The beauty of human existence lies in our ability to form relationships with one another. Each relationship we form with someone is unique. The type of humor we use, the level of trust we share, the respect we have for the other person varies based on how that relationship has developed over time. Over the past 38 years, Chuck and Sarah have formed thousands of truly meaningful relationships with the students, faculty, and families they have interacted with as educators at Proctor. While Chuck and Sarah will be retiring this year, the relationships they have with all of us will endure.
The first of those relationships began to form at Proctor in the spring of 1976 when Chuck, a twenty-five year old graduate student at the University of New Hampshire, visited Proctor to explore a position teaching U.S. history. He liked what he saw, “I had attended a couple of prep schools as a kid, and had not been very happy, so when David Fowler spoke about academic support, experiential learning and an egalitarian community, I knew I wanted to start teaching here. The informality of the school was very novel and appealing to me.” Chuck agreed to stay as an unpaid intern and moved into a third floor room in Gannett House. Chuck’s college sweetheart, Sarah Ousley, began teaching English at Winnisquam Regional High School in nearby Tilton, New Hampshire that fall. As Chuck says, the rest is history. They married in 1977; moved into Carriage House, and Sarah joined Proctor’s English Department in 1979.
Proctor was a smaller school of approximately 260 students at that time, and limited resources necessitated that Sarah coach both varsity and junior varsity girls’ soccer and lacrosse, practicing as one squad and playing back-to-back games home and away. Times have changed a bit! She succeeded Tom Eslick as English Department Chair, a role she enjoyed for more than two decades. She notes, “The department has a long tradition for excellent teachers, creativity and collaboration. I was proud to serve as its Chair for many years.” Sarah has touched the lives of approximately 2,000 students as a demanding, fair, and inspiring teacher and advisor. Head of School Mike Henriques has said that, “Sarah Will is simply one of the great teachers I have known. She holds students to the highest academic standards, and they respond to her command of subject matter, her wit, and her love.”
Tina Walker ‘86 sent a note describing her relationship with Sarah, “I recently saw Sarah after many years of absence from each other’s lives and I was flooded with all the loving and caring emotions I had for this incredible woman, teacher, mother, and friend! How blessed I was to have her in my early years to help form who I have become as an adult.”
Chuck’s career at Proctor included years as Social Science Department Chair, Academic Dean, Director of Admission and Financial Aid, and Director of Communications--a position he has held since 1998. In this latter role, he embraced electronic communication, as Proctor became the first school in the nation to replace newsletters and magazines with customized ‘push pages’. But it is as the author of a highly popular, witty, photo blog--Chuck’s Corner
--that he is best known. This blog has set the bar for authentic independent school communications nationwide with nearly 3,000 blog posts shaping the Proctor narrative over the past fifteen years. “I’m grateful to the school, and the administration in particular, for giving me the permission and trust to be a voice for Proctor without editorial review. That’s what makes it unique.” Reflecting on his career, Chuck says, “I get great joy seeing Proctor prosper. In terms of facilities, it’s a very different school from the one I knew in ‘76, but at a human level it is the same place. My relationships today are as rewarding for me as they are for students, and that has never changed. It will be tough to be separated from the school, but it’s time.” As this year ends, Chuck and Sarah will commence on their own journey as they say farewell to the Proctor community.
Thirty-eight years is an incredible amount of time to invest in a community. They have been integral to Proctor’s evolution as a school, and have been as much a part of this institution as anyone has in Proctor's 166 year history.
Chuck and Sarah: from the bottom of our hearts, thank you! Thank you for all you have given to this community as educators, leaders, colleagues, mentors, and friends. Thank you for investing your lives in this school and for impacting each of us in a unique way. Thank you for the institutional wisdom you have shared over the years. Thank you for understanding what makes this school special and for weaving your own pattern into the fabric of this community. May the next chapter you write be as fruitful, enjoyable, and impactful as the one you are finishing this spring.
We encourage those reading this post to enjoy this photo slideshow
of the Wills through the years and to leave a comment below with your favorite memory of Chuck and Sarah. Both Chuck and Sarah will also be at Reunion Weekend June 7.