After 19 years heading two independent schools, Westtown School (PA) and Kent Denver School (CO), Tom Kaesemeyer served as executive director of the Gates Family Foundation in Denver. He retired in June, 2010 after 13 years in that position. While at Gates, Tom focused on public-private partnerships, including the funding and construction of 22 “Learning Landscapes” on DPS elementary school campuses in Denver’s Focus Neighborhoods. He also helped establish a 5-foundation collaborative, the “Foundations for Great Schools,” which annually granted $500,000 to high performing public district and charter schools in Metro Denver. Tom currently works part-time as executive director of the Fox Family Foundation that focuses on supporting nonprofits that promote education reform and self-sufficiency for underserved populations in Denver and New Orleans.
In 1999 Tom was asked by Roger Reisher, founder and CEO of First Bank to help set up a major college scholarship program for Colorado students. It now provides $2.2 million annually in merit/need scholarship grants to over 300 students in 6 state universities. The scholarships are awarded to community college graduates matriculating into 4-year colleges and rising sophomores at state universities. With Federal grants and Reisher funds, tuition and board are fully covered. In February, after 17 years, Tom stepped down as Chair of the Reisher Scholarship Committee.
Tom is a trustee of St. Anne’s Episcopal School in Denver. He served as trustee of Colorado Mesa University from 2000-2008, and of the Denver School of Science and Technology (DSST-Public Schools) from 2008-2014. While at Kent Denver, Tom was the catalyst in establishing Denver Summerbridge (now Breakthrough Kent Denver) on the school campus in 1994. He chaired the Association of Colorado Independent Schools (ACIS) while at Kent and served on the board of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS).
Tom graduated from Lehigh University (BA) and the University of Washington (MA). He and his wife, Sally, served in the Peace Corps in Peru. They have two children, Kate and Karl.