Why TJ » Fifth Head of School Announced

Fifth Head of School Announced

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I am pleased to announce that on July 1, 2020, Dr. Matthew Troutman will become the fifth head of Thomas Jefferson School. Dr. Elizabeth Holekamp, our fourth and current Head of School, will retire after nine years of dedicated and impactful service. 

Dr. Troutman is already a well-established member of the TJ community, having served on the faculty since 2011. His accomplishments are many, and in true TJ fashion represent a wide rage of experiences and interests. Matt earned a B.S. in physics from Roanoke College, an M.S. and a Ph.D. in physics from Clemson University, and an M.Ed. from the Klingenstein Center for Independent School Leadership at Teachers College, Columbia University. At TJ, in addition to leading currently as the Director of Teaching and Learning, he has served as Associate Director of Academics, Chair of the Mathematics Department, and Assistant College Counselor. He also serves on the school’s Committee on Diversity, Inclusion, Equity, and Social Justice; the Admissions and Enrollment Committee; the Student Travel Committee; and previously represented TJ for the Independent Schools of St. Louis’ committee on professional development. He founded TJ’s Robotics Team and has coached varsity girls’ soccer and junior varsity boys’ soccer. In the domain of school governance, Matt has served on the Advancement and Strategic Planning Committees of the Board of Trustees and chaired the steering committee and self-study for TJ’s 2018 ISACS reaccreditation. Outside TJ, Dr. Troutman has served as an astronomy instructor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and as an instructor for the Gifted Resource Council of St. Louis, he is the author of numerous peer-reviewed articles and has presented his work at professional conferences, and even for a short time worked at NASA in Huntsville, Alabama.

 Dr. Troutman (or “Dr. T.,” as he is affectionately known) adheres to a student-centered approach that allows him to forge incredible bonds with students. As those students transition to young alumni, their connection with their former teacher, now turned friend, reinforces their connection to the school. Dr. Troutman’s faithful representation of TJ over the years at reunions and other events has given him the opportunity to meet alumni spanning generations. Such experiences and relationships will be foundational as TJ continues to pursue its mission of preparing students to lead brilliant lives. For the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year, Dr. Troutman will continue to serve as a teacher and faculty leader, while at the same time working closely with Dr. Holekamp, the Board of Trustees, and the entire TJ community to ensure a smooth leadership transition and continued forward momentum for the school.

Dr. Troutman and his wife Ashley met at Clemson University in South Carolina. She works as the Marketing and Operations Manager for Urban Chestnut Brewing Company. They attend St. Louis Blues games and enjoy traveling in their free time. They both like to cook and are always in search of the most interesting podcast.

To identify our next Head of School, the Board of Trustees appointed a search committee to organize and execute the search. Chaired by the Board’s Vice President, the search committee was purposefully composed of faculty, staff, trustees, alumni and friends of the school. They crafted and executed a search process with great care and thoroughness. The Board of Trustees thanks them and acknowledges the expert contributions of Triangle Associates consultant Judith Schechtman.

Dr. Troutman states, "I am honored to have worked alongside Dr. Holekamp, and an incredible group of faculty and staff colleagues for the past eight years. The school's historical commitment to delivering a rigorous liberal arts curriculum in a deliberately sized, and purposefully diverse environment are the core tenets that will guide TJ into the future. TJ is a truly unique place where we voraciously pursue ἀρετή in all things, and I am excited to lead the school in the continuance of that; to build on our many strengths, and to continue to introduce TJ to new generations of incoming students and their families." The Board of Trustees looks forward to supporting Dr. Troutman’s work as the next Head of School. 

With cordial regards,


Trish Winchell, President
Thomas Jefferson School Board of Trustees