Among the unsung heroes of our school – people counted on to solve problems, manage numerous tasks and keep our students safe – are our deans. Under the guidance of Assistant Principal/Director of Student Life, Mr. Bob Eleby-El, Washington Latin is fortunate to have a team that includes three full-time and three part-time deans. This includes Mr. Brandon Edwards, an original staff member from 2006, who works with Grades 5 and 6, Mr. Jamille Callum who supports students in Grades 7 and 8 and Mr. Chris Coleman who works in the upper school. Working part-time in Grades 5-6 are Mr. Headley Grey and Mr. Albert Edmundson. Ms. Khashiffa Roberts is the dean for Grade 12.
Each of our deans wears multiple hats. Mr. Callum coaches our varsity track team and is quickly earning a reputation as an elite teacher, trainer and tactician. Yesterday he took five of our upper school students to the Penn relays. Mr. Grey is our Director of Transportation. Mr. Edmundson is our receptionist and manages our main office. Mr. Edwards is our lead bus monitor. Mr. Coleman coaches baseball and basketball. Ms. Roberts is the interim Grade 12 director as well as the Co-Director of Student Support Services. She is also our talented Yearbook Editor. Mr. Eleby-El teaches D.C. History, mostly to 12-graders, and coaches our varsity men’s basketball team.
Our team utilizes restorative justice practices that focus on helping our students understand the consequences of their actions. They encourage our young men and women to reflect on their choices and to work to restore trust, repair harm and to make amends for their actions.
When Bob Eleby-El transitioned to the role of Assistant Principal in 2013, he interviewed teachers, deans and administrators to see what they liked and did not like about the current discipline system and what they wanted to see happen in the future. Five years later, he and staff still take feedback to heart, welcome opportunities to learn new strategies and skills and enjoy partnering with grade directors and other administrators in providing academic and behavioral support.
The dean team has worked hard to build close and trusting relationships with students. Each of them has gone out of the way to get to know individual students, learn their specific interests and needs, and provide guidance for student behavior. They work to facilitate meaningful conversations with the help of a select group of students who are trained as peer mediators. They have worked on this with Ms. Anna Laura Grant, who is completing a graduate degree in Conflict Resolution and teaches a course in this subject as an elective for students who wish to become peer mediators.
This work is essential to building the kind of close-knit, warm relationships among the Latin community that characterizes our school. Please read below about an example of the enduring nature of these relationships on both side: alumna Jennifer Jimenez returned last night to receive the Civitas Award for Accomplished Alumni at last night’s Convivium de Civitate. We loved seeing her, as well as others who joined us to celebrate the school and raise money for the Latin Faculty Fund. Read on below!