Schuhl wins race for dean of faculty

Aaron Lyons

Science teacher Dietrich Schuhl won the post of dean of faculty Thursday after a run-off faculty vote between him and science teacher Jesse Reiner. Math teacher Suzanne Lee was eliminated in the first vote for the two-year term.

Schuhl replaces Jacob Hazard, who has resigned to take the job of 11th and 12th grade academic dean at the Cranbrook School in Michigan next year.

“I am proud to announce that Dietrich Schuhl will be the next Dean of Faculty at the Upper School,” Hazard wrote in an email to faculty. ” I’ve worked with him in many capacities in the past and know that he will be excellent.  He has an open mind, a collaborative spirit, and an enthusiasm for making this school as great as it can possibly be.”

The purpose of the dean of faculty is to be “the conduit of information for the faculty to the administration and also from the administration to the faculty,” Hazard said.

The dean of faculty manages the sunshine fund, which is tapped into to send cards for birthdays, gifts for new babies and flowers when a death occurs in the family. He or she is also part of the upper school leadership team which includes Associate Head of Harvard-Westlake Audrius Barzdukas, Director of Studies Liz Resnick, Head Dean Beth Slattery and the FAC chair Ken Nealis “to make sure things are getting done,” Hazard said. This year the position has expanded to include organizing faculty meetings.

The position of dean of faculty has been appealing to Schuhl almost since he came to the school.

“If [Hazard] wasn’t leaving at the end of the year, I certainly wouldn’t have challenged him for the role, but I’m actually really excited that the opportunity is available,” he added.

While Schuhl doesn’t plan on taking the role in a completely new direction if he wins, he does have a few changes he’d like to make to improve the school’s feeling of community.

He also wants to work on ways in which the faculty at middle and upper school can move more easily between campuses to better communicate on a professional level.

What he considers to be the most challenging goal he wishes to accomplish is to “represent the faculty more to our physical plant development.”  As of now teachers merely receive an announcement about additions or changes to the campus.  If elected Schuhl hopes to become part of the discussions of “what we are going to build, what we are going to do with an ear to how we can help the faculty be a better community,” he said.

A few faculty members encouraged Lee to try for the position, but it was her family’s encouragement that was the deciding factor she said.

“I feel like I am well integrated with the faculty,” Lee said. “I understand where they are coming from and as also a math teacher I know what I want my school to do, so I think I could be a good representative of the faculty.”

Lee, if elected, hoped to create more activities that facilitate school bonding.

A colleague also suggested to Reiner that he should run for the position.

“It took me by surprise and I was flattered and it also made me very nervous,” he said. “The fact that it made me nervous alerted to me to the fact it might be a good challenge for me.”

Reiner said he did not have any bold new plans for the position but would want to settle into the position first before making any major changes.

“It would be [a great] honor to represent an awesome group of teachers and to have an opportunity to play a part in making the school as good as it can be,” Reiner said.