This summer, Kristian Noden joined Mrs. Caponi's Lower School administrative team as Associate Head of Lower School. Learn more about Mr. Noden, our new friend from Down Under.
“I took what you could call an untraditional path to a career in education. I honestly did not know what I wanted to do when I finished high school.” As Ensworth’s new Associate Head of Lower School, Kristian Noden shares what brought him to Nashville and Ensworth School.
A native of Australia, Mr. Noden was driven by sports all through high school, leading him to pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Recreation Management. In the process, he learned that Sports Administration was not what he was interested in; he enjoyed playing sports, but not the business side of things. Noden completed his degree and set out. He took an apprenticeship as a carpenter and held various jobs, but felt his life was missing something. “I was still missing that element of actual fulfillment,” he shares.
Although he came from a family of educators, he did not initially see himself going into education. “I had experiences working with kids,” Noden says. “Especially as a mentor in high school and a leader in outdoor education programs. I really enjoyed it, and it was just fun. So, [maybe] it was always something in the back of my mind.” When thinking of fulfillment, he thought back to his mother and aunt as educators. “They always said it was so rewarding.”
Kristian decided to pursue a Master of Teaching and later a Master of Education from the University of Melbourne. Soon after, he embarked on his career as a teacher and athletics coach. He talks about how truly rewarding it was. He continued into School Administration, training and supporting teachers, coaching students, and quickly becoming a leader in the communities he served.
After being in California for a few years, Noden and his wife Hailey shared a longing for a place that matched their priorities more clearly. “Looking at that next step of putting myself in a situation where I could continue to grow [became] really important.” Noden wanted to be in a place where he felt professionally challenged to grow, while also being a part of a community that would meet the needs of his family. For the Noden family, both Ensworth and Nashville embody a true sense of community and offer each member space to grow.
Nashville “offers family-friendly cultural experiences, green space, outdoor activities, positive societal outlook, and general ease,” Noden shares. They were also drawn to the growth and development they saw in Nashville and at Ensworth.
The building of the new Lower School at the Red Gables Campus is also inspiring to Mr. Noden. “The potential for innovation and creativity for students is a really big thing. The thought behind the space, the design of the space itself, is really exciting. I see a lot of flexibility with the space and the opportunity for things to be interactive.” Ensworth as an evolving K-12 institution that offers flexibility regarding responsibilities, opportunities, and development for faculty, staff, and students offers possibilities Mr. Noden is thrilled about.
As the Associate Head of Lower School, he loves that he gets to be a part of so many aspects of the day. His favorite, however, is hookup and arrival. “I get to check in with people,” he says. “And that adds to the community component.” He also loves when he gets the chance to pop into classrooms to see what the students are getting into, and ultimately, knowing and engaging with the students.
Join us in welcoming Mr. Noden to Ensworth!
- His favorite food is peanut butter & banana sandwiches.
- He is left-handed.
- He has five children.
- He has lived in three different countries (England, Australia, and the United States).
- He loves anime (which is inspired by bonding with his sons).