To commemorate Business Manager Sara Chrisler’s three decades of service to Crossroads, Head of School, Dr. Jason Heisserer, asked her to reflect on her experiences as the longest-serving member of our faculty, staff, or board.
Jason: So you’ve been here 30 years. How did you come to work at Crossroads?
Sara: I got a call from an old friend of the family who was working here part-time in the business office, and part time teaching art. She wanted to get out of the business office, and knew I had graduated from UMSL, so she called. I came in and I talked to Arthur, and then I talked to Arthur, Sr., his father, and they hired me. I started on May the 25th. It was summer, I didn’t have a whole lot of direction, and there were just a million things to do. Arthur, Sr. was really my mentor, and gave on-the-job training for so much of what I do. I used to do so many different things! I was the registrar and the database person — it’s been quite an evolution. My job has been most consistent over the last, say, 10 years, concentrated in the business office.
Jason: Did you expect to be here for 30 years?
Sara: I didn’t!
Jason: What sustained you through all of that?
Sara: I think what’s done around here with the kids — the huge success stories — and our purpose. You don’t necessarily know that students would get the same support or the same education if they were in other schools, and that individual attention that the teachers give to our kids, I see it helps them flourish. It could make or break a kid who, in a huge public school, could get lost. I guess I’ve just seen so many great success stories, where kids go on and, you know, rule the world!
Jason: Do you think that sense of purpose has been about the same since the school’s founding?
Sara: I feel it has. I know that we’ve gone through mission revisions, but I still feel that, if a new faculty member comes in, they get the gist of what we are and they perpetuate that. The idea that we are open to socioeconomic and racial differences, that kids can come in and make their own niche, including kids with learning disabilities or other challenges. Overall, the key is what’s happening for the kids, and that’s why we’re here.
Jason: What are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen?
Sara: The biggest changes around here are with the facilities. When we got the gym, that was huge, because for so long, all of our kids had to get on a bus and go someplace else to play sports, sometimes on bizarre courts that weren’t even regulation size. The next big one was the science wing. Actually, before that was the black box. I forgot the black box! They paved over our whole front lot to make the green space, which is more friendly for the kids. My problem is, I can’t keep track of when things happened. When an alum comes back, I’m like, “You have to remind me. What year were you?”
Jason: What are your hopes for the next 30 years?
Sara: I hope that the gist of who we are will stay the same, and that that we don’t grow too big, because I think the dynamics change if you get too big. I love the way that we celebrate our kids every week in Announcements, letting their accomplishments stand out. Obviously, any improvements to our facility are great, especially in the settings where the kids are learning. Technology is a huge part of that, so I hope we’ll keep up with everything that’s out there. I just — I think there’s something magical that happens. I don’t know how to describe it, but I feel we’ve had a continuity of that, and I hope that will continue.
Jason: Thank you. I so appreciate your joy. You’re a true cornerstone at Crossroads.