This September, St. John’s welcomed a new dean of students to the staff, Mr. Smith. The new dean attended St. John’s and graduated in 2003, then attended Salisbury University to study philosophy and marketing. Mr. Smith said majoring in philosophy at college gave him “the ability to think outside the box and come up with creative solutions” to any challenges he might face at St. John’s.
After graduating college, Mr. Smith served as a DC police officer for 11 years. Serving in law enforcement gave him many valuable skills, including the ability to adapt to new situations. Mr. Smith believes having a background in the justice system has provided him with the ability to work with all different kinds of people from different backgrounds. He said this will be helpful because the St. John’s community comes from “a diverse mix of economic, social, and cultural backgrounds that requires flexibility and understanding.”
Mr. Smith chose to attend St. John’s after a teacher from his elementary and middle school, Woods Academy, spoke highly of the curriculum and especially the JROTC program, now known as the Cadet Corps Leadership Program. During his time at SJC, Mr. Smith said he could be found on the soccer field, marching with the JROTC, or studying for his classes. Mr. Smith chose to return to St. John’s as an administrator because he “always loved the community and family feeling the St. John’s faculty and students provided.”
When Mr. Smith attended St. John’s, one of his favorite teachers was Mr. Lander. “He had an energy about him, and you could tell he cared about his students.” Additionally, when he attended the Woods Academy, he was taught by Mr. Maloney. “Mr. Maloney has been the most influential teacher I have ever had. He was great teacher and a great person. His passion for his job was always obvious, and he worked very hard to make a difference in the students’ lives. I am a better person from having had the opportunity to learn from these two great teachers.”
When asked if there were any changes he’d like to make to the rules or the way that St. John’s enforces them, Mr. Smith said, “There isn’t anything drastic that I want to change, but we have been discussing ways to incorporate the student body in student affairs.”
One question many students were left asking after Mr. Danso left St. John’s is how the new dean plans to enforce the uniform policy. Mr. Smith plans to “stick with the uniform policies already in place and enforce them in keeping with the student handbook.” When asked specifically about his position on sweatshirts, he said “the uniform policy is put in place for a reason, and the school has been generous in its options for approved sweaters in school, so there is no reason for students to wear sweatshirts that violate the student handbook.”