Leading by Example
September 15, 2016

Better than ever

“I don’t think Culver has ever been better than it is today.  As alumni, we always think it was better than it was, but it is now better than we ever dreamed.

“John is an executive of multiple dimensions. He is an inspirational thinker and financially astute. He has a detailed and curious mind. It wasn’t just an academic approach, it wasn’t all classroom. He was an academic, a coach, an athlete, a teacher, a counselor . . . He embraced our mission and our understanding of military leadership training for boys and the CGA leadership system. He understood and valued our history and traditions.

“John and Pam approached Culver as a they. They developed a close personal relationship with the kids. All kids. It made for great community culture for both the boys and the girls.”

“His body of work is broad and comprehensive. He changed Culver in a transformational and evolutionary way. It was so well done from an integrated fashion.

“The shortfall is that the rest of the nation doesn’t realize how exceptional Culver is.  What a great 17 years for Culver.”

Miles White ’73
Chairman of the CEF Board of Trustees

A steady hand

“John’s visionary administration of Culver’s myriad programs has charted the way for the Academies to be recognized internationally as a preeminent school that fosters academic growth and innovation, leadership and character development, as well as classroom excellence and rigor. He has built a senior administrative team that will continue his work to see these programs grow and flourish beyond his tenure.

“It was John’s steady and firm hand at the helm that saw the Academies through the tumultuous financial crisis of 2008. His foresight and sound judgment secured the prospect for a bright and exciting future.”

Thomas Thornburg
Master Instructor, Spanish

Motivated students

“John and Pam are leaving the school with a wonderfully happy and motivated student body!”

Steve Schumerth
Leadership Instructor

Mission and purpose

“Pam and John unleashed a sleeping tiger by highlighting Culver stories that that reminded us of our mission and purpose. They shaped a community that is confident about its future and a thought leader in secondary boarding education. Providing 17 years of service at the helm of any school as complex as Culver is rare.  Combined with the 17 years Ralph Manuel so capably led us and the six that John Mars served as Superintendent, Culver has had 40 years of excellent leadership from its Heads and the trustees with whom they worked.  All three men were leaders ‘in the right place at the right time’ for Culver.”

Alan Loehr Jr.
Director of Alumni Relations

The next level

“I have truly appreciated John taking time to mentor me and for his and Pam’s support.  . . .  John has the ability to look at situations objectively and to provide valuable feedback. I loved that he played Santa Claus for all the employee children at Horsemanship’s holiday pony rides and was always mounted on a big black horse! . . . I thank John and Pam for coming to Culver with an open heart, embracing the values and culture that are important to our school, and then working diligently with his team to take our school to the next level.”

Lynn Rasch ’76
Dean of Girls 

Bringing the community together

“Bringing the many facets of our community together has been a hallmark of John and Pam’s tenure. All-school meetings, the inclusive dinners and picnics for all employees, the mentor/mentee program, and the insistence that we are one school and one community are some of the outward signs. However, the real value of family is found in the care we take of each other, especially in a time of crisis. I am only one cancer survivor of many at Culver, but my experience with that battle was of continually being buoyed up, supported and encouraged by John and Pam at every step of my journey. I will be forever grateful to them for the kind of concern, compassion and support I was shown, and I have a feeling that it is but one example of many that they routinely and quietly exhibited to others when it was needed.”

Linda Browne
Senior Instructor, Huffington Library

Exemplary Leadership

“John Buxton has been an AMCSUS stalwart for the past seventeen years. His exemplary leadership proved instrumental to the Association’s growth and advancement during his tenure as AMCSUS President and as a long-serving member of its Executive Committee. His vision and focus were key to the development of the Association’s Strategic Plan which detailed the actions necessary to enhance the relevance, effectiveness and enrollment of the Association’s forty schools.

“John and Pam Buxton’s unparalleled stewardship of Culver was the direct result of their selfless leadership, passion for education, and unwavering commitment to enriching the lives of every Culver student. John and Pam set the gold standard for servant leadership and Culver and AMCSUS benefitted greatly from their inspirational example.”

Ray Rottman, USAF (Ret.)
Executive Director
Association of Military Colleges & Schools of the United States

Quiet Strength

“Few leaders command as much respect as John Buxton.  . . . The quiet strength of the school, the values of character that have sustained its community and alumni, the unwavering commitment to excellence in whatever is undertaken have been part of the personality of the school and its leaders for a very long time, but John’s synchronicity with the school’s mission and spirit has been incomparable. The transformation of the campus is the physical manifestation of a large and inspired vision around the transformation of the program, deepening and enriching it in terms of the academics and in terms of the leadership development programming, the athletics and the arts.

“In my work at NAIS, whenever anyone asked for the ‘best in class’ policy or practice, I always included Culver’s way as an exemplar. That is true today, still, in my role of consulting with schools: Culver sets the highest bar for itself, and therefore for the industry.”

Patrick Bassett
President & Senior Consultant
Heads UP Ed.com
(Previous Director, National Association of Independent Schools)

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