Internal Search for New Dean Begins

The search for a new Dean of Students and Residential Life has officially begun. In an email sent to faculty and administration on December 5, Rebecca Sykes, Associate Head of School, wrote, “As veteran faculty members know, this is the season in which we begin seeking candidates for faculty and administrative appointments for next year. Currently, we are seeking candidates for Dean of Students and Residential Life.” Sykes said in an interview, “It was my decision [to begin the search process].” This email has asked faculty and administration who are interested in becoming the Dean to submit a letter of interest and a resume to Sykes by December 19. Sykes said that once these applications have been sorted through, the interviewing process will begin in early January. Sykes intends to choose a new Dean from the current faculty and administration, rather than searching elsewhere. Sykes said, “This is an internal search process.” Sykes said, “For each administrative position the people who interview the candidates will change; it depends on the position and who else works closely with that position.” Sykes wrote in her email that the interview will involve “those in the dean’s office, members of the House Counselor Committee and members of the Senior Administrative Council who work closely with the Dean of Students.” The interviews will be followed by the elimination of certain candidates to narrow down the field to the finalists. Sykes wrote, “Once finalists are identified, we will write to [the faculty] again to invite [them to] comment on their candidacy.” The school hopes to have chosen the new Dean of Students by the end of January in order to allow sufficient time for them to become acquainted with their new position. “We plan to conclude the selection process by the end of January so that the designee will be able to shadow Marlys Edwards through the spring term, an especially busy time in the area of student life,” wrote Sykes. The new Dean of Students will assume his or her position on July 1, 2008 and continue to be the Dean for a six-year period, until 2014. After the initial six years, the Dean may be reappointed for two two-year long terms. Sykes wrote, “The dean is a member of the Senior Administrative Council, the Student Response Team and Community Health Team and reports to the Associate Head of School. Given the job expectations residential experience is preferred and strong communication skills are required.” In the email, Sykes invited current faculty and administration to comment on the role of the Dean of Students. She wrote, “The transition offers an opportunity to consider how the dean of students function can best serve the needs of the community. Some of you have already shared your perspectives. We welcome further input.” Sykes said that the School is looking to start new projects with the Dean which revolves around the 2004 Strategic Plan. She said, “The plan refers to support for students…we are always looking to provide more comprehensive and effective support in the residential program. [We want to create] more opportunities for learning leadership” Edwards is currently a house counselor in a junior girl’s dorm, Samaritan House, and an English teacher. Sykes said that Edwards will continue to teach English at the school but that she will no longer be a house counselor in Samaritan House because the house is “reserved for administrative assignment.” She said, “The Dean of Students needs to interact with a lot of different people including parents, students, faculty, and other administrators. They also need to be able to interact with Dean’s from other schools; it is a complex area to manage and knowing how to develop good relationships is important.” In the email to faculty, Sykes wrote, “The dean of students and residential life heads an office comprising an associate dean of students, five cluster deans, the director of student activities and two support staff. Areas of supervisory responsibility include residential education, student activities, senior tea, work duty program, housing, discipline, student publications, student organizations and summer opportunities.” Sykes said that the administrators within the Dean of Students office will continue to hold their positions unless one of them is selected to become the new Dean.