The Kentucky-Born Ice Climber Who’s Sweeping Grace

Image courtesy of Miranda Chao Hwang ’24

It is difficult to believe that Mr. James has been part of the Grace community for less than a year; he carries a warmth that renders him a very approachable, welcoming figure in the school. Throughout his time at Grace, he has established his role as an administrative leader with a clear passion for bringing the administration and students’ visions of Grace to fruition. 

As the new Assistant Head of the High School, Mr. James has an abundance of responsibilities within our school community. Although one can simply type his name into GraceNet and read his job description, The Gazette wanted to sit down with Mr. James to get to know him beyond his allotted tasks, learning about his goals for Grace and his personal interests. 

One of Mr. James’ goals for the Grace community is to learn everyone’s name. He told us that he wants to “feel that sense of connection” with the Grace community and be a well-integrated, involved leader. In fact, Grace’s supportive community and school spirit are shaping up to be his favorite parts of the school so far. Additionally, Mr. James wants to work on building community across grades—a goal that he has targeted through his work on the new house system that divides the high school student body into four competitive, mixed-grade groups. 

Mr. James not only contributes to the school community through his role as an administrator but also as a math teacher. He draws on his background in computer science and math to approach his leadership role in a very systematic way. As Mr. James described, he’s very interested in making systems within the school operate smoothly and more efficiently.

Image courtesy of Miranda Chao Hwang ’24

While it’s clear that Mr. James does a lot in and for the school, who is he outside of Grace? 

Mr. James is from Louisville, Kentucky, and is the oldest in a family of three boys. One very fun fact about him is that he grew up across the street from Jennifer Lawrence (imagine being childhood friends with J-Law!). After college, Mr. James and his husband moved to NYC, where they were married in The Strand bookstore. Talk about iconic! Currently, they live in the East Village with their maltipoo Captain, who recently participated in the NYC Halloween Dog Parade. 

Ready for some fast facts about Mr. James? Here’s a speed-round of a few of his favorite things:

Favorite food: Italian seafood pasta 

Favorite movie: “The Matrix”  

Favorite musical artists: LCD Soundsystem, The Lemon Twigs, The Beths, Soccer Mommy, Beach House (think anything in the alternative, indie genre).

Favorite book series: The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin 

Favorite outside-of-school-activity: Anything “outdoorsy.” Specifically, he loves rock climbing, camping in the snow, and ice climbing (we can confidently say that we will not be joining him as he CLIMBS LITERAL ICE). 

From greeting students at the door to sitting in on club meetings, Mr. James has become an incredibly vibrant fixture of the Grace community. With his systematic yet fun approach to managing the school, we can only imagine what the future holds for Grace! 
Miranda and Zamira are Senior Columnists for The Gazette.