New school year brings new deans


Alyssa Kraus

Principal Tom Durkin, Dean of School Life Danica Attanasio, Dean of Students and Technology Brian Powell, Dean of Professional Development Gary Scholl, and Dean of Student Services Larry Hensley prepare to greet incoming freshmen and transfer students on Friday, Aug. 25 during Freshman Orientation. This day was meant to prepare new students for the upcoming school year.

This school year is under new management. Four new deans are leading the administration this year including: Gary Scholl, Larry Hensley, Danica Attanasio, and Brian Powell. Sean Ireton is also a dean, however, his official position hasn’t changed. Each dean has his or her individual role in the community and will be in charge of their specific position in the school.

According to Scholl, however, this may not be a lasting change. “I don’t know if this is going to be a long term system or not. As the year unfolds, we will see how the division of responsibilities works out, and if it is effective, it may continue,” he said. Whether or not this is lasting, it will be in effect throughout this year.

Dean of Professional Development Gary Scholl

Previously the Vice Principal of Academics, Gary Scholl has been assigned a new position this year as Dean of Professional Development.

His role as a dean will include many new responsibilities. “My primary responsibilities are to be involved in observation of classroom instruction and working with faculty if there are concerns that emerge on the part of students or parents,” Scholl said.

Although these will be his chief responsibilities, according to Scholl, he will still be interacting with the students. They will still see him in the hallways and cafeteria, enforcing all school rules.

Scholl will also be working with Principal Tom Durkin on the delegation of responsibilities. “As small administrative things come up during the school year, myself and Mr. Durkin will be working on making sure it is handled by the right person,” he said.

Last year, as Vice Principal of Academics, Scholl was in charge of a large amount of the administrative process. Now that he is the Dean of professional Development, his previous work load has been divided among the other deans.

Dean of Student Services Larry Hensley

Former Director of Counseling Larry Hensley has been promoted to the Dean of Student Services. In his new position, Hensley’s primary focus includes four major areas: school counseling, college counseling, international student resident life, and international communications.

Hensley believes that the present guidance and college counseling systems are already “extremely strong,” and that they are not in need of any immediate changes. He does recognize, however, that his absence from the counseling department will increase the workload of Guidance Counselors Carol Heflin and Jennifer Behler. For this reason, Hensley would “love to hire another school-wide counselor by the beginning of next school year.”

In his new role, Hensley has already made some changes to the resident program that he believes will improve the quality of life for the students that live on campus. One of these changes was the introduction of two new dorm supervisors.  

To further improve the resident program, Hensley selected social studies teacher Darrion Siler to oversee the new Culture and Communications class for all international students. This class will educate international students about various aspects of American culture with a focus on interaction between international and American students. “Some of these students don’t know what a Prom dance is, or what Ring Ceremony is like, and we should help them realize opportunities to connect, such as these,” Hensley said.

Hensley’s focus on international communications will also include broadening the scope of the International Program and expanding it to include a diverse group of students from around the world. He reached out to schools in other nations, such as Brazil and parts of South America, in an attempt to recruit students from these areas

Hensley is also responsible for “fostering stronger relationships with the three partnership schools in China, which many people don’t even know about,” he said. Trips to and from China have been scheduled which allow Hensley to visit the partner schools during graduation. These trips take a lot of time and energy from Hensley, so he may “delegate these trips to other members of the staff who show interest.”

Dean of School Life Danica Attanasio

Spanish teacher and World Languages Department Chair Danica Attanasio is the new Dean of School Life. Last year, Attanasio served as the Assistant Dean of Students alongside previous Vice Principal of Student Affairs Brian Powell and Dean of Freshmen and Sophomores Sean Ireton. Although Attanasio has a new title this year, some of her responsibilities remain the same.

Her official responsibilities include organizing the school calendar, along with all extracurricular and weekend activities. Attanasio also schedules the community periods and the newly implemented early dismissal D days. Her role as Dean of School Life entails creating the student and teacher master schedules and organizing graduation events.

Attanasio will be “communicating to students, teachers, and parents when things are changing or going on that they need to be aware of,” she said. She will also be scheduling Senior Project events and fundraisers on the calendar. Attanasio is “hoping to make sure everything runs smoothly for students, teachers, staff, and everyone that’s involved in the day-to-day life of the school community,” she said.

Dean of Students and Technology Brian Powell

Brian Powell is now known as the Dean of Students and Technology. This school year, no new responsibilities have been assigned to him, despite the change in title. His main responsibilities include overseeing discipline for juniors, seniors, and the technology department.  

No responsibilities have been added to his workload this school year, but the addition of Dean of School Life Danica Attanasio has alleviated some of Powell’s duties.

Overall, Powell is adamant that much of what he does will remain the same this school year. He will still take care of suspensions and be in charge of the review board. “As far as the students’ relationship with the Deans goes, nothing has changed,” Powell said.

Dean of Freshmen and Sophomores Sean Ireton

Dean of Freshmen and Sophomores Sean Ireton will keep his position this year. He will handle teacher substitutions, student parking, dress code, and discipline for freshmen and sophomores. In addition to these responsibilities, Ireton will continue to teach a freshman class called Patriot Transition, formerly named Freshman Seminar, that helps students acclimate to the high school environment and learn about the school.

According to Ireton, it is important for students to understand and follow rules. He encourages them to learn not only “what the rule is, but what the purpose is,” he said. Ireton’s goal for this school year is to “get students to understand how important rules and regulations are, to respect one another for as different as we all are, and to have a relationship with the students so that we can respect each other,” he said.

Hayes Stancliff is a News Editor, Sarah Spaeth is a Copy Editor, and Lauren Piercy is an In-Focus Editor for The Patriot and