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Upper School embraces triumvirate leadership

For the 2018-19 school year, St. Martin’s Episcopal School has implemented a new form of leadership in the upper school.

The new model took the previous position of head of upper school and divided it into three separate head positions: interim head of upper school, associate head of upper school student affairs, and associate head of upper school academics.

Peter Adair holds the position of interim head of upper school. As interim head, Adair is the face of the upper school, dealing with community outreach and public relations.

“My responsibilities include the day-to-day operations and activities of the upper school, along with the parental communications and notifications,” Adair said.

Along with his new administrative duties, Adair continues to teach upper school students, specifically in United States history.

Adair has the best of both worlds, so to speak, as he gets to continue to pursue his passion for teaching. Being able to be a member of the academic community while also having a leadership position is a tremendous opportunity, according to Adair.

Mary Bond fills the role of associate head of upper school student affairs. Bond deals with everything involving student life, including clubs, advisories, safety, discipline, service learning, and student initiatives.

Like Adair, Bond also teaches courses, such as AP Calculus, Advanced Math II Honors, and Algebra II Honors.

Tiffany DuSaules handles different duties as associate head of upper school academics. In her role, she manages issues that fall under the umbrella of academics, which includes items such as testing, grades, and upper school courses.

“For me personally, I enjoy reading over the state handbook, going over graduation requirements, looking over teacher syllabi, and paying close attention to grades, GPA’s, and the way everything functions,” DuSaules said.

“Because of this, I was drawn to the academic part of the model, and that’s what made me apply for the position.”

Although DuSaules is not teaching any courses, she is an integral part of the college counseling process and also fulfills separate tasks as the school registrar.

The new leadership model in the upper school represents a progressive form of school administration, as very few schools across the nation have implemented this collaborative structure.

St. Martin’s recognized the extensive amount of work that it has formerly expected just one upper school head to handle, which was a driving factor behind changing its leadership style, according to Bond. The school believes that effecting this new leadership standard will not only reduce the strain on one person, but will also ensure that the upper school leaders carry out their duties more effectively.

Each head can focus on their own responsibilities, in addition to making collaborative decisions and retaining their roles as teachers or counselors.

“One of the things being recognized by the independent school system is that it might be better to have teacher leaders that work collaboratively to run a division,” Bond said. “Having three heads makes it easier for a several reasons, one being that we can now attend and represent St. Martin’s at more events than one person could do. Secondly, it gives teachers who would like to develop their abilities in terms of leadership an opportunity to do so within the school they love and want to stay at. It also reflects to the community the collaborative way that we want students to work when problem solving.”

From the perspective of Sophomore William Salvaggio, the form of leadership works much better with three heads, as it leads to more individual attention to various components of administration. The three administrators believe the system is running smoothly thus far.

“We think the system is working very well so far,” Adair said. “Hopefully the teachers, administrators, and students feel the same.”

The transition from one model of administration to another was no easy task, but through significant time and effort, the team has transformed into one functioning, cohesive unit, which is important, according to DuSaules.

“Most things, however, are not cut and dry in one area, so collaboration and communication within the collective is vital,” Bond said. “The three of us spent a lot of time over the summer together, which helped tremendously in creating that team aspect that helps the model run so smoothly. A team relationship must be developed.”

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