Associate Head of School and Director of Middle School
As Director of Middle School, José Leonor leads the ongoing development of Thaden’s middle school curriculum and academic advising programs, and oversees the work of the faculty. He also teaches English, Spanish, and French.
Raised in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City, Mr. Leonor comes to Thaden from The Bishop’s School in Southern California. Prior to that, Mr. Leonor was a member of the faculty during the founding years of Pacific Ridge School, also located in Southern California. He started his career as an educator at his high school alma mater, The Horace Mann School in New York City. With more than 10 years of experience in independent school education, he understands what students need to grow academically and socially and how best to prepare them for the opportunities and challenges of high school and college. His experience in building and supporting diverse learning communities is also well aligned with Thaden’s mission. Outside of the classroom, he enjoys coaching, sponsoring student clubs, and leading student trips abroad.
Mr. Leonor holds a bachelor’s degree in comparative literature from Princeton University and a master’s degree in independent school leadership from The Klingenstein Center at Columbia University’s Teachers College.
When José was seven years old, his older sister Sally, herself only twelve, made it her mission to teach him the French language. With a dictionary, a chalkboard, and an endless store of curiosity and determination, she taught her little brother (and herself) the ways of this mysterious and marvelous language and ignited in him an enduring passion for words, languages, and, above all, learning. In his free time, José explores Arkansas and the United States by bike, rail, and road.