How the Navy Prepared Me for Gould Community Life
Why Gould? I have been asked that question many times since I had accepted and taken over as the Dean of Community Life on the first of July. Like many things in life, there is no one clear cut defining moment, but rather a conglomeration of events sprinkled with opportunity and timing.
For Rebecca and me, this journey started in June of 2016 when Rebecca came to Gould to interview for a Math position. Not only was Rebecca looking to change schools, but we had decided it was time for me to retire from the Navy and start another phase of life. At 42, I was way too young to “retire,” and I felt like I had a lot to contribute based off my life experiences over the past two decades. As I looked back over my career, I quickly realized the jobs that were the most satisfying to me were the ones where I got to see my junior officers and enlisted personnel grow and flourish. I was proud when I could give them clear intent, and they would go forward and execute flawlessly. I had also seen the influence Rebecca has had on her students’ lives, and this made me think that a transition to education might just fit my desired career change.
At Gould, I was immediately awestruck by two things. The beauty of the campus, and how much the staff cared and invested in the success of each student. I had been able to see many schools over the past 21 years as Rebecca followed me around in my Naval Career; no school had the sense of community life that radiated at Gould. Rebecca and I both agreed, this was not just a place where we could see her fit in, it was a place we could see both of us invest our time and energy for years to come.
Soon after I started, I attended the TABS (The Association of Boarding Schools) conference, and I experienced another aha moment that told me I had made the right decision to come to Gould. The presenter was talking about the “Why.” The premise is that we as administrators and educators spend a lot of time on the what and how, but for students to truly understand a topic, policy, or decision, they need to be able to understand and relate to the “why.” As a leader in the military, you spend most of your time explaining the “why” so that those below you will not just follow blindly, but rather with purpose and conviction. As the Dean of Community Life, I will have the same opportunity to work with the Student Leadership to fully explain the “why” so they can go forward and lead with purpose. I am excited about the upcoming school year, excited to connect with students in the community, in the classroom, and on the sports field, always ready to explain the “why.”