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Interview with New Upper School Dean of Students: Mr. Matt Thompson

(Henry Rubey/Media)

How’s the job so far?

“I’m enjoying it. I think the biggest change is the constant – and this is a positive – the constant interaction with students. And it’s all day every day. As you know, I’m in education because I like kids! So that’s been good.”

What part of the job brings you the most joy? What has been the best experience so far?

“What brings me the most joy is honestly seeing us as a community be together. Seeing us laugh, seeing us constantly outside playing ping pong, as much as I detest having to tell people to be quiet. I’ve enjoyed watching our community be able to be together again. So, you know, it’s football Friday nights; it’s kids celebrating volleyball games; it’s the band performing. It’s all those things that have brought me the most joy.”

What has been the biggest challenge?

“The biggest challenge, I think, is one, learning what it is I’m supposed to be doing, right? And then, you know, it makes me sad. It genuinely makes me sad when I see people making bad choices and not being good to one another and being in those situations where I’ve got to have difficult conversations about those things. You know, it’s the hardest thing, but it’s also what makes the job.. It’s trying to help people make decisions and be kind and trying to make our school better.”

What are your goals or strategic visions?

“So there’s the short term [and] there’s the long term. I think coming into this year, the thing that I wanted to be most focused on understanding how abnormal things have been and understanding that getting back to normal is going to be a process and is going to take time, but really thinking about the little things we can do to help that happen smoothly.

You know, I think it’s going to take me some time to really figure out long term specific goals and specific things I’d like to see.

You know, as I would tell my soccer players: nothing’s more important to me than when a kid on graduation walks away and can say, ‘I’m going to miss this place. My experiences there were incredible,’ right? That would be the end goal: to help people feel connected and as part of something bigger than themselves so that when they leave, they miss being here and they value what they got from being here. You know, that’s what I tell my (sic) soccer team: you’re not going to remember your wins and losses; you’re not going to remember your As and Ds, but you’ll remember the hallways, and you’ll remember the bus rides, and you’ll remember all of those things.

I want people to leave here feeling that it was a positive overall experience, and that’s [for] everyone.

That’s the goal!”

Thank you, Dean Thompson


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