From Campus Minister to Head of School – Meet Dr. Hampton

Q: If you had to describe yourself in one word, what would you say?

A: Oh, energetic… if you haven’t noticed already, I don’t like sitting around: I want to get things done, I want to get things in all the time. In fact, as you know, and many people know, when I got Covid last week, I was like, “what do you mean I have to be stuck here?” At first, I was flat out for a couple of days, but when I got better, even feeling now, there’s so much I want to do, but I’m getting fatigued at the end of the day, so it’s frustrating… so, energetic.

Q: How has it been switching roles this year? How do you feel about it?

A: I would say easy and difficult… easy because I knew the school, I knew the students, I knew what the job entailed, since I helped Ms. Hollenbaugh when the interim left and stuff. So, it was easy that way. The transition –  hard because all of a sudden I went from Campus Minister, and my joke was for a long time I had a job that could be done at 3:30, and now I don’t say “see ya later” when the girls are done, it’s 24/7, so that was hard to get back into the swing of… it was just the transition of getting back into shape – if you will.  It was easy because I knew the school. I knew what the job entailed. I knew it was right for me. I feel like the switch was meant to be. I still feel like I want to be involved with Campus Ministry, so this role is great because it sort of encompasses the best of all the things I love; I still get to teach. I teach Social Justice for the seniors, and I get to deal with parents and faculty, trying to get new students, so it feels good.

Q: What is your favorite thing about the Mount?

A: The spirit and the moral compass. As far as the spirit, there’s an enthusiasm here that I’m trying to build and rebuild. For the moral compass, you girls are focused on figuring out what is right and good and worthy, and you’re focused on ways to do so, whether that’s academically, athletically, artistically, or spiritually, and that’s what we’re all about. I think what’s missing in many public schools, and many schools I’ve been a part of is – it’s one thing to say “oh we have APs, we have great classes, we have great sports,” and any school has that, but we have a moral center, which is almost more important. You can be the smartest kid in the room, but if you’re a knucklehead that doesn’t do anything.  The idea that everybody here is driven to find what makes them unique, you know, I think of Saint Catherine of Siena, “Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire,” and that’s my goal… I think you girls have it in you to ignite your own flames.

Q: What is your vision for the Mount? Are there any more changes you plan to make?

A: I feel like this school is kind of like a hidden gem. I don’t think people know enough about the school, and I think Covid definitely didn’t help with that, so my goal is to market and promote and sing the praises of this school and just get the word out there. I think we can grow; we have a great new class this year that’s close to 60. I want to bring it up to 75, so growing it and getting the word out about how great we are and making sure that our signature programs, like Capstone and the preaching that we do and the concentrations on social justice and healthcare, are things people know about and to bring those to the next level… there’s so much more I want to do, I have a lot to do… I say to people, “I need a million hours of the day and a million dollars in the bank,” but we’re making progress.

Q: What do you like to do in your spare time?

A: I love to read, I love to hike, I have four kids, my one son just got married… my family is the most important thing to me, I have three boys and my daughter, and they’re my pride and joy, so my family is my passion. We get together all the time… I love to read. My wife and I are voracious readers, and I love the outdoors, I love hiking and skiing and camping and stuff like that.

Q: What do you feel is one of the most valuable life lessons you have learned? How do you actively try to live by this?

A: I would say, my lesson in life is, in a nutshell, is that there is a path for all of us… I think that sometimes we stay in such control, but you have to be open.  If a fortune teller told me ten years ago, “I see you living in New Jersey, working at a girls’ school,” I’d be like, “what are you talking about?” Like even with the Campus Ministry job, I almost didn’t take it, but being open and allowing the path, the ultimate goal will lead you to something just unbelievably miraculous. Sometimes that’s hard, for any of us, you know, we feel like, “no, it should be this way,” so I think never saying “never,” never saying “this is it,” being open to an evolution no matter what stage in life you’re in.

Q: Is there any favorite quote you have to conclude the interview?

A: I always say it, and I want you guys to start saying it, “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it,” because I believe this is probably my biggest philosophy. You have to find joy in everything because it makes joyous days over the top and makes bad days a little bit more palpable because we can find the joy in these things.

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