Marlys Edwards Reappointed As Dean of Students

Head of School Barbara Chase recently reappointed Marlys Edwards for another two years as Dean of Students. She based her decision on feedback from faculty, staff, and students. Ms. Edwards has held this position since August 2002 and is looking forward to bringing fresh ideas to her office in the coming years. Ms. Edwards joined the faculty of Phillips Academy in 1991 and has since served as an Instructor in English, a house counselor, and West Quad South Cluster Dean. Currently she is serving not only as Dean of Students, but also as a member of the English department and as a house counselor in Samaritan House. Ms. Edwards has served as Dean of Students for the past six years, during which time she says she has focused her efforts on “de-institutionalizing” dorm life. “When I came to this position all the dorms were painted a very cold gray, and lacked common areas where students could congregate for munches or curl up and watch movies together. We’ve done a lot of painting, installed a lot of kitchens and common study areas, and I want to continue to work to make dorms more comfortable,” she said. In her efforts to reduce the stress of a house counselor’s job, she played a vital role in the creation of a House Counselor Handbook. On her own, she says she has worked to strengthen support for house counselors, as well as communication between house counselors and parents, which she plans to continue. “Parent communication is essential and I’m always looking for ways to strengthen that tie,” She said. Ms. Edwards hopes that she will be able especially to work more closely with the parents of students who have received disciplinary action, and said, “I’m always trying to be in touch with parents, but we can always afford to make sure that they are really on board with the message [we are trying to give].” “We need to continue to do a better job supporting the house counselors. You don’t realize how hard their job is when you are one-on-one with them, but when you are living with and responsible for 42 kids, that’s hard. Their efforts need to be recognized,” she said. For the future, Ms. Edwards is encouraging the creation of an efficient one-card system for students that would serve as a key, debit card, and PA identification. She is also planning to foster environmental awareness within the student body through the promotion of energy and waste conservation on campus. She said, “I am really passionate about increasing recycling and energy conservation substantially, it is something that we need to aggressively pursue.” The renovation of Commons will also be a big part of the next two years for Ms. Edwards, and is an important improvement “for everyone. It will be beneficial for students, faculty, and staff,” she said.