What it means to Lincoln Gray

Each person has a unique journey, and each experience colors their perspective. This is what makes communities so dynamic, so vibrant.

It's no different at Canterbury School. Each parent, student, alumnus, teacher and friend contributes to our community in fun and uncommon ways. Because of their unique perspectives, the belief, "Each person matters," means something different to everyone. In August 2018, we sat down with Lincoln Gray, Dean of Students, to chat about what "Each person matters" means to him.

Here's what he had to say.


Q: Tell us about your journey at Canterbury School. When did it begin, where did it take you, and what mattered most?

I started in kindergarten when Canterbury used to be at Trinity Episcopal Church. When we moved to the Covington Road campus, I remember breaking out old floor tiles in the Lower School classrooms with my mom and playing Paddington Bear in Mrs. Rupp’s fourth grade class. I learned how to write, how to think critically, and how win and lose with dignity and integrity. I made lifelong relationships with my classmates, my teachers and my coaches, and I was the captain of the first soccer team to make it to the state championship game under Coach Mauch. I went on to be a member of the “13 Year Club”, meaning I attended Canterbury School for 13 years.

I have earned degrees from Denison University and Appalachian State University, and I have spent the last 18 years working in education. At all the other schools where I worked, I always compared them to Canterbury. All of them fell short. I stayed in contact with Jonathan Hancock, the former headmaster, and many other members of the Canterbury community over the years. I am thrilled to now have the opportunity to work at my alma mater and give my children the gift of a Canterbury education. My wife, Beth, and I are thrilled a part of this community. We have a child in each division this year!


Q: When you hear “Each person matters,” what does it mean to you?

For me, I immediately think of the relationships that are made throughout our community. Advisors, teachers and coaches all know our students incredibly well. They know about the successes of the students, and they know when they are having a bad day. The bonds that are created are based on much more than just the class that they took or the team that they played on. It is very common for our alumni to come back to campus just to talk with their former teachers.


Q: What is it about the people at Canterbury that sets them apart?

The difference maker with members of the Canterbury community that sets them apart is the fact that the bar is simply set higher. This is true for the faculty, the students, the parents and the alumni. The teachers are more qualified than any other school in our region. They are masters in their field, and they connect with students in a way that is comfortable and collegial.

The students are motivated to learn and excel at everything that they do. It is cool to work hard and to be smart. It is a regular occurrence for a senior to go out for a sport or the play even though he or she may not have ever participated in that activity before. The students are willing to take risks, and they are also committed to being great representatives of our community.

Parents and alumni are determined to support our school in every way possible, for the present and the future.


Q: As the Dean of Students, how do you see “each person” valued at Canterbury School?

I love my work as the Dean of Students. I am able to spend quality time with each member of our community. The encouragement and the support that faculty and students show one another is remarkable. At any given event, you will find athletes supporting artists, seniors cheering for freshmen, and nationally recognized speech team members spending the afternoon with the board game club. I love how there is a spot for everyone in our community. There is a great amount of school pride and a sense of ownership in our community.


Q: What “matters statement” is most important to you at Canterbury, and why?

The statement that jumped out to me first was “Each mentor matters”. I think this rings so true for me because I have had a number of incredible mentors at Canterbury, both as a student and a faculty member. I see older student mentor younger students every day. I see coaches mentor players on and off the field. I know that our board and foundation members mentor people in our community on a daily basis. I take my role as a mentor very seriously, and it’s probably the most rewarding part of my job.


Q: As we start the new school year, what is your advice for your current Canterbury families and those who may consider Canterbury in the future?

My advice would be to talk to everyone at the school to see for yourself. Stop some students in the hallway and you will find that they are bright, articulate, warm and interesting. If you talk with a group of teachers, you will find that they are knowledgeable, friendly and committed to helping students. I would challenge anyone to find a learning environment like the one at Canterbury. The community at Canterbury is not like anywhere else – it’s better.