Who's Who in Admission
|ADMISSION OFFICE FAX
Director of Admission and Financial Aid
828-684-6232 ext. 118
Associate Director of Admission
828-684-6232 ext. 117
Admission Office Manager
828-684-6232 ext. 106
|James Garland '10
Assistant Director of Admission
828-684-6232 ext. 162
Prospective families will find that James Garland ’10 speaks from experience when he talks glowingly about Christ School.
Ten years after his own graduation, Mr. Garland returned as Assistant Director of Admission in 2010. He has also been a Dorm Parent in Gardner House and an assistant JV basketball coach.
Mr. Garland is a former Headmaster's Cup winner who attended Christ School for four years. During that time, he was active in the Theater Department and played basketball.
Mr. Garland had been involved in corporate sales since graduating with a B.S. in Business Economics from Wofford College in 2014. His hobbies include basketball (Mr. Garland is a diehard UNC-Chapel Hill fan) and caring for his 2-year-old dog, Josie, a Great Pyrenees who he adopted in April 2020.
Coco Parham has provided invaluable support as an Office Manager at Christ School for 17 years now, the past four in Admissions.
Mrs. Parham previously worked for 13 years in the College Guidance Office as an administrative assistant and testing coordinator.
Mrs. Parham graduated from Loyola University New Orleans with a B.A. in 1987. Her hobbies include hiking, reading, and watching a great movie. She prides herself on being an animal advocate, and has volunteered in the past with the Asheville Humane Society.
Mrs. Parham is married to Christ School Associate Athletic Director and Strength Training Coach Duncan Parham. They have two children, Ellsworth ’13 and Emma.
Associate Director of Admission Mike Payne developed a nostalgia for western North Carolina, having come here every summer for 12 years to work at Camp Ridgecrest in Black Mountain. Now his love for the Blue Ridge mountains is coupled with his belief in the mission of Christ School.
Mr. Payne was born and raised in Warrenton, Va., with a family tradition of boarding school; one of his grandfathers is a graduate of Virginia Episcopal and a great grandfather was a headmaster at Northfield Mount Hermon School. Mr. Payne himself graduated from Virginia’s Christchurch School, where he served as a prefect, played baseball and soccer, and was a head tour guide. He graduated Cum Laude with a B.A. in English from the University of Mary Washington and earned his Master of Arts in Executive Leadership from Liberty University in 2021.
Mr. Payne has previously lived in Charleston, S.C., and Chatham, Va., where he served as an admission counselor, presidential ambassador coordinator, and varsity baseball coach at Hargrave Military Academy.
Mr. Payne’s hobbies include playing guitar, watching sports, being active in the gym, and traveling.
Enrollment and overall interest in Christ School have remained at peak levels in the four years that Palmer Straughn has been Director of Admission.
Mr. Straughn worked in college admissions for 13 years before coming to Christ School in 2017.
A seasoned fly fisherman and backpacker, Mr. Straughn could not have picked a better school to continue his work in admissions and fuel two of his greatest passions. Christ School’s location offers world-class fly fishing and some of the Southeast’s best hiking. After heading the Outdoor Program at Wofford College, Mr. Straughn graduated with a B.A. in History in 2004 and began as an Admission Counselor at Lees-McRae College. Mr. Straughn would go on to advance to Associate Director of Admission and Senior Associate Director of Admission at Wofford.
Mr. Straughn co-presented “Navigating the NCAA and Admission” at the Southern Association for College Admission Counseling (SACAC) Drive-in Workshop (2015), and followed that effort the next year by co-presenting “Application Case Studies.” At the SACAC’s annual conference in 2014, Mr. Straughn co-presented “Not Just a Small School: The Benefits of a Liberal Arts College.”
Mr. Straughn and his wife Sara live on campus in Peachtree House.