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WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A DEAN

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WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A DEAN

Science dean Stephen Anand teaches his AP Biology class. Being the dean of his department can be difficult, but it is often a rewarding job.

Science dean Stephen Anand teaches his AP Biology class. Being the dean of his department can be difficult, but it is often a rewarding job. "Sometimes, I am not thrilled with all that comes with the job," Anand said. "Sometimes people describe it as, 'the responsibility with none of the authority,’ and that is pretty much true. It is a bit of a challenge, but I am happy to do it as long as my friends want me to do it."

Photo by Sebastian Fernandez

Science dean Stephen Anand teaches his AP Biology class. Being the dean of his department can be difficult, but it is often a rewarding job. "Sometimes, I am not thrilled with all that comes with the job," Anand said. "Sometimes people describe it as, 'the responsibility with none of the authority,’ and that is pretty much true. It is a bit of a challenge, but I am happy to do it as long as my friends want me to do it."

Photo by Sebastian Fernandez

Photo by Sebastian Fernandez

Science dean Stephen Anand teaches his AP Biology class. Being the dean of his department can be difficult, but it is often a rewarding job. "Sometimes, I am not thrilled with all that comes with the job," Anand said. "Sometimes people describe it as, 'the responsibility with none of the authority,’ and that is pretty much true. It is a bit of a challenge, but I am happy to do it as long as my friends want me to do it."

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She only had five minutes before her last department meeting of the year. Frantically, she gathered her notebooks and pens and headed down to her colleague’s classroom. While she was supposed to be helping a student at lunch today, but her responsibilities as a dean had to come first.

  A dean is defined as the head of a department or faculty, mainly at a college or a university. At Dreyfoos, being the dean of an academic or arts department is a responsibility that comes with great privilege, but also sacrifice. Between Curriculum Council meetings and making sure teachers have their supplies, the requires hard work and dedication. However, few students know exactly the work it takes to be a dean.

  “First and foremost, you have to be able to really manage personalities and be willing to be the end of the line for a lot of stuff,” science dean Stephen Anand said. “Those are still requirements that are stressful every day because ultimately, everything kind of falls on me.”  

  Unlike most schools, Dreyfoos specializes in both the arts and academics. While most of their duties are relatively similar, each dean has different responsibilities according to which department they are in charge of.

   “In foreign language, you have to know everything. It’s not just the language,” foreign language dean Linda Kass said. “You have to know art, history, and even architecture. And everything changes, so it is not a static discipline. There is always something coming up in history.”

  The deans of all the departments have to coordinate at least six department meetings with their staff every year to ensure that all the teachers are not running into any problems in the classroom and that they have the materials they need, from pencil sharpeners to clocks.

  “As the deans, we have to start to work on the schedule for next year,” visual arts dean Lacey Van Reeth said. “I am also responsible for managing and attending events, not only on campus, but also off campus events that are related to my department.”

  Along with district meetings and county curriculum meetings, deans also have to help with certain afterschool programs and clubs that are a part of their department.

  “ I oversee the Science Fair, Science Honor Society, Science Olympiad, and SECME to make sure those things are handled correctly,” Mr. Anand said. “Every year, with every student, I grow;, I learn stuff. I get some more exposure to some other things I might not have gotten exposure to because I go to different meetings and trainings. I think pretty much any good teacher at Dreyfoos grows just like any good student at Dreyfoos grows.”

  Being a department dean is a position that requires a lot of responsibility and dedication to the staff and students. It is their job to make sure that their department is running smoothly.

  “I think you have to be able to work well with people. My big philosophy is from the Kenny Rogers’ song, ‘The Gambler’: ‘You got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, know when to walk away, and know when to run,’” Ms. Kass said.

  While being dean is a rewarding task, sometimes there are sacrifices that they have to make in order to carry out their duties. When they are ultimately assessed on being a teacher, managing both jobs can be a difficult task.

  “Becoming the dean has distracted my teaching,” Ms. Van Reeth said. “There is a major love-hate relationship I have with it because I care about what I do and I think it’s important. [However], there are certain moments, because of responsibilities as dean, [where] it definitely has taken away time that I would rather spend in the class.”

  Though the responsibilities differ for the individual deans of arts and academics, the departments are complementary.  Collaborative efforts between the deans create a more productive school environment.

  “Overall, I think they do a really good job,” assistant principal George Miller said. “I see the most collaboration with performances and facilities, because, let’s say everyone wants to use Meyer Hall:, [the deans] need to compromise.”

  Regardless of the challenging tasks and difficult schedules, being dean of a department is an important job reserved for committed teachers.

  “Everybody here works really, really hard,” Mr. Anand said. “The department deans have additional responsibilities that make it tough for them to keep everybody happy. Sometimes it is more challenging than people know. It is a dynamic interplay and a tough juggling act sometimes, but everybody that is doing it is doing it for the right reasons.”

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Lily Gumbinner, Design Staffer

Lily Gumbinner is a communications junior and a Layout staffer on The Muse. This is her second year as a Layout Staffer, as she is interested in design...

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Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts | 501 S. Sapodilla Ave, WPB, FL 33401
WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A DEAN