Susan Esty Appointed as New Abbot Cluster Dean

A former West Quad South and Flagstaff resident, Susan Esty is looking forward to learning more about the people and history of Abbot Cluster. Susan Esty, Director of Wellness Education, will replace Theodore Parker, Instructor in History and Social Science, as the Abbot Cluster Dean this fall. Esty, currently a house counselor in Flagstaff’s Newman House, looks forward to meeting new students and learning about Abbot Cluster.

“I’m a teacher, so I have small classes, and I live in a very small dorm, so I just think there are so many amazing people on this campus, many [of] whom I haven’t even met yet. I think that’s probably the thing I’m most looking forward to. I feel like the clusters are like little neighborhoods. It’s a brand new neighborhood for me,” said Esty.

One of Esty’s major roles on campus is directing the Empathy, Balance, and Inclusion (E.B.I.) program. Esty believes her work with E.B.I. will assist her in adjusting to her role as Cluster Dean.

“The work that we do in E.B.I. is very much around trying to create a sense of belonging for students and an environment that fosters wellness as well as building an inclusive community. All those things that we do through E.B.I. felt like a natural fit for being a Cluster Dean. I work with Cluster Deans anyway with E.B.I., so it was easy to see the connections between the roles,” said Esty.

Before coming to Andover, Esty worked at the Pingree School, where she served as Director of Advising and Counseling. According to Esty, her experience at Pingree will prepare her to transition from supervising a small dorm to an entire cluster.

“[Pingree School] was a school of about 350 students. Part of my job was to know students and make it an inclusive environment where everybody felt seen, known, and cared about. We used to have a little game, the deans and I, about who could learn all the new students first. So I’m hoping that that has prepared me for having a cluster full of students because 350 is more than Abbot will have,” said Esty.

According to Mathis Weber ’20, a prefect in Newman House, Esty has been a supportive figure who is always willing to talk about a variety of subjects. Weber believes Esty’s caring presence will serve her well as Cluster Dean.

Weber said, “Honestly, when you talk to [Esty], she is the most honest person who will truly care for you when you just need someone to talk to or someone to rant to, and you know you can always talk to her, and she will always listen and give you some of the best advice… I feel like especially as a Cluster Dean, that is really important, because most of the time you are dealing with students that are starting to have a difficult time and need someone to talk to. And I think it’s going to be a great job for her.”

Prior to living in Flagstaff, Esty lived in West Quad South as a house counselor in Rockwell House for the 2017-2018 school year.

James Isenhower ’22 got to know Esty while she was his house counselor in Newman. Isenhower spoke to Esty’s ample experience and reliable personality.

“[Esty] will be a great dean obviously… She has the experience now with the biggest dorm and one of the smallest dorms. So, she has this wide range of experience, and I think it will help her going into the Cluster Dean [position], and she has the right balance of being strict so that people will listen to her and they will obey her, but they won’t fear her because they know she is somebody they can go to if they have trouble, and she is someone they can trust or rely on,” said Isenhower.

According to Esty, she is excited to discover a new cluster and learn more about its history.

“[I was interested in Abbot because] it’s totally new, and that’s always kind of exciting and I keep hearing there’s ghosts over there. Much as I sometimes think it would be interesting if Newman House were haunted, I haven’t heard that it is. Abbot, it’s connected to Abbot Academy, so there’s the history of co-education, of the merging of [Andover] and Abbot. I just think there’s a lot to learn about that cluster, and I imagine it’s full of lots of fun surprises like the ghost in Stowe House and who knows what else is there to find out,” said Esty.