Tom Schutte is originally from Omaha, Nebraska and is a proud graduate of Creighton Prep High School, a Jesuit all-boys institution. He went on to earn a BA in Theology and a minor in secondary education from St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota. During his summers in Omaha, he worked at Boys Town Father Flanagan’s Home for Boys, in constructing the famous Garden of the Bible. At St. John’s, Tom swam competitively, helped to start the St Cloud Diocese Retreat Team, and served at the Jean Donovan Catholic Worker Homeless Shelter.
Upon graduation in 1992, Tom Schutte began his teaching career at Bishop O’Dea High School in downtown Seattle which is the only all-boys high school and the most culturally diverse private school in the state of Washington. O’Dea is run by the Irish Christian Brothers who were founded by Blessed Edmund Rice in Waterford, Ireland in the 1700’s. Brother Rice found his spiritual vocation and started schools for the poor Irish boys in his community. His mission of educational outreach still continues to this day. Tom teaches World Religions and Jesus and the New Testament in the Religion Department and serves as the department chair since 1997.
Tom also took the Head Coach position of the O’Dea Swimming and Diving team in 1992. Over the years the Coach Schutte’s teams have posted several league titles, numerous All-Americans, state champions, and one team state championship. He was voted as State Coach of the Year in 2000 and 2004.
After four years at O’Dea, Tom took a sabbatical to earn a Masters degree at Boston College in Theology in 1997. Upon completion, he returned to the students of the O’Dea community and resumed his teaching and coaching. The all male environment at O’Dea has been a great opportunity for Tom to get to know the minds of boys and offer his guidance as a positive mentor for his students. He stated, “Living out this spiritual vocation as a faith educator in the classroom and on school retreats is an exceptionally meaningful blessing for my life.” In the spring of 2007, Tom was awarded the Outstanding Educator of the North American Province of the Christian Brothers.
In the fall of 2007, Alan Swaney from the Crespi Carmelite came to O’Dea and made a thought provoking presentation on the Gurian brain based research. He brilliantly explained how boys and girls learn differently and shared valuable insights to optimize our school as a “boy-friendly” academic environment. His visit confirmed many practices already occurring at O’Dea and laid out numerous methodologies for our future improvement in teaching our male students. With the current developmental gap that shows boys are one to one and a half years behind girls in reading and writing, we knew the time to act on behalf of our boys was upon us.
Tom applied many of the training day tactics to his classroom throughout the past school year and all of them were met with enthusiastic interest from his male students. He continued to pursue his curiosity in learning more about the Gurian method and attended the summer training institute in Colorado Springs. The conference was a windfall of new classroom perspectives based on scientific brain research that can be directly applied to the O’Dea school community and beyond. Tom is excited to continuously learn more about the Gurian perspectives and offer himself as an instrument to educate other school communities about the minds of boys and how boys and girls learn differently.
Tom and his wife Jennifer are the proud parents of their two young children Sophia and Aidan and he can see the brain gender differences first hand on a day to day basis. He is a competitive Masters swimmer, a six year triathlon racer who completed Ironman Canada in 2005 and 2007, and he enjoys cooking for friends and family.