Tom Sherwood’s good natured yet direct leadership style seems to come straight from the motto of Brighton High: “We choose to be better today than we were yesterday.”
Sherwood, currently principal of the Cottonwood Heights-based school, will put his leadership skills and talents to good use as the new Director of Canyons District High Schools. The Canyons Board of Education approved his appointment on Tuesday, March 7, 2023.
Lauding the leadership in CSD high schools as “second to none,” Sherwood said, “I am lucky to work with them and look forward to helping them be successful in their schools.” While he will miss working directly with the faculty, staff, and students at Brighton High, he looks forward to working with the Board and District administration in supporting all high schools in his new role.
Sherwood approaches the post, which he will assume after the end of this school year, with nearly 20 years of battle-tested and hands-on experience as a high school administrator.
He’ll oversee the leadership of Alta, Brighton, Corner Canyon, Jordan, Hillcrest, Diamond Ridge, high schools, and the Canyons Technical Education Center as well as work hand-in-hand with directors of CSD’s academic and operational departments to coordinate efforts. A major focus of the position is to ensure a growing number of students are career- and college-ready when they walk across the high school graduation stage. CSD’s high school graduation rate, coming out of the pandemic, is 89 percent.
After working as a science educator, in 2004 Sherwood became an assistant principal of Jordan High. The doctoral-degree candidate served as the Beetdiggers’ acting principal in 2006 and 2008, respectively, before becoming the instructional and community leader at JHS in January 2009.
While at the tradition-rich Jordan High, Sherwood instituted the AVID program, including summer remediation and extended participation into the feeder middle schools. Jordan also was the first in CSD to start the Link Crew freshman mentoring program.
In June 2017, Sherwood, the 2021 Apex Award winner for School Administrator of the Year, became principal of Brighton High, which has been consistently named by U.S. News and World Report as one of the top high schools in Utah. That same year, Canyons District residents graciously approved a $283 million bond to fund the renovation and construction of several new schools, including Brighton High.
After a two-year construction period, which Sherwood helped oversee, the new Brighton opened to great fanfare in August 2021, and in January, CSD and Hogan and Associates received the 2022 “K-12 Award of Excellence” from the Associated General Contractors of Utah for the Brighton project.
With Sherwood’s support, Brighton students continue to earn statewide titles in sports and national Model United Nation competitions. The school brought back its marching band and created an AP Capstone diploma program while also adding flex periods to boost achievement for all students, advancing its already-high graduation rate to new heights.