When Andy North ’98 arrived at Baylor in 1994 as a boarding student from Florence, S.C., he walked into class and was greeted by a young teacher who happened to be starting his first day of work as a Baylor faculty member. “Ironically, Chris Angel ’89 was my freshman biology teacher,” notes North. “We were both starting at Baylor together. He was a new teacher, and I was a new boarding student.”
Angel was also his sophomore advisor and Lupton Hall next door neighbor. Fast forward to May 2020, when North was named Hammond School’s head of school to replace Angel, who had accepted the headmaster’s role at Baylor, effective July 1, 2021.
North strongly believes that relationships are central to independent school work and said that conviction began to take root when he was a boarding student at Baylor. “I enjoyed my experience at Baylor so much and experienced firsthand the lasting impact a teacher, coach, and mentor has on a student. It was meaningful to me and in turn, influenced me to make educating young people my career.”
After graduating as an English major from Sewanee in 2002, he went directly into teaching seventh and eighth grade English at Fredricksburg Academy, a pre-K through 12 independent school in Fredericksburg, Va. True to the independent school model, he served multiple roles there including coaching varsity soccer. “It reinforced my belief in independent schools and my desire to make this my vocation. Coincidentally, I also met my wife, Becca, in Fredericksburg, so it was a great start to both my professional and personal journeys,” he notes.
I enjoyed my experience at Baylor so much and experienced firsthand the lasting impact a teacher, coach, and mentor has on a student. It was meaningful to me and in turn, influenced me to make educating young people my career.
After receiving a master’s degree in education administration and supervision from the University of Virginia in 2008, North was named dean of students at Episcopal School of Acadiana in Lafayette, La., where he coached varsity soccer, taught an English class, and reinstituted the school’s summer programs as a means of helping enhance the school’s community. He was later named Upper School head and spent the last six years in that role before he and Becca, along with their children, daughter, Dansby, age 10, and son, Miller, age 7, moved to Columbia. “I had no expectation of being there 11 years, but we loved the school and the community.”
Over the course of those 11 years, North maintained communication with Angel, so when Angel reached out about an opening as Middle School head at Hammond, he found it an intriguing proposition. “I thought it would be a great chance for me to grow as a leader with Chris as my mentor and to expand my leadership capacity. We would not have gone if it were not the right fit for us, and we found that Hammond’s community was the right fit.”
Only a year after being hired at Hammond, North was surprised to find himself in the interview process for the head of school position. “It was completely out of the blue, and I’m excited and humbled that the board had faith in me. I understand firsthand the impact independent schools can have on students and families, and I am honored to take the reins from Chris. Hammond is positioned as one of the leading independent schools in the Southeast. I’m looking forward to working with the school community to take it to the next level.”
North is pictured with daughter Dansby, a fifth grade student at Hammond School; and son Miller, a first grader at Hammond.