Former TASIS England and TASIS Switzerland Headmaster Lyle Rigg, who retired from TASIS Switzerland at the conclusion of the 2016–2017 academic year and currently serves on the TASIS England Board of Directors, officially joined the TASIS Switzerland Board of Directors on November 20.
“I am delighted to announce the return of our beloved former Headmaster Lyle Rigg to TASIS,” said Lynn Fleming Aeschliman, Chairman of the TASIS Switzerland Board of Directors. “The TASIS Foundation Board enthusiastically approved his appointment, and all TASIS Board members heartily and gratefully welcome Lyle. We extend to him our profound thanks for all he continues to bring to TASIS—his experience, wisdom, heart, and soul!”
“It’s an honor and pleasure to return to TASIS as a member of the Board,” said Mr. Rigg, who is the longest-serving Headmaster in TASIS history, with 23 years of administrative experience split between Switzerland and England. “I hope I can be of service both to Chris Nikoloff and TASIS during these extraordinarily challenging times.”
Mr. Rigg began his storied career in England in the fall of 1979, taking on the roles of Assistant Headmaster, Head of Residence, and History teacher. TASIS Founder M. Crist Fleming asked him to come to Switzerland to serve as Headmaster three years later, and he was joined by his wife, award-winning children’s author Sharon Creech, who had also come to TASIS England in 1979. Mr. Rigg returned to England in the fall of 1984 to serve as Headmaster, a role he fulfilled with distinction until 1998 before moving to the United States to lead the Pennington School in New Jersey until his initial retirement in 2006. The Upper School library at TASIS England was renamed the Lyle Rigg Upper School Library in 2012.
Mrs. Fleming coaxed Mr. Rigg out of retirement to serve as the Interim Headmaster at TASIS Switzerland for the 2007–2008 academic year, and this became something of a pattern. He left retirement again for the 2009–2010 school year to become Interim Headmaster in England. After stepping away for five years, he agreed to come out of retirement a third time in 2015 and served as Headmaster in Switzerland for two full academic years.
To celebrate Mrs. Fleming's centenary in 2010—a year after she passed away—Mr. Rigg pored over her speeches, yearbook messages, private notes, and interviews and edited them into The Wit and Wisdom of Mary Crist Fleming, a memorial book full of charming, witty, and inspiring life lessons. Mrs. Aeschliman, the daughter of the Founder, would go on to present Mr. Rigg with his own tribute book seven years later when his tenure at Headmaster came to a close in June 2017.
“I feel a special bond to TASIS Switzerland—the place where I started my career as a school head in 1982 and where I ended my career as a school head in 2017,” said Mr. Rigg. “Although I only spent five years in Lugano during this 35-year period, I still developed a very special connection to this community. Also, TASIS meant so much to both Sharon and me that Sharon was even inspired to set two of her novels for young people—The Unfinished Angel and Bloomability—in Montagnola.”
What persuaded Mr. Rigg to answer the call of duty once again? “When I was first asked if I would consider serving on the TASIS Board, I thought I might be a bit too old,” he conceded. “Then the U.S. elected a president who is a few years older than I am. If Joe Biden can lead a country at such a challenging time, I certainly should be able to offer some help to TASIS.”