Tyren Bynum, Instructor in English, will replace Sheena Hilton ’05, Instructor in Chemistry, as Flagstaff Cluster Dean. His tenure will begin fall of 2020. According to Hilton, she will be leaving Andover to attend law school and learn more about process and policy development, as well as hone her critical thinking skills.
Bynum hopes to become more involved in the Andover community by connecting with his students outside of his role as a teacher and a coach. Before coming to Andover in 2018, Bynum was the Assistant Dean of Students at the Middlesex School, where he says he had a larger role in being connected with students.
“I missed a lot of the work that I did as Assistant Dean of Students at Middlesex School, in which I was able to connect with students beyond the ones in my classroom and whom I coached and who were in my dorm, [so] that I could have a far larger reaching connection with more students. And it gives me a larger, more significant purpose in doing so and intentionality, as opposed to just being a guy who wants to know more members in the community,” said Bynum.
Bynum is also a House Counselor in Foxcroft Hall and a coach of Andover Football and Boys Indoor and Outdoor Track & Field. Bryce Shufro ’22 lives in Foxcroft and runs Indoor Track & Field. Shufro spoke to Bynum’s openness and friendliness with Foxcroft residents and the students he coaches, particularly speaking to Bynum’s “good attitude.” Shufro also appreciates Bynum’s homemade monkey bread.
“Whenever you see [Bynum] talking to kids, it is always with a good attitude. He is always friendly to all the athletes, whether or not he knows their names. In the dorm, he is always around on weekends, and my friends and I cherish our long conversations in his house and especially his famous monkey bread,” said Shufro.
Bynum said that he draws inspiration from Hilton’s almost three-year tenure as Flagstaff Cluster Dean. He hopes to follow her example as Cluster Dean in terms of her treatment of students and adults in the Andover community.
“Ms. Hilton is phenomenal. I have admired her from afar for a year and a half now, and I’ve seen the ways in which she was just and fair and compassionate with how she talked about students [and] worked with adults, and I just hope that I can continue that tradition that I observed within her three years as cluster dean here,” said Bynum.
According to Hilton, some students join Flagstaff out of its convenience and centrality to campus. Because of this, Hilton encourages Bynum to foster a spirited and close-knit environment.
“In an email last year or my first year [as Cluster Dean], I said that Flagstaff is a cluster of convenience, not of community. It’s been challenging to build that cluster pride. I think we have it to some degree, but my guess is that people choose to live in Flagstaff because of the location, so I would love for it to also be about the culture and spirit that the cluster has. I don’t know if we’ve made any progress in that area, but I would hope that Mr. Bynum would take that up and try to increase the sense of community within the cluster,” said Hilton.
Violet Enes ’21 is a two-year Day Hall resident and has played on Andover Girls Volleyball for three years, where Hilton is an Assistant Coach. Enes expressed gratitude towards Hilton, who she feels has guided her throughout her time at Andover.
“I’m really happy for Ms. Hilton. I think she has done a lot for Andover, especially me. I feel like with my friends and with me, she’s helped me through my best and worst times here at Andover, both as my coach and as my Cluster Dean. I think she has so much potential, and she is just going to shine wherever she lands next in life,” said Enes.
According to Hilton, her experience as a dean prompted her to think about process and policy, especially in terms of equity. She hopes that law school will help her develop the critical thinking and analytical reasoning skills to tackle those problems better.
While Hilton does not have a set plan, it is possible that she will return to Andover.
“I’ve been through new faculty orientation three times. I might have the record. I don’t have a plan right now for coming back in the immediate future, but it’s hard to stay away from Andover, so I think it’s definitely a possibility that I could be back in the future,” said Hilton.