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Q&A with Assistant Head of School
August 26, 2020
E Komo Mai, Brandon! Tell us about yourself.
I grew up in a military family and have lived all over the place, though having attended high school and college in Georgia, falling in love with and marrying a Georgia Peach, I consider Atlanta home. My wife, Melissa, has a PhD in education (specializing in creative writing) and is a writer. Our son, Lucas, is 12 and loves building Legos and reading dystopian fiction. Together, we watch movies, have three-person Uno tournaments, and make each other laugh. I enjoy reading, making playlists for friends, traveling with my family, playing soccer, and walking around aimlessly while listening to podcasts including The Daily and This American Life.
I have nearly 25 years of teaching and school administrative experience, which includes teaching and leading teachers at Atlanta International School, serving as Head of Middle and Upper School at Khan Lab School in California and then serving as Secondary Principal at International School of Turin in Italy. I hold a bachelor of science in education from the University of Georgia and a master of arts degree in English literature from Georgia State University. Additionally, I’m certified in International School Leadership from the Principal Training Center and am trained in accreditation from New England Association of Schools. I also spent much of the past two decades leading teacher training workshops around the country for the International Baccalaureate program.
What is your role as Assistant Head of School, as this is a new position to Parker School?
My role as Assistant Head of School is primarily to lead the Middle and Upper School divisions at Parker. My previous two posts involved these same two divisions in my responsibilities, so it’s a responsibility I’m accustomed to. I will partner with Stephen Dunn, Head of School, on visioning and decision-making in the school. It became clear during the interview process, that Stephen and I are quite aligned philosophically and pedagogically. I expect to be a sounding board for him as he moves the school forward and will work constantly to find ways to put ideas into practice—within the context of Parker School culture.
Tell us a little about your educational philosophy.
I believe school should be a place where students are encouraged to think critically, to engage with the subject matter, and to find pleasure in the pursuit of knowledge. Positive relationships are key to a learning environment. Our aim should be to foster curiosity, independence, critical thinking, creativity, open-mindedness, and empathy in students. And we do that by modeling these qualities as teachers and administrators at school and as parents at home.
What do you see as opportunities to build upon our school’s legacy?
One of the things that brought me to Parker was the idea of ‘ohana. In my short time here, the sense of family and community has been strong and seems to be what draws people to Parker, keeps them here, and allows them to thrive in a supported environment. With humility and curiosity, I am working to learn more about the legacy, traditions, and culture of Parker—and how we can elevate these as we also bring about improvements. Mostly, however, I am in listening and learning mode. I want to get a sense of the culture and context of the Parker ‘ohana so we are all moving in the same direction together.
I think in these uncertain times, my most important focus is to keep students and faculty feeling safe and supported. Everything else hinges on that.
Looking ahead, we are going to dive deep into Learner-Centered Design and continue exploring what we as a school can learn about racial injustices and inequities and then what we can do about them. Lastly, the introduction of the Hui Mālama program (small “care groups” with faculty mentors for individualized and personalized attention in middle and upper school) will provide more intentional focus on students’ social and emotional development.
If you have questions or would like to reach out to Brandon, please contact him at 808-885-7933 x7115 or via email at email@example.com.