What, or who has been the biggest influence in your life? The obvious and correct answer is my father, one of the smartest and most accomplished men I have ever known; but to keep it more interesting, my Department Chair when I was teaching college was Aidan Dunleavey, a left-handed Irishman who showed me that there was always a creative solution - It only needed to be found.
Looking back on the past 5 years as Head of North Cross, what do you think is the most important thing North Cross has accomplished? I believe we have stabilized and then further improved the quality of the education at North Cross School. Our students are regularly taking more difficult classes and doing better on their standardized tests than ever before. I love the fact that we had 33 AP Scholars last year, an 800% increase in 8 years. I mean an 800% increase! Where do you see a number like that???
We have also completely rebuilt the Lower School curriculum with Word Study, Spanish, and Singapore Math, resulting in improvements on our ERB scores. It is never easy to make substantive changes, and our faculty has done an incredible job of maximizing what these programs can deliver.
Are there any things that keep you up at night? Any time you work with teenagers, there is a lot to keep you up at night. I worry for all of our kids the same way that you as a parent worry about your own child. I want the best for them and to see them accomplish so much. They bring so much promise to North Cross, and I want to see them experience commensurate levels of success.
You read a lot. What is the most interesting book you’ve put on your shelf, or one you are anxious to pick up soon? I just bought a book at our annual Book Fair called Dead Wake By Erik Larsen. It is about the last voyage of the Lusitania. He also wrote Devil in the White City, more non-fiction that reads better than fiction.
Is there something about you that people might not know? I was a ski bum in Vail in 1987-88. Truly… Spent $75.00 per month to sleep on someone’s couch and worked two 12-hour shifts on the weekend for Vail Associate at Gold Peak. That left five days a week to ski. Unfortunately, I have not skied in forever, but they tell me it is like riding a bike.
If you weren’t doing what you do, what would we hear you were doing? I would be teaching Geology in college. There is nothing better than Geology 101 field trips.
Do you have a favorite North Cross tradition? Without a doubt, the Fat Pencil ceremony. This tradition was started by Liz Holt to recognize the students who spent their entire school careers at North Cross. To hear these seniors tell of their experiences and all that North Cross means to them is special. Every parent should go to this ceremony.