Woodside Preschool director is author, counselor in spare time | January 30, 2019 | Almanac | Almanac Online |


Schools - January 30, 2019

Woodside Preschool director is author, counselor in spare time

Tom Limbert's books focus on parenting and sports

by Angela Swartz

Tom Limbert knows how to keep busy. He's not only the director of Woodside Preschool, but is also the Woodside Elementary School District's parent education coordinator and social-emotional learning lead, a parenting consultant, and a published author.

Limbert's latest book, "Most Valuable Dad: Inspiring Words on Fatherhood from Sports Superstars," includes interviews with athletes about how they owe part of their success to their fathers' support. The book came out in April.

Limbert, 49, said that the more he worked with young children, "the more I felt like I could help parents, so I tried to come up with pointers in a book."

The Alameda resident has published two other books. He joined Woodside Preschool, which was founded in 1991, in 2012.

Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry's father, Dell Curry, wrote the forward to Limbert's latest book. How did he nab the elder Curry to write the section? A school district father is part-owner of the Warriors and tracked Curry down, Limbert said.

Limbert, a fan of the San Francisco Giants and Warriors, first decided to write about sports and parenting in 2010, when the famous University of California at Los Angeles basketball coach John Wooden died. He thought about Wooden's belief that the best way to motivate players is to treat them with respect and communicate clearly and honestly.

These reflections culminated in 2012 with his first book, "Dad's Playbook: Wisdom for Fathers from the Greatest Coaches of All Time," which meshed coaching philosophies and wisdom for fathers.

Limbert's advice for other writers?

"It's really hard to get published, so try to find a unique angle or take on something, and do your research on how to pitch things to publishers," he said. "Like any business, it somewhat comes down to who you know. I happen to have an agent that helped me get mine through."

When writing, Limbert likes to shut himself off from the world, putting on his headphones and finding a quiet space to focus.

"Starting is kind of tricky," he said. "You can flow a little bit once you get started. An editor is helpful for pruning ideas."

Limbert doesn't have any books in the works right now, but outside of school he offers parenting consulting services in person and through video calls. He helps parents learn to discipline their children by changing his clients' parenting dynamics and methods, he said.

"I make it all about respect and social-emotional support," he said.

Summers off help him manage to have time to write and help more parents, he said.

"I've learned so much working with young children and their families since 1992," he said. "I'm very much able to listen to parents' challenges and provide efficient, timely support so it doesn't take too much of my time and I enjoy it."

A native of Youngstown, Ohio, Limbert moved to the Bay Area in 1991 to study English literature at San Francisco State University. He began working with children in the early 1990s, and found himself more interested in his work with 2- to 4-year-olds at the school's Child Study Center than in his literature studies.

"I would go to classes on Chaucer and Shakespeare, but would work with young children and families, and that appealed to me more," he said.

He went on to obtain a master's degree in education with an emphasis on childhood development from Mills College in Oakland.

"I love how real and true they are at this age (young children) and how genuine they are," he said. "How they just live in the moment and everything fascinates them — especially at the preschool age."

He spent a decade at Stanford University's Bing Nursery School before coming to Woodside. He also co-founded Studio Grow, a Danville-based play space for children ranging from infants to 6-year-olds.

Limbert enjoys his many roles at Woodside Preschool.

"I love that my role is multifaceted," he said. "I love working with preschool families and love being on the social-emotional learning team ... . Families down here are very dedicated to their children and supportive of the schools."

Limbert organizes parent education events for the Woodside school district on top of all of his other roles.

His social-emotional learning curriculum is embedded into course materials throughout the school year. Educators teach students to assert their feelings directly, be mindful, make decisions, work well in groups and be self-aware, among other skills. These skills prepare students to be curious, enthusiastic and self-motivated learners who succeed in school and life, according to the district website.

For more on Limbert, go to


2 people like this
Posted by Leigh Pyle
a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Jan 30, 2019 at 2:09 pm

All I know is that my parenting tools for child 1 and 2 sure were not working for child 3... I engaged coach Tom and he immediately empathized, asked clarifying questions and gently offered different ideas, solutions as well as research and articles to support everything he was saying. His vantage point of having seen so many kids in his career allows him to really know what works and what doesn't.

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