SACO — Thornton Academy Headmaster Carl Stasio has announced plans to retire next year.

Stasio, who has served as headmaster since 1986, plans to retire July 2012. Rene Menard, a 1988 graduate of the academy, has been named by the Board of Trustees to succeed him.

“Having the opportunity to serve in this position has special meaning for me because TA has been so instrumental in shaping who I am today. There were many teachers and coaches here who made a difference in my life growing up, and it’s been my goal to do the same for young people as both a teacher and now administrator,” Menard said.

Menard has served as associate head of school since 2007, having worked previously as a history and political science teacher, coach and dean of students. He has led the initiative to create the school’s international boarding program and developed the Student Services Department and evening and after school programs.

“It’s hard to imagine Thornton Academy without Carl,” said Board of Trustees President Eric Purvis. “He has been a leader, an educator, a mentor and a friend. Carl has been the lifeblood of our school, overseeing change and advancing the school throughout his 25 years at Thornton. Certainly TA is a better school today because of his efforts.”

Under Stasio’s leadership, the academy has added a program for middle school students and welcomed international boarding students. He also oversaw many changes to the campus, including the addition of Garland Auditorium, Hyde Library, Atkinson Dining Commons, an arts wing and Nelson Residential Hall, with a second dormitory and comprehensive improvements to outdoor athletics currently under way.