Former Darlington Headmaster Tom Whitworth was recently honored for his nine years of service with an oil portrait painted in his likeness by local artist Suzanne Royal. Whitworth retired from Darlington in June 2014, passing the torch to Head of School Brent Bell.
The new portrait joins a collection encompassing other former school headmasters and past presidents in Wilcox Hall's central corridor.
Whitworth came to Darlington in 2005, amidst the Centennial Celebration, to serve as the school’s 10th headmaster. Under his leadership, several key initiatives were actualized. As someone who recognized that students learn in different ways, he led the effort to found the school's Teaching and Learning Center 10 years ago. Also under his leadership, the school integrated the teaching of 21st Century skills into every course and classroom through initiatives like the 1:1 technology program and a focus on project-based learning.
Additionally, the Board of Trustees and school leadership engaged in, funded, and completed two strategic plans. One major result was the successful completion of the $97 million Second Century Campaign, which included important capital projects like the construction of Thatcher Hall, renovations to the boys’ dormitories, and an increased endowment for faculty support.
Whitworth’s legacy ultimately includes leading the charge to develop a “one school” atmosphere at Darlington, overseeing the institution’s transition to a single campus and unified community on Cave Spring Road.
“The mission of a great school should be traditionally progressive in that it respects time-honored methods, yet utilizes forward-thinking, and a process-oriented philosophy,” wrote Whitworth in his personal mission statement. “Learning and writing centers, experiential education, differentiated learning, and state-of-the art technology, taught by strong teachers and coaches, ultimately help students reach their unique potential. The school truly becomes student-centered. I believe that remarkable things can happen when students are challenged to do and to be their best.”
He and his wife, Margo, now reside in Chapel Hill, N.C.