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Head of School

Thomas Cangiano

Years at Gems



Leadership, Upper School Faculty


Thomas Cangiano is the Head of School at GEMS World Academy Chicago. He brings to the role more than 25 years of experience as an accomplished educator, strategic thinker, scholar and dynamic leader. He comes to GEMS from Shady Side Academy in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which he served as President. During his 8-year tenure at Shady Side, Mr. Cangiano spearheaded numerous initiatives, including realizing the school's new Strategic Vision (2012); re-casting its mission and philosophy (2013); reinstating its boarding program (2015); and the successful merger of Shady Side with Fox Chapel Country Day School (2017).

A native of Massachusetts, Mr. Cangiano earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in American literature with a minor in American history from Middlebury College, a Master of Arts in teaching from Tufts University and a Master of Arts and Master of Philosophy in history from Columbia University. He and his wife, Linda, have three children: George, Grace and Celia.

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