Join me in the grand vision for our bright future
I am not sure how long it takes after one moves to a new location before you feel it is home but I suspect that after five years, I am getting pretty close to calling Roanoke home. My thoughts and conversations have turned from how do we fix North Cross School to how will North Cross School help make the Roanoke Valley a more desirable place for intellectual capital. In other words, I now think of North Cross and Roanoke in future terms rather than focusing on how far we have come in the past five years. This marks a significant strategic pivot for both me and North Cross School.
After five years, I am convinced that North Cross is already the best educational environment in the Roanoke Valley. However, we are presented with an opportunity to become a truly elite school, on a par with very best independent schools in the Commonwealth. Our faculty will have the opportunity to grow through professional development, we will offer leading academic programs, and our facilities will be first-rate. We will be financially robust, magnetic, and a nationally and internationally recognized educational leader. Our education will be considered elite, not elitist, and within reach to a broad and diverse community, financially and demographically. People will no longer question if the investment in North Cross is worth the return; instead, they will worry that their child is missing out on the best education possible because they are not attending North Cross School.
The opportunity I speak of lies in our growing presence in China. To be a top-tier independent school with the best faculty, the finest facilities, and the strongest programs requires sources of funding that come from outside the Roanoke Valley. Education is now the fifth largest export in America, and with our partnership in North Cross–Xinhe School, we are uniquely positioned to generate significant outside revenues. The creation of North Cross–Xinhe School last year was an important first step and we expect the school will quadruple in size from 50 students to 200 students. Conservative estimates have us reaching a maximum of 600 students by fall of 2019.
Today, I am pleased to announce our next step toward becoming an elite school. Recently, the Board of Trustees approved a contract for us to operate an American school for 1,300 students in the city of Wuxi. We are partnering with an American corporation, North Cross International, and the new school will be named North Cross American School. This school will enroll both international students as well as Chinese nationals and will open its doors to the first 200 students beginning the 2017-18 academic year. We recently broke ground on a brand new $60 million campus which, incredibly, will be ready for students in just 14 months. This campus, which is being funded by the Wuxi New District government, will house grades K-12, serve students from 16 different nations, and will have a dormitory available for American students wishing to study abroad.
Click the images below to view a larger version of the renderings.
For many of you, the memories of five years ago linger. We faced the challenges of incurred debt, flat enrollment numbers, stifled programs, and the perception that North Cross was nothing more than the most expensive school in Roanoke. Over the past five years, we have reduced our debt, grown our enrollment modestly, and taken the steps to increase our classroom rigor. The Roanoke Valley is beginning to notice this positive trajectory and the bold steps we have taken to improve our school. Our new sources of funding will allow us to quickly upgrade our facilities, a direct benefit to every family and every student here, grow our enrollment, increase our visibility, attract and retain excellent faculty, increase program offerings, strengthen co-curriculars, and develop graduates best prepared to thrive in a global economy.
It is with great excitement that I look forward to our future and see a world class educational program at North Cross, an educational program that continues to place students in the best colleges and universities in the country. I hope you also can see the exciting possibilities ahead and will pass the word to your friends, fellow alumni, and potential parents that there has never been a better time to be at North Cross School.