Position: Dean of Students Reports to: Associate Head of School Start date: July 1, 2020
Search process: Confidential Phase - Submit application materials by November 8th - Skype interviews completed by December 13th
Public Phase - Finalists visit campus early January 2020
The Gunnery was founded in 1850 by Frederick Gunn - a progressive educator who realized that moral character development was the true aim of education, and that the boarding school model offered a unique opportunity to accomplish that goal. That mission is more relevant today than ever, and The Gunnery continues to pursue the moral development of young men and women. By virtue of the position, the school’s Dean of Students is in the center of this pursuit.
The Gunnery offers its next Dean of Students an incredible opportunity to maintain and lead an already unique and positive student and faculty culture. That ethos focuses on living the mission created by the school’s founder, a charge that enables the Dean’s Office to leave a lasting imprint on each and every student at The Gunnery. Our school’s size allows the Dean of Students and members of the office to shape and impact student life and community culture in a manner far more personalized and tangible than many peer schools. The next Dean must possess a positively hopeful outlook that resonates with Frederick Gunn’s model - specifically, a sincere belief in every child’s potential in times of greatness and during moments of vulnerability. Whether a student thrives or struggles, The Gunnery’s Dean of Students Office makes a point to engage and know every student well, to earn their trust, as each one will be important to the school’s overall well-being.
The next Dean of Students must be authentic in this conviction and display such values through daily interactions with students and parents through the decision-making processes entrusted to the office, and in their communication to the school at large. The office currently makes decisions, whether about student life or discipline, with the school’s mission as the map, while also asking the simple question, “What is the right thing to do?” in each situation. This approach allows decisions to reflect Mr. Gunn’s approach: intentional, mission-driven, student-centered but community focused, and consistently empathetic. Moreover, The Gunnery’s Dean of Students Office requires a focus on families rather than students alone. Our next Dean of Students should be someone who also works to understand and relate to parental points of view. We value our families and their feedback, and as such our office culture focuses on the intersection of decision-making and transparency. We always want our families to respect and understand the process where decisions are born, fostered and finalized. Such an approach leads to healthy conversations where all parties feel heard and appreciated, even if they disagree with the outcome. Unwavering hope, a genuine belief in the power of relationships and leading with the heart will be core tenets of our next Dean and will allow them to move the school forward during an exciting time of transition. The next Dean must recognize that an institution’s culture can be the most powerful “teacher” a student will have and that the Dean of Students and their office is among the two or three chief culture makers at a school, especially at a boarding school. This happens principally through equipping faculty colleagues to carry out the school’s core values in their daily interactions as teachers, advisors, dorm parents, and coaches; instilling and practicing a culture of hospitality; designing training for faculty and students; as well as through communicating with the community as a whole or in small groups. Reporting to the Associate Head of School, the Dean of Students is also a critical member of the school’s Administrative Team and must be prepared to represent their area at administrative meetings and meetings of the Board of Trustees.
Critical Skills and Dispositions - Equanimity and a sense of humor - Highly effective communication skills - A calming presence, particularly in times of angst - Public speaking experience - Writing skills - Organization and planning - An ability to multitask and pivot from the micro to the macro, from response to prevention, etc.
Key areas of focus for the Dean of Students fall into three primary categories: establishing and perpetuating the culture of the school , caring for the student body , and managing an office and staff. Some of the responsibilities in each category are identified below.
Culture Setting - Create and implement a vision for a healthy school and student culture in line with The Gunnery’s mission that focuses on strength of character as the true goal of education. - Responsible for general condition of campus life, student affairs, discipline, residential life, community events and communication with parents. - Establish vibrant cultures within community spaces on campus – inspire a culture of hospitality at the school. - Help to establish healthy practices around technology, social media, and gaming within the student body. - Lead the school’s Advisor Program by assigning and providing professional development for the school’s faculty. - In conjunction with the Prefects, organize and oversee School Meeting every Monday, Thursday, and Saturday. - Coordinate and oversee the biweekly advisor lunch.
Caring for the student body - Meet with and engage students regularly, both in groups and individually, to promote a healthy student voice and encourage student involvement in the school’s growth and change. - In conjunction with the Associate Head of School, coordinate the Administrator of the Day program. - Coordinate and implement social-emotional programming for the student body (drug education, digital citizenship, consent, etc.). - Coordinate with the Head of School, Associate Head of School, the CFO and the school’s attorneys on legally sensitive topics facing students, faculty, and the school. - Oversee and support the Student Activities Director and weekend activities program. - Collaborate and liaise with the Director of Counseling and Health Center on issues of student health and well-being.
Managerial - Maintain direct and regular contact with the Associate Head of School. - Lead and coordinate daily operation of the Dean of Students Office with the Student Services Coordinator, Associate Dean, Student Care Coordinator, Director of Student Activities, Director of Diversity, Prefect Advisor and Class Deans. - Responsible for training, implementing and consistently evaluating the school’s discipline system with a focus on maintaining student dignity, informing the student’s advisor and maintaining appropriate communication with parents. - Disciplinary Committee: Responsible for selecting adults to serve, training students and adults on appropriate procedures, recording and writing Disciplinary Committee hearing transcripts. - Provide leadership training throughout the year for all student leaders, including Prefects; Communicate with faculty overseeing student leaders and develop monthly student evaluations. - Develop the school’s Residential Life program in conjunction with the Associate Dean of Students; Assign and support Head Dorm Parents in implementation of the Residential Life program. - Oversee and support the Associate Dean of Students in the implementation of the school’s Residential Life program, inclusive of making dormitory assignments, emergency driver assignments, weekend team assignments for faculty, as well as leading Head Dorm Parents. - Oversee and assemble the writing, revision, and printing of the Student Handbook annually. - Committee participation: Campus Life Committee, Full Administrative Council, Student and Faculty Committee (Board).
Direct Reports - Student Services Coordinator - Associate Dean of Students - Director of Student Activities - Class Deans
Collaborative Reports - Director of Counseling
Desired Qualifications Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree and some familiarity with boarding schools. More than anything, the Dean of Students must relish being in the midst of student and faculty life at a busy boarding school. Dealing with students who run afoul of the school’s policies is not a necessary evil; it is a large part of this role, and we seek candidates who yearn to address the complicated student issues of today with energy, empathy, and a perspective that evokes Mr. Gunn’s philosophies.
As an administrator at a boarding school, the Dean of Students should expect to have a limited role in the classroom, a role in the Residential Life program, and a role within our Co-curricular Program.
Additional Salary Information: The Gunnery offers an attractive compensation package that includes a competitive salary, school-provided housing, medical and dental insurance, and retirement plan contributions.