Faculty Profile – R. Byron Crozier, Jr. – College Counselor | Franklin Academy

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Faculty Profile – R. Byron Crozier, Jr. – College Counselor

Great schools require a cohort of great teachers whose ever-lengthening tenures provide tangible proof of an enduring commitment to the school's mission as well as a selfless dedication to generations of students. It is appropriate, therefore, that I begin this new series of Franklin faculty profiles by focusing on Byron Crozier, our college counselor who has been with the school from the moment we first opened our doors in September of 2003.

I met Byron in the fall of 1976 after he graduated from Westminster College with a BA in Religion. Over the course of 42 years our paths frequently crossed, first as rookie teachers and housemates at The Stony Brook School, then working together at TASIS Hellenic International School in Athens, Greece, and finally as colleagues at Franklin Academy. Byron was the best man at my wedding in Greece. I was an usher at his wedding in Kansas. We vacationed together with our families in the south of France, and he is my daughter’s godfather. To say the least, we share a long history.

At various times before and during college, Byron lived in Japan for two years. As a college senior, he was a Rotary Scholar and studied Japanese at International Christian University in Tokyo. His ability to converse in Japanese served us well when he helped chaperone nineteen of our students visiting the Land of the Rising Sun in April of 2016. Prior to the move to East Haddam, Byron spent twenty-three years working in international boarding schools in Greece, Cyprus, and England where he served as a Dean of Students, Assistant Director of Development, and Academic Dean. During his nineteen years as a teacher at TASIS The American School in England, he also studied at Trinity College London and the University of London. While living in England, Byron met and married his wife, Gretchen, and his two children, Kieran and Elsa, were born there. Kieran has now graduated with an Associate Degree from Landmark College, and Elsa is a junior at Boston University.

We originally hired Byron to serve as a humanities instructor, and he was inspired by the challenge of developing a new set of teaching strategies (like all of our faculty) to meet the special needs of our bright students with an auditory learning preference who struggle with their social interactions, executive functioning, emotional regulation, processing speed, and time management skills. Once he gained a firsthand appreciation for our students' potential and understood their continuing need for accommodations and support, it became obvious to everyone on the administrative team that Byron was the right person to serve as Franklin Academy's college counselor, a position he has occupied from the start of the 2005-2006 school year.

Since then, Byron has successfully advised our seniors and postgraduates about a wide range of post-secondary opportunities, resulting in our students having been accepted by almost 300 different colleges and universities. Byron provides wise counsel to parents and students alike, whether one-on-one in his office, over the phone, or during college search seminars at school. He keeps track of every college application, writes letters of recommendation for students, and serves as the ACT School Test Coordinator for Franklin.

In preparing to write this profile, I asked Byron to consider Franklin Academy in comparison to the other school communities he has served, and he offered this assessment: "Although I have worked at five boarding schools in four different countries during my entire career, Franklin Academy is the one school that has been the most rewarding for me. What makes Franklin so special? Two factors, in particular, come to mind: the opportunity to have such a significant and life-changing role in the academic and social growth of the students whom I teach, and the chance to work as a member of a team with colleagues who are so caring and dedicated to the students and to the overall mission of the school."

In my mind's eye, I have strong visual memories of Byron in action at Franklin Academy, picturing him affirming each student's college acceptance at our daily Community Meetings, reading Twas The Night Before Christmas during every Holiday Program, running with colleagues and students in various 5K races held across Connecticut, and handing out senior and postgraduate appreciation book awards the evening before graduation. My daily interactions with Byron over the years reveal him to be a man of impeccable integrity. His work ethic is strong, as is his desire to do the very best by our students – whether writing a college recommendation, preparing a lesson plan, or carrying out weekend duty responsibilities in the boarding program. He is articulate and personable, compassionate and collaborative, energetic and flexible. I especially like his professionalism, sense of humor, and tremendous range of experience in independent schools. To the parents of applicants considering Franklin Academy, I offer this perspective – your student, if deciding to attend our school, will be well-served by one of the most experienced and knowledgeable college counselors working today with high school seniors and postgraduates identified with Nonverbal Learning Disabilities or diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

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