It is with no small degree of sheepishness that I admit to you that my college-graduate son, a North Cross alumnus, is living at home. In his defense, he is working and studying for the LSAT and hopefully law school is in his future. But his presence does remind me of the days when his friends would text him in a poorly disguised attempt to influence my snow-day decisions. My wife was of little help in defending me because she was always on the receiving end of her own back-door lobbying efforts by fellow moms. (And, yes, I am talking about you Jeannie Fishwick.)
You may have heard me at Convocation mention the “Miracle Mets” of 1969. In case you are unfamiliar, this team had finished in ninth place their previous season, but came to training camp with an expectation of accomplishing much more. And accomplish much more they did, winning 100 games, sweeping the Braves in the playoffs, and then much to my disappointment, defeating one of the greatest teams in baseball history, the Baltimore Orioles*, in the World Series. Besides showing my age and knowledge of useless sports trivia, why am bringing this up in my first article for Crossties this year?
Sometimes things happen so quickly at North Cross, it is difficult to keep up. I think I like it that way, but I have to confess that my recent 2:00am return from China and the ensuing 8:00am meeting made me wish for an old fashioned, public school job. At least principals get to stay in the same time zone…
It is a goal I frequently make known to families here at North Cross, to make our school an equal, if not a leader, among the very best independent schools in our Commonwealth. While not discounting our already stellar programs, I am aware that Virginia has a tremendous independent school heritage with a number of well-established, well-funded, world-class schools located in larger populated areas. To excel, we will need to do things that perhaps come easier to those schools, while working within the reality of our parameters. I firmly believe there is a path we can pursue that will lead us to parity with these schools over the next decade.
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.
Christian J. Proctor, PhD
Dr. Proctor is the ninth Head of School at North Cross and has served as such since 2011. He has more than 30 years of experience in education. 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.