Get to Know Mr. Loud


Mr. Loud takes a selfie with Ms. Fagan at a recent commencement (Photo: Ms. Marcy Fagan).

According to the blurb on Northwood’s web site, Mr. Roger Loud…

…has worked in education for over half a century and at Northwood for decades. Prior to Northwood he taught in Cincinnati and served as Head of School at North Country School in Lake Placid. He is married to wife Pat, and has four children: David, Jennifer, Patrick ‘99 and Brigit ‘00.  His outside interests include a lifelong passion for travel and the outdoors.

Staff writer Bernardo Simões ‘20 sat down with Mr. Loud to get to know him better. Here is his report.

Tell me a little bit about yourself. 

I grew up in New York City. I came up to Lake Placid as a seven-year-old camper at Camp Treetops. Later on, I came back to the camp to work as a counselor. After graduating from Amherst, I worked in J.P. Morgan on Wall Street for two years, then I moved to Cincinnati and worked at another bank there. Then I started teaching. This is my 62nd year of teaching.

I have four children, ages 37 to 58, who are all very happy with what branches of life they have decided to get into.

Why did you decide to go from banking to teaching? 

I blame it all on Camp Treetops. I liked what I was doing there in the summer, and I thought I had a handle on what the camp needed. So when springtime came, I quit the bank, went back to camp Treetops to be a counselor in mountain climbing and to do a lot of hiking. When I started teaching in Cincinnati, I taught math and American history for twelve years. Later I became headmaster of that school. Then when my best friend became Head of North Country School, which is affiliated with Camp Treetops, he called me and said, “Please come and help me do this. You’ll be the assistant head of school, and I will be the head.” Because of this, I moved with my family to Lake Placid in 1970 and was at North Country School for 22 years, teaching. For the last ten years, I was Head of North Country.

How was your experience as a headmaster?

There is a good deal missing when you are the head because the focus of your job is no longer on students and teachers. It’s much more on parents, trustees, real estate agents, bankers, and so forth. But none of that had much appeal for me, and that is eventually why I left my favorite place, which is North Country. I just wanted to teach here at Northwood. Now I’ve been here for 28 years. I was dean of faculty when I was hired, and I taught math. Then I was chair of the math department, and now I’m just teaching one course. I usually sit in the library for people like Benny to come and ruin my day [laughs].

When you left banking, did you ever expect to become a teacher and head of school? 

No. When I found I didn’t want to remain at the bank over the summer, I was just drawn back to Camp Treetops because it was such a good fit for me. But I had very little vision of where I would be in ten, twenty years from then. I just enjoyed doing what I was doing! I’m not by nature very ambitious for higher and higher jobs, but being head of school twice allowed me to get a new perspective into the business of schooling. For that I am grateful, but it did not draw on my talents and exposed my lack of talents.


Mr. Loud answers a quick math question between classes (Photo: Northwood School/Facebook).

How has your experience at Northwood been? 

I have very much enjoyed teaching math here. Even though I’m getting to be decrepit (laughing) and I can’t move around very fast anymore, it’s still fun! It has been fun watching Northwood change under several headmasters and watching the student body change a little bit.

How has Northwood changed since you got here for the first time?

I find that the students, generally, are more ambitious and willing to work, and willing to get into the game of being students, meeting challenges. The students when I first got here cared for a little bit less academically. Their willingness to work has definitely increased.

The faculty has become a little more co-ed. I remember that Northwood was a school just for males for quite a long time. It’s nice to see women in all parts of the school. They made Northwood a better place, I think.

I heard one of your children has won a Tony Award? 

Yes. I have a son who has been a musical director on Broadway for close to forty years now, and he was involved in some shows that won the Tony Awards. He has been very successful, and now he teaches at the Manhattan School of Music. I am very jealous of his career [laughs].

Are you also passionate about music?

No, I enjoy some kinds of music, certainly musical theater, but I have the mind that no good music has come upon us in the last forty years.

Where did your passion for math come from?

I think I found it when I was a student in high school. I decided that teaching math would be easy and fun because I quite enjoyed math and working with kids ages ten to nineteen. So teaching math was not the result of any driving ambition. It was just the genetics in my body leaning toward playing with math. I don’t consider myself a mathematician—just a very successful math teacher.


Mr. Loud (Photo: Mr. Michael Aldridge).

Because I am your student and I know how genial you are with math, I’m curious about how you keep your brain working at 100% all the time.

The brain is a muscle. The more you use it, the more you keep things alive. So things like solving crossword puzzles, which are a part of my daily routine, always help! When I make tests, I almost always make the questions myself. I don’t use the internet because I’m a bit ignorant in the tech world (laughing). I do find now that I make more careless mistakes presenting math problems in class than I used to.

Do you have any advice for teachers who are just starting their careers?

I am a little short on advice. I don’t believe that you can be taught how to teach just because you studied in a teaching college or because you’ve been to a lot of conventions where someone stands up and tells you what good teaching is. You have to be yourself, and you have to be willing to take the advice of others. Good teaching doesn’t come out of a textbook. You need to have a good deal of empathy with whoever it is you are teaching, and you have to be in almost total control of the subject you are teaching.

But a lot of people get into teaching for one reason or another, and many of them probably don’t belong there. If you don’t have a sense of humor, you are probably in the wrong place. If you decide that teaching is your thing, you need to stay in contact with the students rather than move up the ladder. Teaching is great stuff!


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