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Unsung Hero: Gil Thornfeldt, Taft School

By Net Assets posted 10-12-2017 09:01 AM

Gil Thornfeldt

Leadership |

The Will J. Hancock Unsung Hero Award is given to business officers who have made extraordinary contributions to their schools and exemplify exceptional integrity, knowledge and motivation. At the end of each school year, new Unsung Heroes receive their award from their head of school, often at a significant school occasion such as a board meeting or an all-school ceremony. What makes these Unsung Heroes so special? The highlights below come straight from their colleagues' nominations. 

See a full list of the 2017 recipients. Stay tuned to for additional profiles.

Title: Chief Financial Officer

School: Taft School, Watertown, Connecticut

Years in current position: 12

Years in an independent school business office: 12

Superpower: Master planner — "He has overseen some incredibly challenging and complex campus projects, including major renovations and new construction projects. These were all done over brief summer weeks with profound scheduling and engineering challenges. He came up with out-of-the-box answers that made things possible, and his control over the issues and processes is singular."

Firm hand: "He is a very tough negotiator and has done remarkable work with our outsourced arrangements, writing RFPs, hiring vendors and getting value for service. He saved the school so much money while insisting on quality. Getting increased value, of course, means there are more resources for other school areas."

Soft touch: "He has led our relationship building with Watertown and Waterbury, and part of the reason we have such strong relationships with municipal leaders (fire and police, town manager, etc.) is because of Gil's work and commitment. These men and women are regular, welcome visitors on campus and true partners, and Gil has a lot to do with that."

Secret talent: "He is famous on campus for his bad puns, his groan-inducing jokes, and we always need those in our work!"

See a full list of the 2017 recipients and read more about the Will J. Hancock Unsung Hero Award. will post additional profiles of Unsung Heroes over the summer and into the fall — check in to learn more about other recipients.


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