7th grade deans to reshuffle, deans to depart

Three faculty members at the Middle School will leave at the end of the school year, causing a shift in dean positions. Math teacher and seventh grade dean Josh Budde, Admission Associate Rebecca Jensen and Spanish teacher and seventh grade dean Julie Harris will each move on from the school for both professional and personal reasons.

With Budde and Harris leaving and English teacher and ninth grade dean Jon Wimbish moving to the Upper School, current deans and teachers will shift positions to fill the gaps. Drama teacher and eighth grade dean Kate Benton and Spanish teacher Colby Plath will become seventh grade deans. Ninth grade dean Karen Wareham and math teacher Rod Huston will be eighth grade deans, and English teacher and eighth grade dean Paul Mastin and math and Latin teacher Elizabeth Ilg will be ninth grade deans.

Budde and Jensen, who have been married for approximately five and a half years, will move to Chestnut Hill near Philadelphia, where Budde will be Head of Middle School at all-boys school Chestnut Hill Academy. His new job will entail much the same responsibilities as his current position in that he will work with students, teachers and parents, yet he will also hire and evaluate faculty. Jensen has decided not to take a new job at this time.

“[Older daughter] Lucy will be starting preschool, and there will be so many changes for both [daughters] that I really want to be around every moment for them,” she said.

Budde had considered moving for almost a year, but only began interviewing at schools last fall. In addition to being a math teacher and dean during his 11-year tenure, Budde has contributed to the school in a variety of ways, including co-creating SQUID and the middle school house system, coaching varsity soccer and working at the Los Olmos campus.

“I was not, and am not, tired of what I do or of being here. But, I knew there was going to come a time when I was going to want something more,” he said. “I am not leaving Harvard-Westlake to do the same thing somewhere else; I am leaving to do more somewhere else.”

Budde visited eight schools around the country in his search for a new school, a process he described as a “combination of college visits and speed dating.” He chose CHA for its small size (600 students from kindergarten to 12th grade), which would enable him to quickly get to know the school, staff and students, and for its small town location.
“While searching for a school I was really looking for the place that just felt right. After spending two days at CHA I knew it was a match,” Budde said.

Jensen, who has worked at the Middle School for nine years, taught science and human development, coached boys and girls’ soccer and taught in the Summer Enrichment Program.Harris, who married her longtime boyfriend last summer, decided on her departure once she found out she was pregnant. Although Harris was “on the fence for a while” whether to leave, Head of School Jeanne Huybrechts said, she ultimately decided to leave. Her baby is due in the fall.