Matt Burgy, Head of School

December 15, 2023

Dear Oakridge Family,

It’s hard to believe that our first semester of the school year is over! It seems like yesterday that we were welcoming our students back to campus for the start of the school year, and in the blink of an eye, we are dismissed for Winter Break (albeit not feeling very “wintery” right now!) 

Annually, our faculty and staff come together in the final week of the semester to hear a story from our beloved former Head of School, Mr. Andy Broadus. For those of you who have not had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Broadus, you will not find a person who is more dedicated to Oakridge. Having served as our 2nd Head of School (the first one lasted a little longer than a year…) from 1981 until 2008, and then served as the only Oakridge President from 2008 until his retirement in 2015, there is nobody better to talk with about Oakridge’s storied history. Of the many stories “Mr. B” will tell us, there is none quite more impactful than “The Bacon Story.” I will not do it justice, but here it goes: on a cold December day in 1984, Mr. Broadus called the Oakridge faculty together to let them know that it was unlikely that the school would be able to fund the monthly payroll. As a young school of only 5 years old, Oakridge had worked “hand to mouth,” as most young businesses do. Mr. Broadus told the faculty that he would be in his office after the meeting, and that if any faculty member were in dire need of getting paid that month, that he would find a way to make it work. The mood was somber, but Mr. B will tell you that there was also an air of confidence that “everything would work out.” He waited and waited in his office after the meeting, and not a single faculty member showed up. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Broadus sought out a prominent school family, who remains anonymous to this day, and asked for a short term loan of $25,000 (roughly $100,000 in today’s dollar value). Without a question, the family gave Mr. Broadus a check for the amount needed. The next day, Mr. Broadus arranged for another faculty meeting, and most thought that the meeting would again be dire news. Instead, Mr. Broadus stood up and said, “I know that you all wanted to bring home the bacon this Christmas for your families, and so I arranged for us to at least have 2 pounds of thick-cut, applewood smoked bacon, wrapped in paper.” What the faculty did not know was that attached to the back of the bacon was a paycheck for the month! The school has never looked back from that pivotal moment in the school’s history.

We recreate this moment every year. While we don’t put paychecks on the back anymore, every faculty and staff member still gets their “Oakridge Bacon.” We do so as a reminder that we are a school that still has those same values of the early years of Oakridge; we work hard, we sacrifice, we believe in each other and in our very special school. We reminded ourselves, and each other, that it is because of our founding faculty members that we are able to sit in a beautiful auditorium, surrounded by luxuries that they could have only imagined. It is because of our early families that had the vision to start a school from humble beginnings that we are able to share a pastoral campus nestled in a grove of pecan and oak trees. Thankfully, and gratefully, we are able to come to a place every day and make a difference in the lives of young people.

I once asked Mr. Broadus if he ever envisioned that Oakridge would be what it is today. His response was simple, “Yes. I did. Everyday.” I am honored, and humbled, to be charged with continuing that legacy of dreaming big, everyday, for your wonderful children. I hope you all share a wonderful Holiday season!

Happy Holidays!

Matt Burgy
Head of School