Obituaries

Tom Little: Visionary educator, progressive voice

Tom Little
Tom Little, who died on May 30, 2014

Tonight a large community will gather at Berkeley Rep to celebrate the life of Tom Little, the former Head of Park Day School, who passed away on April 30, 2014, after a courageous struggle with bone cancer. He was 60 years old.

In some ways Tom was a patron saint of Berkeleyside — the founders and I all met when our children attended Park Day School. While all of our children are now in their late teens and early twenties, we still feel connected to the school, as do most alumni families.

Tom began teaching at Park Day in 1976 and went on to become the Head of School. He epitomized someone dedicated to the wellbeing and educational opportunities for all children. He set a standard for leadership at Park Day, treating both adults and children with thoughtfulness, dignity and respect.

Tom made sure that the focus of the last months of his life be on creating minimal disruption to the students at the school and ensuring as smooth a transition as possible for the staff.

And, happily, he was able to complete researching and writing a non-fiction bookapproved airplane 5_16 low res entitled, Loving Learning: How Progressive Education Can Save American Schools, which will be published by W.W. Norton in March 2015.

I am just one of many parents who presented Tom with challenges and asked for special accommodations for my child; more often it was Tom who came to me with ideas and opportunities for my son.

On behalf of my partners at Berkeleyside, we thank Tom for all he did for our own children and for so many others. We feel honored to have had him be a part of our lives and we mourn his loss.

Feel free to share your messages of condolence and/or memories of Tom Little in the comments.

Berkeleyside is always honored to publish, at no cost, obituaries of members of the Berkeley community. Please email text and photo(s) to editors@berkeleyside.com.