Get to know... Thomas de Quesada, Fairfield Prep’s new principal
FAIRFIELD — Thomas de Quesada has lived his entire life in Miami.
He loves the Miami Heat, is a “long-suffering” Dolphins fan and, for 20 years, has worked as an educator at his alma mater, Belen Jesuit Preparatory School.
But, it was announced this month, de Quesada will leave the year-long warmth of southern Florida for Connecticut, where he has been named principal at Fairfield College Preparatory School effective July 1.
“I am incredibly excited,” de Quesada said last week. “My wife and I are humbled that we’re going to be part of such a great community.”
Currently, de Quesada serves as the dean of men at Belen Jesuit, an all-male Catholic school serving grades 6-12. Once in Fairfield, he’ll replace retiring Principal Robert Perrotta, who served in the role for nearly five decades.
“I’m filling a role of an individual who has been there for 49 years and left such a strong legacy. Those are big shoes to fill,” de Quesada said. “I want to continue to build on his successes and build on the academic excellence of the school.”
A Jesuit high school and division of Fairfield University, Fairfield Prep has been educating boys for 75 years.
In his time at Belen Jesuit, de Quesada guided annual student trips to Peru, chaired the committee for school branding, directed the campus store, served as the director of development and alumni relations, coordinated the Overseas Study Program, taught world history and Latin American history, coached basketball, and moderated the Student Council and Model U.N. program.
His work in education has been varied and involved engaging students out of the classroom as much as it has been about educating students within the classroom. De Quesada attributes this well-roundedness and versatility to his parents, who encouraged him to get involved in many activities, and to his education based in the Jesuit tradition.
“It’s been such a big part of my life. Ever since I was 11 years old, Jesuit education has been the only education I’ve ever known. The goal is to educate the whole person, to excel in everything you do,” de Quesada explained. “By educating the entire person, giving students exceptional experiences inside and outside classroom, we’re challenging them to make it a better place, to leave their mark on the school and in the community,”
After graduating from Belen Jesuit, de Quesada studied political science at Florida International University, before completing a master’s degree in management and administration of educational programs, followed by a Doctor of Education degree in educational technology from Nova Southeastern University.
Thanks to teachers to whom he felt a strong connection, de Quesada knew since his sophomore year in high school that he wanted to be an educator.
“I was so blessed with such great teachers and mentors and I wanted to emulate their model and be like them. I knew from a very young age I wanted to leave a similar mark,” de Quesada said.
De Quesada, whose background is in student affairs, said he’s looking forward to working closely with students, whether it be in an academic, athletic or extracurricular setting.
“I want to continue to build on the excellence that’s already there to provide the students with an extraordinary experience with the school,” de Quesada said. “It’s a great privilege.”