Q and A: Interim Associate Dean Brendan Kobus


Erez Ben-Akiva/Sagamore Staff

Associate Interim Dean, Brendan Kobus plans to be proactive in his new position.

Erez Ben-Akiva, Website Manager

Brendan Kobus applied for the position of Interim Associate Dean for 11th grade last year. On top of his responsibilities as an associate dean, he also teaches history.

Q: Can you describe what you do now as an associate dean? What does the job entail?

A: I would be the associate dean for the junior class, so I share half of the students in the junior class with Ms. Redding. We are responsible for school culture, school discipline, student health and well-being.

Q: What was the process of receiving the position? Did you seek it out or did Brookline administration recruit you?

A: They posted the Interim Associate Dean position and people applied and there were rounds of interviews right after school ended. So I interviewed once with a larger interview group and then became a finalist and interviewed with Ms. Redding and Ms. Alexander. I was then given the position.

Q:  Who exactly is hiring you? Is it the Brookline school, is it the administration in the school?

A: It’s the administration in the school and really it’s Ms. Redding because she is the leader of this Dean’s team with her as Dean and with Ms. Alexander and myself as Associate Deans, and then the guidance counselors. So, once she became Interim Dean, it was her job to hire who she wanted as Associate Dean.

Q:  How do you feel about less teaching?

A: No, as I was walking through the hall today, I was looking into classrooms and I really love the interaction with the whole class and thinking about content. But I also love the interactions that I have in this position with students and with faculty and staff. So, sure there are things that I miss and I miss the rhythm of the first day it’s back when you’re meeting your new classes and you get a hundred new students and that first unit comes and all that stuff. I missed that rhythm of the start of the year. But I really like this position.

Q:  What qualities do you think are important for someone to be effective in the position that you have?

A: Well, sure, I think being proactive is really important in this position. There’s a lot of things that come up that you have deal with, but being proactive is important. Being visible and getting to know a lot of people and building relationships with students help when those issues come up, those sensitive issues that are hard to deal with. Having a relationship I think helps I would say. Generally that as a quality is crucial.

Q:  And how do you plan being a new Dean to get to know all the students under your “deanship”?

A: I get to know them by being out in the halls, introducing myself. I certainly get to know some students that come through this office, whether they’re coming to see their guidance counselors about scheduling issues or other things. So I introduce myself. I get to know them through lunch duty, through that sort of stuff. I have tried so far this year to a couple of sporting events. I’ve been to some boys and girls soccer games, so I can get to know students in that sense.

Q:  What at the high school is the difference between the Dean and the Associate Dean, if there is a big difference at all?

A: The Dean, in sort of the way it works, the Dean is the leader of this Dean’s team. So like I said I have half of the junior class. So, Dean Redding has half of the junior class, but she also has half of the freshman class. So she’s responsible for probably over 500 students, where I’m responsible for 250. The way it works, I’m still part of what we call the Unit A, so I’m part of the teacher’s union, whereas the Dean is not. So the two deans, Dean Redding and Dean Butchart, Mr. Mason and Mr. Meyer, and the Director of Special Education are what we call the five unaligned administrators. So they are not part of the union, they negotiate their own contracts. And they ultimately are the five senior leaders of the school.

Q:  What goals do you have for the school year, if any?

A: My goal is to get to know as many students as possible. To be a face and a person that people are comfortable coming to speak with, who they can trust and also somebody who they feel can accomplish things and help support them in a meaningful way.