Administration hires three new Deans after multiple departures


Printed with permission of Sara Miranda

Upper School Deans Celso Cárdenas and Sara Miranda pose for a picture at Waffle House during the 2022 Spring Break College Tour. Cárdenas and Miranda are departing the school.

Averie Perrin and Iona Lee

The school hired Sarah Miller, Jesse Reuter and English teacher Adam Levine to serve as deans beginning in the 2023-2024 school year.

Miller, who currently works at Marymount High School as the Co-Director of College Counseling, will replace departing Dean Sara Miranda, inheriting her existing group of sophomores and juniors. Reuter, a counselor at Loyola High School, will do the same for Celso Cardenas, who is also leaving.

As a part of a plan to expand the upper school counseling system, Levine will begin his tenure as dean with only sophomores. Two further deans will be added before the 2024-2025 school year, increasing the total number from 10 to 12. The school had planned to add two new deans for the 2023-2024 school year before Cardenas and Miranda announced their departures.

Head of Upper School Beth Slattery said the school is expanding the number of deans and is considering the establishment of a 10th-grade advisory in an effort to create closer relationships between students and adults and provide more support.

“The more adults who know kids and have relationships with them, the better,” Slattery said. “Not everybody jives with their dean, and so reducing the dean to student ratio, especially for sophomores, and having the additional sophomore advisory, [students] have another adult who they get to see every week.”

After the deaths of two upper school students this Spring, President Rick Commons said providing mental health resources for students new to the Upper School has become more important.

“The dean plan was in place before we experienced the tragedies, and it certainly makes it feel more urgent to us to make sure that we have multiple support systems in place for all of our students,” Commons said. “So [we are] expanding our counseling staff, expanding our Learning Center and relocating it so that it’ll be more accessible and more of a hub. Then, [we are] expanding the number of deans so that the ratio of deans to students goes down, so that a sophomore in the fall of [their] new experience at the Upper School doesn’t feel like [they] can’t talk to [their] dean because the dean is so busy dealing with seniors who are applying to college.”

Commons said the school will rely on donations, not tuition increases, to fund the salaries of the new deans for the 2024-2025 school year.

“We’re working on the funding for [adding new deans],” Commons said. “So, that’s part of my job, to not just raise tuition. We’ll have some generous alumni and parents who believe in the need for additional attention to sophomores, juniors and seniors who [can] help us to fund those positions.”

Commons said the administration is hiring new deans incrementally to find the best candidates for the position.

“You don’t want to hire somebody unless they’re excellent,” Commons said. “We had a robust pool [of applicants], but if you’re trying to hire more deans all at once, it’s better to wait.