Humans of CHC: Dr. Chris Garran, Head of School


“I would have said no way” that he’d grow up to become a school administrator, claimed Dr. Garran when regarding the hypothetical “what would a younger version of you say if you told him what you’re doing right now. Dr. Garran grew up in Vermont, an area not necessarily known for its diversity, and later moved to Washington D.C. to attend American University. There he studied International Relations and received an internship, although it didn’t appeal to him. Chris realized that he was more interested in helping others and interacting more, which sprouted from his time aiding students in math, and he went on to get his masters in education at American. It was around this time that he was recommended by his colleagues to go into administration for schools, and so he did. Chris became an assistant principal while he was working on his Ph.D. dissertation regarding Phenomenology at the University of Maryland. For those who don’t know, a Doctorate and a Ph.D. are two different things, but they earn you the same title; luckily for me, when I asked Dr. Garran what he focused on for his doctorate, which was the wrong one, he kindly ignored the fact that I clearly had no idea what I was talking about and proceeded to answer my question like I was somewhat knowledgeable. Anyways, after he earned his PhD, he decided to leave Maryland and head south, but not too south, and took up an administrative opportunity at Cape Henry, where he remains Head of School to this day. Dr. Garran has a son who attends Cape Henry, and a lovely wife, both of whom he enjoys spending time with.



Dr. Garran loves to jog. He stated that he would say that he loves to run, but he claimed that the students on the cross-country and track teams run, and he runs “nowhere near the caliber of speed” that they run. He also expressed his relief regarding the route that the runners take, which is in the opposite direction. All jokes aside, Dr. Garran said that exercise is a physical and mental relief, that it “takes your mind off of everything” and helps you clear your head of all stress. He also loves internship programs and having the ability to apply skills in the real world, so he created an internship program for Cape Henry high schoolers.


Something Most People Don’t Know About You:

Since he lived grew up in Vermont, Dr. Garran learned to love skiing. He loves to ski, and he wants to see his son grow up to become a good skier. Contrary to the normal teacher/ school administrator, he’s not in fact a warden who’s trying to keep his jail in order. Chris loves to interact with students, and he loves to see student activities. Whenever he’s not being dragged under the surface of the sea of work he swims in on the daily, Dr. Garran said that he loves going to watch games and meets. He also loves to travel, and he’s been on many trips both with and without Cape Henry. In 2017, he went on a trip to Panama with the STRI program.


Best Experiences:

Dr. Garran has had the opportunity to see many students get accepted into college, and each time it makes him feel happier. He said that each time a student is accepted into college, it’s like a seal on the end of a letter. Along with seeing students accomplish their goals for life after high school, he has had the opportunity to watch students go to South Africa. Since he lives to travel, and because Cape Henry has already possessed an outstanding international traveling program, seeing students go to foreign countries and learn about them is all the more rewarding.



Dr. Garran is happy to be a father and to have a wonderful wife and son. He values the important attributes of life, like the ability to raise a good son, having good connections, and having good friends. Although most of his friends aren’t necessarily able to be in Virginia Beach at the snap of his fingers, he is able to count on them to be there for him even if they are far away. He is also fortunate to have met so many people over the course of his life so far, be it a group of professors studying Phenomenology, or some high school student, who doesn’t know the difference between a Ph.D. and a Doctorate, trying to interview him for a school project.


Tough Experiences and Lessons Learned:

With accomplishments and joyous times come failures and sad times. Loss is the toughest experience anyone will face, whether one is prepared for it or not, and Chris has faced loss on many occasions. Both of his parents eventually passed away during his life, and both of those losses were hard on him. Back when he worked with schools, he met a student named Holt who died before he was 25. He’s been given both the burden and opportunity to speak at many funerals. But through all of this loss, and all of this sadness, Dr. Garran always manages to counteract it with loving people and enjoying the time you spend with people.


Hopes and Plans for the Future:

Eventually, Dr. Garran wishes to get back to teaching and helping students. His current administrative roles are too detached from student interaction unless that changes in the future. He wishes to connect with students more, and to live a happy life. Dr. Garran hopes his son is happy and that he grows up to be honest, happy, healthy, and hardworking (the 4 h’s). He’s happy to be at Cape Henry and to be given the amazing opportunity that he has, and he’s glad to live at the beach. Dr. Garran also would like to remind people of the opportunities that they have, and that they shouldn’t take anything for granted. He wants to reiterate that the beach is something people take for granted, so people should enjoy it more while they’re still here.