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?
Here’s why. The Mets went to training camp that spring knowing that they had the pieces to be really special. They knew that if they all worked hard and maintained their focus that a young Tom Seaver and Jerry Koosman could make them winners.
This year at North Cross feels exactly the same. We have a talented senior class, some great new teachers joining an already stellar starting lineup, the excitement of a long-rumored expansion of our “stadium,” and a fan base ready to embrace our success. The only challenges that remain are to make the most of our strengths and to enjoy a great season.
Okay, I promise no more of the baseball metaphor, although I truly believe that the opening-day optimism in baseball and schools are remarkably similar. So what will it take for this year to be our championship season?
I look first to Mr. Lamas’ courtesy initiative in the Lower School. “Be brave, be kind,” as he noted in his Convocation speech, speaks to the emphasis our school places on doing the right thing—even when it’s hard—so that all students feel they are a valued part of our community. We will work on our handshakes, eye contact, and pleasantries, but we also recognize that these are outward gestures of the respect for each other that we want our students to embrace.
Secondly, our new “No Ceilings” initiative in the Middle School is one that excites the teacher in me. This pilot program is the first initiative in my eight years that has focused primarily on instruction rather than curriculum, allowing for self-pacing and mastery learning in language arts. I remember my love of reading in 6th and 7th grade and only wish I had a self-paced program that would allow me to read ahead as my interest directed me.
Lastly, I am so excited about what I see in our Upper School. Not only is it the biggest upper school student body in North Cross history, it comes complete with an expanded teaching staff, 4 ½ new teachers, new AP offerings, and incredible new programming in STEM. Along with our Global Studies program, the new STEM initiative gives our students two distinct concentrations that will further distinguish our graduates.
The Miracle Mets had to overcome some bumps along their way to a championship, and, no doubt, we will have a few as well. But, I am sure that with all of these promising pieces in place, the 2018 academic year is going to be a special one. Welcome back, players.
* For those of you wondering, the 1969 Orioles featured Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson, Boog Powell, Elrod Hendricks, and a pitching staff that featured three 20 game winners, Jim Palmer, Dave McNally, Mike Cuellar. They were good, 109-wins good, but not good enough to beat a team of destiny.
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.