Ten years ago, as I sat in the front window at Alexander’s, waiting for the official decision of the Board to approve me as the eighth Headmaster at North Cross School, I never could have imagined the successes we would achieve. From the days when we had to ask Board members for temporary loans to meet payroll, to the present, where North Cross is on a par with the best independent schools in Virginia, our success has been the product of much care, hard work, and a little bit of good fortune. So it is with very mixed emotions, I inform you of my decision to resign my position as Head of School at North Cross School, effective June 30, 2022.
The timing of this announcement with more than year left before my departure will allow the Board of Trustees a full recruitment cycle as they seek the next Head of School. I feel, however, that this is also an opportune time to make a change in school leadership. We are in the finishing stages of the most successful capital campaign in school history, our new campus has established our presence in the Roanoke community, enrollment is at record highs, and our operating budget is balanced. Academic programs such as Crosswalk, Global Studies, STEM Scholars, and our Fine Arts Scholar designation are fully baked into our reputation and our college admissions consistently reflect matriculation to some of the best colleges in the country. We have also established North Cross as an international brand, being only one of four U.S. independent schools to operate a campus in China, and partnering with Wilson International to bring an international student presence to our campus. I am certain the next Head of School will inherit a financially sound, vibrant academic institution ready for whatever the future holds.
I will deeply miss the friendships and work relationships I have developed over the years. The faculty and staff at North Cross are devoted to the success of our school and the success of the past decade is direct testament to their skill and care. Over the next year, I will have numerous opportunities to personally thank those that remain at North Cross but I would be remiss if I did not publicly mention the support and help I received from Mark Thompson, Deborah Jessee, Richard Cook, and Chris Moore. Their wisdom and counsel over the years were invaluable.
I also would like to thank the many Board members that made my tenure successful. I appreciate your patience to hear me out, your willingness to go along with unusual ideas, and the support you provided as I negotiated my way through the many potential pitfalls of independent school leadership. In particular, Board Chairs, Katherine Fralin, Linda Frith, Russ Ellett, and Fourd Kemper were not only dedicated servants to North Cross, they spent countless hours worrying in anonymity over our institutional future. All that has been accomplished in the past decade would never have happened without their care.
And finally, let me thank the parents and students of North Cross School, both past and present. It has been an honor to serve you and a joy to be part of the growth and maturation of such a talented bunch of students. We were not always perfect as a school and I was not perfect as a school leader, but with the help of our parents, we produced some amazing children. I deeply appreciate the trust you continue to place in us.
Although I do not know what the future may have in store for me, I am not retiring, only resetting. I will continue to keep North Cross at the forefront of my thoughts and certainly, I will do my best throughout my final year to ensure the continued success of North Cross. I look forward to helping create a smooth transition to new leadership and to navigating the upcoming re-accreditation process. As always, I believe there has never been a better time to 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.