Patrick Noonan ’19
When asked her favorite color, new Woodberry teacher Kristyn Wilson will quickly exclaim, “Carolina Blue!” Once a Tar Heel, always a Tar Heel.
Wilson, a former Morehead-Cain Scholar and 2016 graduate of the University of North Carolina, is a new faculty member, a Kenan-Lewis Fellow, and a third form English teacher who also coaches JV cross country and swimming at The Forest.
Growing up in the deep south of Huntsville, Alabama, Wilson attended the Randolph School, where her love for English was fostered by her high school teachers. While at Randolph, Dr. Byron Hulsey had been her headmaster, a substantial reason why she ended up at Woodberry after college.
At North Carolina, she not only was awarded the prestigious Morehead-Cain Scholarship and was a member of the Kappa Delta sorority, but she was also a walk-on swimmer during her freshman year. Realizing that swimming was too time consuming, she quickly found that she had many other passions. Focusing on teaching and tutoring, she expanded her interests while still continuing her love for English from high school. She also discovered an appreciation for Latin American studies, taking long trips to both Ecuador and Mexico. At one time she was fluent in Spanish. A summer internship during her college years with Breakthrough Collaborative teaching underprivileged, high achieving kids in the San Francisco area confirmed her desire to teach.
Kristyn connected with Dr. Hulsey again after her graduation at Carolina, and following their conversation, she knew for sure that she wanted to teach at a boarding school. Growing up in the deep south, the northeastern boarding school’s seemed foreign, and she felt she didn’t quite fit in, but after visiting Woodberry, she realized what she wanted. “I saw that Woodberry is doing something that I didn’t have the chance to do… How cool is it that a guy can be playing football in the fall and be in the play in the winter?” she says of the boys.
Although many students have found a “mom away from home” on campus, Wilson, 22, says that being younger is allowing her to take on an uncommon role. Being younger allows her to fulfill the teacher role while still connecting on a more personal level with the boys. “It would be helpful for boys to start to get used to having younger women in their lives who are going to be like mentors and peers.” After settling in, she has noticed how special The Forest is through these relationship with students. “Since everyone knows each other, it makes us work harder because we are all in it together, so it makes it a really cool community.”
Coming from UNC, she’d always thought the change to a single sex environment would be difficult, but it didn’t end up that way. “I don’t really notice that I’m at an all boys school. I don’t feel like an outsider on dorm or anything,” which was one of her biggest surprises thus far. She lives in the Dowd pod.
While Kristyn still loves that light blue, she seems to be developing a liking for orange this fall.