New Deans, New Roles
“I do not think the current facilities impede my ability to learn and believe the money could probably be spent better elsewhere—recruiting better teachers, improving the dorms or increasing the dining hall budget. Those changes would positively affect everyone on campus, whereas the majority of this renovation will probably benefit less than a third of the community,” Schlacks said.
As current Junior Class Dean Jan Flaska leaves on sabbatical next year, Kevin Kelly, husband of Chinese teacher Xiaofeng Kelly and father of Michelle ’15, will become the assistant dean for freshmen and sophomores. Current Dean of Students Toby Emerson will step down to become the assistant dean for juniors and seniors. Amie Creagh, current senior dean, will be the dean of students next year.
Additionally, English teacher Karinne Heise will be stepping down as assistant dean of faculty, to be replaced by Peter Nilsson.
Unlike past years, assistant deans of students will each oversee two grades, instead of the current structure where there is freshman-sophomore dean, a junior dean, and a senior dean.
Ms. Creagh will teach only one section of Spanish and will no longer advise students in order to maintain “consistency, clarity, transparency, fairness, communication, and a balance of structure and support” in her new role. Ms. Creagh will attend all disciplinary hearings for students in all grades.
“It’s hard to get away from the feeling that when a student is called to the dean of students office that she or he is in trouble, but I would like to find as many opportunities as possible to connect with students outside of ‘discipline,’” she said.
Ms. Creagh added, “I’d like to continue to broaden the scope of my interactions well beyond the realm of discipline. Sometimes we can spend 90% of our time on 10% of the students. I want to find ways to focus on different and, perhaps, under-recognized, parts of the student body.”
Mr. Emerson said that next year he hopes to ensure that “Every student is successful, happy, well-adjusted and that he or she feels comfortable and supported at Deerfield.”