Welcome, Ms. Dede!
Dean of Student Life
One of our most recent additions to our SGS "village" is Dede Johnson (Ms. Dede), our Dean of Student Life. She recently launched a Student Life blog
with resources for both students and families. We also recently sat down with Ms. Dede to talk about her role so we could introduce you to this amazing resource to the SGS community!
Hi Ms. Dede! Welcome to SGS. Please tell us about your role as Dean of Student Life at SGS.
Ms. Dede: Thank you! I'm very excited to be here in this new role at SGS. Basically, the Dean of Student Life is responsible for the life of students outside the classroom. More specifically, I’m charged with promoting the social and emotional well-being of girls so they are able to bring their best selves to the classroom. I really want to create a partnership with students and families to develop and maintain a community in which all
By training, I’m a social worker. But in many ways, I see myself as a coach, helping students build skills and practice techniques while providing feedback. I like to celebrate wins and cushion losses, helping them build resiliency—because navigating the middle school years can be difficult! There's also a disciplinary aspect to my work. When issues arise that require discipline, my approach is to create learning moments. I’m less into punishment and more into creating learning opportunities for growth.
What are your goals for the year and what do you hope to accomplish?
Ms. Dede: Since I just joined SGS in December 2014, I'm still pretty new. However, I have two primary goals for this year. First, I want to learn all I can about SGS culture while building relationships with students, families, faculty, and staff. I want the SGS community to get to know me well enough so they feel comfortable using me as a resource when they need assistance. It's my hope that this will happen through classroom visits, informal and formal meetings, and just being present around campus. I want students to see me as another caring adult in their "village" so they feel comfortable enough to seek guidance with issues that may impede their ability to thrive. Secondly, I want to contribute to what SGS does well while being a resource for potential areas of improvement.
How do you define success as it relates to middle school students?
Ms. Dede: I think a successful environment for middle school students is first and foremost an environment in which students know they are cared for and safe. Additionally, working to develop the whole
student as they progress through the middle school years is vital. We'll attend, of course, to students' intellectual development by focusing on how girls acquire and communicate knowledge. Equally important, however, is developing their emotional
identity. This includes their skills for understanding, expressing, and controlling their emotions. By learning how to develop and maintain deep and quality relationships, they'll also develop their social selves. Helping students formulate a clear value system that will guide them now and in the future is important as well. Finally, acquiring knowledge about health and wellness is also a critical part of the development of the whole student. If girls leave SGS with a firm foundation of these things, I'd call it a success!
Summer STEAM Camp
Registration is now open for our Summer STEAM Camp for girls, aged 8-11, who are not currently enrolled at Seattle Girls' School. Spread the word! Camp information and registration forms can be found here »