The Crais Family Tech Center was named today in honor of one of Lausanne’s most longest serving staff members.
A 27-year veteran of the school, Stewart Crais, Lausanne's Director of Operations, has been an important part of the school’s growth and use of technology over the past two decades.
"Lausanne has been integrated into all facets of my life for these many years," shared Stewart. "The school has grown and matured, but we have never wavered from our commitment to the students, relationships, and desire to truly 'getting better each day.'"
When Stewart first came to Lausanne in 1994 as a Middle School English teacher, the recent Rhodes graduate quickly saw how technology could be integrated into the curriculum.
"I still remember the wide eyes of my 6th grade English class standing around the 9-inch display on my Mac Classic computer as we looked at how a program can assist with understanding grammar concepts," explains Crais. "Seeing how technology use in the classroom changed student engagement and learning, I realized I wanted to share my enthusiasm with colleagues."
His interest led him into a new role at the school, and he became Lausanne's Director of Technology just a few years later. In the role, Crais helped integrate and maintain Lausanne's computers and network and launched the school's first website. He also designed and launched the first one-to-one laptop program in the midsouth in 2001 and was instrumental in creating the Laptop Institute conference, now Lausanne Learning, which continues to have a lasting impact on over 300 schools and thousands of educators throughout the world. When Stuart McCathie became Lausanne's headmaster in 2005, Crais' abilities stood out.
"Stewart was already doing great things on the technological side," explains McCathie. "But his most impressive ability was how he could connect teachers, students and others in our community to help build relationships."
In 2008, Crais' role was expanded, and he was promoted to the school's Director of Operations. In addition to his previous responsibilities, Crais began to develop processes and oversight of all aspects of campus operations, including construction, buildings and grounds, master planning, security, and dining services.
"Stewart's flexibility and curiosity let us utilize his knowledge in a variety of ways," McCathie says. "A lot of the success Lausanne has been able to accomplish is because he was part of our administrative team."
With this year’s graduation of Molly, his youngest child, Crais recently announced that he'll be leaving Lausanne at the end of this school year, having accepted a position in St. Louis. His wife, Leslie, a fifteen-year veteran of Lausanne, will also be resigning as the Director of Lower School Sports and Aftercare.
“While Stewart and Leslie may be leaving, we’re grateful for their time at Lausanne, and hope naming the Crais Family Tech Center in their honor shows how much we appreciate all their hard work and dedication,” shared McCathie.