School Leadership

A Vision for a Bright Future

Founded in 1811 as a private academy, the school's leadership was comprised of forward-thinking innovators that have brought the school to where it is today. 

Our Board of Trustees benefits from the longevity of its members. A group of committed professionals has dedicated their time and energy to shepherding the school towards a bright future. Our Board of Trustees benefits from the longevity of its members. A group of committed professionals has dedicated their time and energy to shepherding the school towards a bright future. 

With only eight headmasters since 1889, Thornton Academy has been led by strong individuals devoted to the well-being of the school. Our current headmaster is both an alum and a parent, celebrating the legacy and tradition that is commonly found at Thornton Academy.

A message from our Headmaster

Welcome to Thornton Academy!  I am so pleased that you are interested in learning about our school and all that Thornton Academy has to offer. 

We are an independent day and boarding school with a proud, 200-year tradition of excellence. Our students attend Thornton Academy from dozens of towns throughout southern Maine, nearby states, and over 20 different countries.

The geographic, cultural, and socioeconomic diversity of our student body creates a unique and dynamic learning environment that fosters a greater appreciation of both our individual differences and the values we share in common.  Among those shared values are Thornton Academy’s Core Pillars of Respect, Responsibility, Compassion and Investment – values that guide our work and how we treat one another within our school community.

Thornton Academy is a school where students can be who they are, and discover who they aspire to be. We are dedicated to supporting the individual needs and goals of every student by offering the most comprehensive program you’ll find anywhere. Our students are encouraged to explore interests and discover their passion among our vast academic, arts, athletic, and community service offerings. The opportunities for students are endless:

  • Over 200 academic course offerings
  • 26 Advanced Placement (AP) courses
  • 6 world languages, including Arabic and Chinese
  • Orchestra, choral, jazz, drama, visual arts, and dance 
  • Engineering, computer programming, robotics, and 3-D animation
  • Championship caliber athletic teams
  • Over 40 student clubs
  • Opportunities for middle school students to enroll in honors level high school courses; and opportunities for high school students to earn college credits through our unique college and university partnerships

Regardless of your interests or abilities, there is a place for you at Thornton Academy. Our school community is warm, welcoming, and diverse. We are a school where students build strong relationships with dedicated teachers, and student friendships that last a lifetime. Our faculty and staff will challenge you to be your best, and support you every step of the way. 

I invite you to visit our campus, meet our faculty and staff, talk to students, and learn how you can join our school community.


Rene M. Menard '88

Board of Trustees

Since 1811, the Thornton Academy Board of Trustees has demonstrated exemplary leadership, generous philanthropic support, and meaningful commitment on behalf of its students and community. Many of our Trustees are alumni, parents, community members, or others invested in Thornton Academy's commitment to excellence. 

Meet our Trustees

Eric A. Purvis ’81 – President 

Angela Bolduc

Vangel Cotsis '85

Philip Fearon '70

Bernard Gaines '65

Robert Gowen

Nate Howell

Joel J. Levesque '85

Tim Murphy '78

Margaret O'Neil '72

Kirk Purvis '93

Dr. Paul Remmes

Mark Willett '65

As a parent of three current Thornton Academy students, their collective experiences provide us with daily reminders of how fortunate we are to have the exceptional teachers, staff, curriculum and campus delivering an education that is truly second to none.

vangel cotsis '85, board of trustees member

Senior Administration

Heidi Butler

Director of Student Support

Matthew Cook

Director of Facilities

Ben Grasso

Assistant Head for Faculty and Academic Affairs

Rene Menard


Ben Nasse

Director of Technology, Dorm Head

Eric Ouellette

Director of School Counseling

Catherine Paradis

Director of Residential Life, Dorm Head

Tiffany Robert

Middle School Principal, Residential Life Parent

Marsha Snyder

Director of Operations

Gary Stevens

Director of Athletics and Student Activities

Ann Marie Swenson

Chief Financial Officer

Nick Tabor

Assistant Head of Student Affairs

Carol Taranko

Associate Head of School

Clint Williams

Director of Enrollment