Lee Thomsen sings in a "Thank You All" video for Rowland Hall, where he is principal of the Upper School. Thomsen, who was recently selected as the next headmaster, sang the rap section in the school's takeoff of Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off."

MEET LEE THOMSEN: Famous for his hashtag video, newly selected headmaster loves acting, music, Baltimore Orioles

Lee Thomsen was selected by the Board of Trustees as the new head of school on Nov. 2. He will be visiting the school again on Friday, Nov. 20.

Thomsen is currently working at Rowland Hall in Salt Lake City, Utah. He has been principal of the Upper School there since 2004.  

Sophia, one of Lee Thomson’s daughters, celebrates her family’s move to Country Day. She will be in sixth grade next year.

Q: Do you have any children?

A: I have two daughters. One is a senior at Rowland Hall, so she will be going off to college next year. Her name is Abby.

My second daughter’s name is Sophia, and she is 11 years old. She is currently in fifth grade, so she will come to Country Day for sixth grade next year.

Q: Does Abby know where she wants to go to college?

A: She is in the application process right now. She applied early to Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn. She has also applied to Lewis and Clark College in Portland and Bard College in New York.

Q: Have you thought about where you are going to live in Sacramento?

A: I have only been to Sacramento the one time I was there for the interview. My family and I looked at a couple neighborhoods while we were in town. I don’t really have any idea where we want to live, but I know we really hope to live close to school.  

Q: When will you move?

A: The job starts July 1, so hopefully right around the end of June or early July. Sophia will be in a theater camp here in Salt Lake City right up until we move.

Q: What are some of your hobbies?

A: I am a skier, although not a very good one.

I am also a huge music fan. The only instrument I play is the ukulele, which I just started learning. I listen to music just constantly everywhere I go.

Q: What kind of music do you like to listen to?

A: I listen to all different types of music – anything from straight-ahead jazz to Americana to Prince. I am pretty much an omnivore of music, although I am not crazy about modern country music, and hip hop has never really done it for me.

Q: Do you have any pets?

A: We do. We got our first dog ever in the middle of July. We have a Mini Schnauzer, whose name is Tashi. Tashi is only six pounds! She is just completely amazing and has just changed our lives.

Q: What will you miss about Salt Lake City?

A: I will miss all of the wonderful friends that we have made here in the past 12 years the most. I will also miss being able to look out my window every day and see mountains in any direction.

Q: What are you looking forward to in Sacramento?

A: I am really looking forward to the weather. I know it is going to be amazing in Sacramento. I am excited knowing that I will not have to shovel snow or scrape off my windshield in the winter.

We are also very excited to be living in a new place. Part of our family’s adventure is living in new places. In the search process of looking for jobs, the only rule was we could not go back to somewhere that we had already lived. Moving to California is just another step in our westward adventure.

Lee Thomsen with his family: Abby (17), wife Julie Checkoway, Sophia (11) and Tashi, their Mini Schnauzer.

Q: Where have you and your family lived before?

A: I grew up in Baltimore, Maryland. I then went to Harvard as an undergrad, so I lived in Boston for a number of years. My first teaching job was in Baltimore, so I lived there again.

We then started our southern and westward journey, which took us to Athens, Georgia; Houston, Texas; Salt Lake City; and now Sacramento.

Q: What are your favorite sports teams?

A: I am a huge Baltimore Orioles fan. I also root for the Indianapolis Colts because they were the Baltimore Colts when I was a kid.

Q: Will you keep rooting for your old sports teams when you move to Sacramento?

A: I am happy to adopt the San Francisco Giants because they are a National League team, and I don’t really have a rooting interest in the National League. This is because the Baltimore Orioles are in the American League.

But I do not see myself adopting the Oakland A’s as my next American League team.

I am not really a huge NBA fan, but the Golden State Warriors are pretty darn good right now. I would also probably root for them.

Q: Do you have any special talents?

A: I guess my special talent would be acting. I did a lot of theater in high school and college. I am able to do things like the hashtag video and throw myself out into the world.

Q: What is the hashtag video?

A: The middle-school principal and I created a hashtag spoof as a kickoff to an Instagram challenge that we were doing at the school.   

The challenge was for students to take a picture and post it on Instagram with the hashtag Rowland Hall is my___(#rhismy___).Students would then fill in the blank with whatever they wanted.

—By Jack Christian

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