cookie baking, ping-pong and foosball, movies, impromptu dancing, and the kind of unbridled laughter that comes from kids being kids together.
  • Dean of Students

    Sabina McMahon
    As Dean of Students at Thacher, Sabina draws on 12 years of experience at Northfield Mount Hermon School in Northfield, Massachusetts, where she was Associate Dean of Student Life; she also taught mathematics and was head of a boys’ dorm. At Thacher, Sabina teaches mathematics, serves as Head of Sespe, advises senior girls and coaches soccer. She treasures especially the open student-faculty relationships that our small community fosters. Sabina spends her summers as managing director of Camp Moosilauke in Orford, New Hampshire, a business that has been in her family for several generations. She’s an avid runner, and she loves reading and spending time with her husband, Bill, and their three boys, all recent CdeP graduates. The McMahons live on campus.
  • Director of Studies

    Blossom Beatty Pidduck
    After leaving Thacher and her native California, Blossom headed east, where she completed her undergraduate and graduate work. She returned to her alma mater in 1997 as an Assistant Director of Admission and an English teacher. In 1999 she left to teach English at the Viewpoint School in Calabasas, California, where she was actively involved in curriculum development.

    Having returned to Thacher in fall 2004, Blossom now serves as the Director of Studies in addition to teaching English. Blossom lives on campus with her husband (and Thacher classmate!) Brian and their two children.
  • Dean of Faculty

    Jeffrey Hooper
    During his time at Thacher, Jeff has taught courses in Spanish, history, and economics. He's currently serving as Dean of Faculty as well. He is also head coach of Varsity Football—having himself played four years of football at Trinity University and then worked as assistant football coach at Texas Military Institute, 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 The Hill with his wife, Kara, their dog, Cypress, and their two sons.

Board of Trustees

Cabot Brown CdeP 1979, Chair 
Riley P. Bechtel CdeP 1970
Xiaoyan Bi
Scott C. Brittingham
Christine L. Carter CdeP 1990 
Cindy Castañeda CdeP 1988
David K. Chao CdeP 1984 
Karen M. and C. Sedgwick Dienst
Bonawyn C. Eison CdeP 2001 
Michael Galgon 
John S. Gates CdeP 1975 
Sasha S. Gifford 
Henrique C. Cordeiro Guerra CdeP 1989
T. Newlin Hastings Jr. CdeP 1970 
Douglas M. Hodge 
Mark A. T. Holman CdeP 1986
Annica Howard 
Robert W. Johnson CdeP 1967 
Lisa M. Kirkland 
Jeffrey Lee CdeP 1996
Stephanie Lynch 
Thomas D. McCloskey Jr. 
Gretchen H. Milligan 
Guadalupe Nickell CdeP 1992
Louise M. Patterson 
Philip L. Pillsbury Jr. CdeP 1967 
Sarah E. Lavender Smith CdeP 1986 
John B. Wagner CdeP 1976
Ted W. Williams
Daniel W. Yih 

Honorary and 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
John G. Lewis Jr. CdeP 1959, Honorary Trustee 
Toby Rosenblatt CdeP 1956, Honorary Trustee
A coeducational college preparatory boarding high school
The Thacher School
5025 Thacher Road
Ojai, California, 93023

Tel : 805-646-4377
Fax: 805-646-9490
Email: info@thacher.org