Head of School
Roxann Ball, Board of Regents Treasurer
Patrick Swindell, Board of Regents Chair
Mike Schouten, Board of Regents Vice Chair
Adair Buckner, Board of Regents Secretary
Laura Street, Board of Regents
Shane Hall, Board of Regents
August 3, 2019
To the Ascension community of teachers, parents and students,
For everything there is a season and a time to every matter under heaven. Eleven years after answering a call to leave Pennsylvania and move west to become Head of School at Ascension Academy, these words from Ecclesiastes have hit home in a profound way for my wife and I. We have both come to the realization that it is time for us to bring this chapter of our lives to a close. After much soul-searching we have decided that we will be retiring at the end of the 2019-20 academic year.
Succession in leadership at a school is both natural and necessary. Our Board of Regents will soon appoint a committee from among our stakeholders that will begin a search to hire the best person or persons to lead our school in the coming years. I am eager to assist in this effort as we work together to make this transition smooth, positive and purposeful. Our gathering today is a most important step in that process.
Leaving Ascension next June will not be easy for Patti and me. We have both tried to give our very best to this school, celebrating its many successes and agonizing over its many challenges. Seeing it grow, prosper, and emerge as an exemplar of what a world-class college preparatory academy can be in the Panhandle has been immensely gratifying. Our work, like the work of so many at our school, has been a labor of love. We will shed many tears in moving on, but they will mostly be tears of joy and gratitude.
Our school enters its third decade with a well-earned reputation as the region’s strongest college preparatory program, and our 225 graduates confirm what Ascension has done for them and helped make of them. Yet at the same time we face financial challenges that threaten our ability to sustain a program of this caliber. This reality, coupled with my age, my longevity in this position, and the normal family plans and preoccupations of grandparents have all combined to make this a decision we believe is right for us and for the school.
In closing I want to thank the Board of Regents, past and present, for this career-fulfilling opportunity and for the friendship, understanding, support and confidence you have given me these many years. And I want to especially thank each member of the faculty who stayed on in 2008 when this Easterner showed up to share in this educational ministry with you, and to those teachers who accepted my invitation to join us in this experiment in school as it should be. We haven’t always fulfilled our own high expectations, but, like our students, we have discovered the life-changing power of aiming high and, in that effort, accomplishing much.
I believe Ascension’s best days may lie ahead of us, a hope buoyed by the strength of commitment I sense from so many on our Board, in our faculty, among our families, and within our alumni body. Ascension is a unique and precious jewel of learning in this corner of Texas. And our future vitality and sustainability is an essential part of the emerging trajectory of growth and prosperity for our Panhandle home that we love and care about so much.
With the greatest respect and appreciation,
The Texas Panhandle's only private college preparatory school for students in grades 6 through 12