Head of School


By Kim Siebert MacPhail ’73, P’07
Photos by M. Dirk MacKnight, P’10
From the moment Tao Smith ’90 set foot on campus as a prospective student, he felt an immediate connection. It was the summer of 1987, and things had not been going well for him at public school in Pomfret, Vermont.

“I stood out from the other kids my age,” Smith says. “Private school was not in our purview, but I needed a change. We’d looked at a few other schools, and liked them, but when we came up here, I felt like I belonged in a way I hadn’t felt anywhere before then. We were driving away—not even out of sight of the field house roof—and I turned to my mom and said, ‘That’s my place.’”

Including that day in 1987, Smith found his way to Gould Academy three times. First, as a three-year student. Second, as a ski coach and faculty member, from 1995 to 2001. And third, as the 39th head of school—and the first alumnus to serve in the role—arriving just in time to lead Gould through reopening plans in the face of the pandemic. 
    • This is Tao Smith’s third turn at Gould—first as a student, then as a young teacher and coach, and now, 19 years later, as head of school.

Gould is a small, co-ed, independent boarding school for grades 8-PG.  We are passionate about preparing academically motivated students for college, helping them to become independent-minded, ethical citizens who will lead lives of purpose, action, excellence, and compassion in a dynamic world.