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Spring Alumni Reception Celebrates Andy Crawford '97, Jordan Adair and Derek Rhodes '11
By Dylan Howlett

During Friday’s Spring Alumni Reception at Horton Hall, the Durham Academy Alumni Board will sustain its 41-year tradition of honoring alumni for outstanding contributions to the school community. Andy Crawford ’97, a global growth equity firm executive, will receive the Distinguished Alumni Award, which has been given every year since 1983; Jordan Adair, an Upper School English teacher, will accept the Faculty and Staff Legacy Award, which has been granted annually since 2012; and Derek Rhodes ’11, the founder of a Durham nonprofit dedicated to uplifting young Black men, will take home the Alumni Service Award, which the board has bestowed at its discretion since 2014.

In anticipation of Friday’s ceremony, learn more about the alumni board’s trio of award recipients — and hear from Crawford, Adair and Rhodes on why DA means so much to them.

2024 Distinguished Alumni Award: Andy Crawford ’97

Crawford is a managing director and the global head of General Atlantic’s Consumer sector. He also serves on the firm’s Management Committee and chairs the firm’s Portfolio Committee. Prior to founding General Atlantic’s Consumer Group a decade ago, Crawford was a key member of Advent International’s Consumer team, and he joined Advent in 2003. He is a graduate of Harvard Business School and Washington and Lee University.

Crawford has served on the boards of numerous notable consumer brands, including Authentic Brands Group, Joe & the Juice, Torchy’s Tacos, European Wax Center, Buff City Soap, Too Faced Cosmetics, Zimmermann, Barteca, Five Below, Bojangles and Shoes For Crews. Crawford also serves as chairman of the New York-based Partnership to End Homelessness.

In 2016, he and his brother, Matt Crawford ’99, honored their late mother — longtime Lower School administrative assistant Beth Crawford — with the establishment of a scholarship fund designated to support financial aid for Lower School students.

Andy Crawford and his wife, Mimi, live in Manhattan with their three sons: William, Jack and Cole.

What DA Has Meant to Me: “Durham Academy has been instrumental in shaping the person I am today, providing me with an exceptional foundation for adulthood. The dedicated teachers and coaches at Durham Academy imparted invaluable life lessons centered around preparation, hard work, kindness, prioritizing the team over oneself and the importance of perseverance. Reflecting on my time at Durham Academy, I am grateful for being nurtured in such a positive and balanced community where academic rigor and character development went hand in hand.”

Faculty and Staff Legacy Award: Jordan Adair

Adair arrived at Durham Academy in the fall of 1995 after 12 years in New England, where he served as a teacher and earned two master’s degrees. He eventually took a position teaching English — Adair would ultimately teach all four grade levels in the Upper School — and coaching the varsity boys basketball team.

In his time at DA, Adair has served as English department division leader and chair; established and taught AP Art History for 12 years; and advised numerous student organizations, including the Green and White newspaper, the Students for Troops Club and the Nicaragua Club. He led four Nicaragua Club trips with DA students to the country; with Rhodes’ leadership, the Nicaragua Club helped raise $13,500 to build a small rural school outside of DA’s sister community of San Ramón.

Adair also taught Literary and Artistic Responses to War, an Upper School course that resulted in more than 200 interviews for the Veterans History Project in the National Archives at the Library of Congress and the establishment of DA’s annual Veterans Day assembly. In 2021, he was named the Veterans of Foreign Wars North Carolina High School Teacher of the Year and received a similar award from the VFW post in Cary in 2016. In 2006, Adair was instrumental in the creation of Assist, DA’s early intervention team.

Adair has been honored with the Durham Academy Upper School Teaching Award in 2007; as a U.S. Presidential Scholar in 2010; and the F. Robertson Hershey Distinguished Faculty Award in 2021. He is retiring from DA at the conclusion of the 2023–2024 school year.

What DA Has Meant to Me: “Over the course of my 28 years at DA, I have been the beneficiary of so many gifts from a variety of sectors of the community that I’ve lost count: students, faculty colleagues, parents and administration. I am fortunate indeed that Jim Speir, then the Dean of Faculty, responded when I cold called him way back in the winter of 1995 during a visit to Durham to see my mother.

“Over the years, I have grown as a teacher through DA’s robust professional development opportunities, which included a semester-long sabbatical in 2004 and a rich variety of subject-specific workshops. I have grown as a human being through my friendships with an amazing group of colleagues. I have been taught humility and gratitude through my classroom experiences and an administration that has supported my work outside of the narrow confines of DA and into the broader community. And perhaps most essentially, I have been fortunate to work with so many amazing students over the years, to form friendships with them, to be taught by them, and to have been encouraged by them as they rose to the challenges I put before them. I am indeed so very lucky to have landed at DA all those years ago and to have ended my career here.”

2024 Alumni Service Award: Derek Rhodes ’11

Rhodes is a business strategist, community leader, social entrepreneur, author and keynote speaker. With a career spanning organizations such as Microsoft, the Miami Heat, the Obama Foundation, the White House and Google, Rhodes has amassed deep expertise in helping businesses engage with their local communities.

A graduate of Duke University with a degree in public policy studies, Rhodes’ journey began with internships at the U.S. Department of Justice and the White House. His determination caught the attention of President Barack Obama, who publicly recognized Rhodes at a press briefing in 2015. In 2017, he wrote Jimmy for the City, a children’s book intended to inspire young people to commit to careers in public service. As part of the Obama Foundation in 2018, Derek managed the distribution of more than $1 million in grant funding to nonprofit organizations serving young people across the country, leading the My Brother's Keeper Alliance.

Driven by a passion for empowering historically underestimated youth, particularly young Black men, Rhodes founded the Durham Success Summit. As the executive director, he has built lasting relationships and championed the organization's mission to elevate underrepresented youths into corporate America through practical education and exposure. Since 2021, more than 200 young men have benefited from the organization’s career skills training and workforce development programs. Ninety percent of the program’s graduates find meaningful employment upon completion and have landed jobs at top companies such as Fidelity Investments and the National Basketball Association.

What DA Has Meant To Me: “To me, Durham Academy means opportunity. It also means you’re part of a community of folks who are going to help you take full advantage of opportunities, especially those who help you tap into your intellectual curiosity or become a globally minded citizen. At DA, I was surrounded by teachers and leaders who wanted the best for me. That made all the difference to me. I remain connected to these teachers, fellow alums and staff members who watched me grow into the person I am today. Knowing that I not only gained a world-class education but also walked away with a lifelong family gives me the confidence every day to pursue my crazy dreams.”