Joining the St. John’s faculty this year is Ms. Dana Watson as the new Assistant Principal for Student Life. She’s a fifth-generation Washingtonian, and credits her mother’s work as a guidance counselor in D.C. Public Schools in helping her and her two younger brothers understand the importance of education and grow to love reading. Considering herself a “lifelong learner,” Ms Watson said she believes all children should have equal access to a great education.
She also enjoys working with high school students specifically because of how close they are to adulthood. “It’s very interesting talking with young people and supporting them as they move closer to the adult world. I see one of my main roles is helping kids find their own voice,” Ms Watson said.
Before coming to St. John’s, she worked a number of education jobs including teaching 6th grade English and Social Studies, working as International Baccalaureate Coordinator, being Dean of Students, and working as Assistant Principal. Her first nine years of work were spent in D.C. Public Schools.
Besides standard disciplinary measures, Ms. Watson’s role is “to ensure that the climate and culture at St. John’s is one where students can come to school [and] have [an] enjoyable, loving, and safe experience every day,” she said.
Ms. Watson will also be partnering with other departments like Counseling and Mission and Ministry to “support student’s overall development.” Beyond her standard duties, Mrs. Watson hopes to make sure everyone at St. John’s has a voice and wants to “make sure that the St. John’s legacy is carried on in a way that takes into consideration 21st century societal standards.” Additionally Ms. Watson said she also looks forward to introducing restorative justice philosophies and practices to the SJC community so that “everyone can exist in a space of mutual respect and repairing harm.”
Due to the pandemic, Ms. Watson’s new job has started in an unexpected way. She noted that “it was strange starting the school year without any students,” particularly missing the sight of students “filling the hallways” between periods and sitting with them during lunch. Besides that, though, her fellow staff members have been welcoming and she already feels “like a part of the family.”