Well, I first came to North Cross as a kindergarten student. It was the school’s second year at the current location and my mom, Virginia Paitsell, was my kindergarten teacher. I attended North Cross through the sixth grade. When I returned to North Cross it was to begin my teaching career. I started in 1979 teaching the second grade alongside Jennifer Fitzpatrick. My mom decided to retire in 1991, after 29 years teaching kindergarten, and that’s when I became Director of Kindergarten and stayed there until 2012. Since then I have been working in the CrossWalk Program. In addition to being a North Cross student and teacher, I was also a North Cross parent. Both of my children, Charles ’02 and Fara ’07, attended North Cross from the time they were in JK4 and went all the way through 12th grade. I guess you could say North Cross runs in our family.
Who was your mentor when you first started teaching at North Cross?
My mom. I knew I wanted to be a teacher the minute I had her as a teacher. She made learning fun. I remember playing “school” in my basement as a five year-old, and by the time I was 14, I was actually tutoring other students in my basement. My mom had a very successful career which included establishing a Montessori program for the lower school students at North Cross.
Aside from Chris Proctor, who was your favorite Headmaster?
Bert Hudnall. He was the Headmaster that hired me. He was warm and friendly and when he had a conversation with you, you could tell he really cared about what you were saying. He was also a great speaker, a great writer, and had a great vocabulary. He allowed me to work in kindergarten alongside my mom the year before she retired so I could learn the Montessori method directly from her. This was a big deal because it allowed for five teachers in kindergarten that year instead of four. To this day Bert remains a close friend of our family and writes my mom in the nursing home at least twice a month.
What is your favorite North Cross tradition?
My favorite tradition is North Cross Book Fair. It has been a tradition I loved since I was a student here. I remember Dottie Hammond working the Book Fair and setting up the entire gym (which is now Lemon Dining Hall - before renovations) with rows and rows of books. It’s a tradition that I loved as a student, parent, and teacher.
What is your best memory of North Cross and hope for the future?
My best memory is having my children here and watching them grow into the adults they are today. They were both so active in athletics, arts, musicals, etc. It was fun being with them as they experienced that. My hope for the future of North Cross is to see it continue to grow. Personally I would also like to see my family tradition continue and be able to see my future grandchildren enjoy this school as much as my mom, my kids, and I have.