Sometimes I stare at the computer screen wondering what I should write for Crossties and waiting for inspiration to strike. Sometimes, the subject matter is so obvious that the words come pouring forth. Such is the writing process…
There are few opportunities where we, as an entire school community, can come together as a whole for the benefit of something bigger than ourselves. One of my favorites—and perhaps this is partly fueled by my desire for a good deal—is the Big Flea. Though the physical manifestation of the Big Flea has changed over the years from a field day and white elephant sale to its current ‘day of bargains,’ it remains one of those few occasions when parents, teachers, alumni, grandparents, and yes, even students, can contribute in such a tangible way to their community here at North Cross. The sale has also become a fan-favorite in and around Roanoke. I’m told that the Facebook event alone has over 1,000 people who were ‘interested’ or already planning to attend the sale next Saturday.
We are ready for a vacation. How do I know? This morning I started up the coffee maker without placing the coffee pot on the warmer and proceeded to flood the mail desk in the work room. So, it is with complete understanding that today’s Crossties remarks may not get the same initial readership as in the past. However, when you have time, please take a moment to read on because I am speaking to the true nature of what we do here at North Cross School. Plus, I’ve heard my messages make great ‘beach reads.’
I recently found myself in a social conversation with a potential upper school parent about why they should consider North Cross for their daughter. I am capable of conversing on a number of other topics but much to the chagrin of Ellie, this is a topic that I speak on frequently this time of year.
The following is a transcript of my on-air address. To watch the video, visit our YouTube channel.
Thank you for joining me for our third “on-air” State of the School address. Before I get started, I wanted to thank all of the families, faculty, board, alumni and friends of the school who have given so much time and effort to our school this year. The support we receive from all of you is essential to our success, and though it is easy to get lost sometimes in the day-to-day details of school life, it is truly enjoyable to stop once a year to express to you my deep gratitude for your part in making today the best time to ever be at North Cross.
I hope you had a chance to read the notes from the PA meeting before Thanksgiving in Crossties. "We are solidly in the planning and preparation phase of the Capital Campaign and I'm thrilled to report that Russ Ellett and Eddie Smith have agreed to serve as Co-chairs for the effort. Russ and Eddie are passionate about the promising future of our school and we are fortunate to have their leadership."
Deborah Jessee has agreed to be our Family Gifts Division Faculty and Staff chair, and has recruited 10 group leaders to lead the faculty staff campaign in January after we get back: Tracy Schaefer, Sandy Patterson, Zack DeMoss, Jimmie Donnini, Emily Brown, Chris Brandon, Amy Holley, Josh Kier, Allison Vagts, and Carolyn Phillips.
Sometimes we get caught up in the little things and lose sight of what is really important. This past weekend saw the death of a really good man and a valued member of our community. Dan Yardley was the father of three North Cross students and the loving husband of Kelsey, and he will be missed by all.
Years ago, my ninth-grade daughter learned that she would not be able to play both tennis and volleyball, because they occurred during the same season. Not content to let my daughter lounge around watching One Tree Hill reruns, my wife required my daughter to try out for our spring musical, Bye Bye Birdie. While initially reluctant, my daughter wound up participating in musicals all four years of high school and to this day has a deep appreciation for the theater.
I hesitate to say it but by the time you are reading this letter we will be within a few weeks of the first day of school. For the younger members of the community, I am sure this is a frightening development, but for the adult crowd, there may be a bit of excitement at the prospect. Regardless, count this letter as a reminder to make the most of the remainder of the summer.
I recently read a back-to-school letter written by John Allman, a colleague of mine at Trinity School on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The letter was featured in a New York Times article titled, “Can Prep Schools Fight the Class Wars?” The article speaks of private schools as “the places in which the affluent receive the most intimate exposure to the obscenely rich.” I have known John in passing for twenty years, mostly by reputation, and he is a remarkably polished headmaster who moved from Upper School Head at Lovett School, to a very successful tenure as Headmaster at St. John’s School in Houston, and then on to Trinity.
Christian J. Proctor, PhD
Dr. Proctor, the ninth head of school at North Cross since 2011, has more than 26 years of experience in education, 15 of which have been at the head of school level. He has served as headmaster at Porter-Gaud School in Charleston, South Carolina, St. Martin’s Episcopal School in Metairie, Louisiana, Grace Episcopal School in Monroe, Louisiana, and as Interim Headmaster at Wesley Academy in Houston, Texas. In each location, Dr. Proctor’s tenure was marked by creativity, innovation, and school growth.