After graduate school I was working as the Headmaster of a school in South Carolina that was very similar to North Cross. I had been there for 10 years and was looking for something new. I was working with an educational recruiting firm, and I received a call from Bert Hudnall asking if I would come interview for the Director of the Lower School position. Bert’s wife, Martha Jane, and two children, Ry and Elizabeth, gave me a tour of Roanoke and took me out for ice cream. I felt at home. I accepted the job and officially moved here that summer. It took a while to get used to living in the mountains, but after 28 years, Roanoke is now my home. I love it here.
Who was your mentor when you first started working at North Cross?
Dave Calvert. Dave started working at North Cross right after college. Before I started, he was the Director of the Lower and Middle School. Back then the lower and middle schools were in the same building, the current lower school, and the upper school was in the current middle school. The year before I came they completed construction on Willis Hall and moved the upper school and middle school to their current locations. Dave went to the middle school, and they needed a new Division Head for the lower school. Dave was the person I would go to for help with anything. He was very thorough in his work and was dedicated to spending time with teachers, students, and parents.
How did the Fat Pencil Ceremony get started?
After my first year working here I realized the school had no way of recognizing seniors who had been here all the way through. When you started school at North Cross in the Early Childhood Program, back then it was JK4, you learned to write with a North Cross fat pencil. I thought it was a great way to honor these students and involve the youngest students in the school by being the ones who presented their fat pencils. After 27 years it has turned into one of the school’s longest traditions. The stories the seniors tell of their time in the lower school is something I look forward to hearing every spring.
What do you miss most about the lower school?
I miss the children and the hugs. They don’t hug in the upper school, and when they do we are supposed to break them up!
What is your favorite North Cross tradition?
Obviously I love Fat Pencil, but one of my favorite newer traditions that Dr. Proctor started is the Tree Lighting and Holiday Bonfire. It is a great event for the North Cross community, the kids and parents both love it, and it is a great way to kick-off the holiday season. It’s always an outstanding evening!