Straughn Brings Wealth of Experience
Newcomer to Christ School spent 13 years in college admissions
Palmer Straughn had reached a pinnacle of sorts. After 13 years in college admissions, he was a senior-level officer at his alma mater, Wofford College in Spartanburg, S.C. Straughn knew it would take some extraordinary thing, or better yet some extraordinary place, to pull him away.
Christ School's new Director of Admission and Financial Aid said he has found that place. As Straughn recalls, his gut feeling upon arriving on campus only grew stronger once he took in last spring's Senior Speeches by the Class of 2017. "It confirmed the excitement I had during and after my interview. Then I got nervous because I knew this wasn't just an opportunity, but something I really wanted," Straughn said.
Straughn has been on campus since early July, and, fittingly, the Atlanta area native has been assigned the Peachtree House as a residence.
Straughn can rely on a background in independent school education as well. He started at Woodward Academy in Georgia in seventh-grade, and remained there until his graduation from high school in 2000. From there, he received a B.A. in History from Wofford in 2004. Straughn began his professional career at Lees-McRae College in the North Carolina mountains.
What is Straughn looking for in a potential Christ School student? "Someone willing to put both feet in the boat," Straughn said. "I remember one of the football coaches at Wofford saying that once. Our job in admissions is to make sure people understand what the boat is and what it entails. It's someone willing to take a risk. That doesn't mean risky behavior, but someone willing to push themselves and stretch themselves. Someone willing to take on challenges. Someone willing to join a community rather than just go to a community. Someone willing to put both feet in the boat."
In the last decade and a half, Christ School has grown its enrollment from 160 boys to a record number of 293 for the 2016-17 school year. Classes for this school year begin August 21.
"The future is bright. We certainly have a lot of work to do, but I can already tell this is a hard-working place," Straughn said. "The thing I'm most excited about is getting all the boys back on campus. One word that keeps coming to mind when we speak to prospective families is 'immersion.' It's not just talk about theory and feel, but action."
Straughn said he likes to partake in "anything outdoors" in his spare time, whether it's throwing on a pair of waders and fly-fishing or golfing. Straughn is engaged to Sara Riggs, a member of the Georgia Tech admissions office. The couple plan to wed in September.