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The Perennial

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From Classroom to Leadership

Jennifer Bates Transitions to Dean of Students
Jennifer Bates, new Dean of Students

 As Pinewood approaches the end of the school year, students, teachers and administrators look forward to a three-month reprieve from the classroom. For history teacher Jennifer Bates, however, the end of this year marks a significant milestone in her career. After 19 years at Pinewood, she is moving into a new role as Dean of Students. 

   Bates’ love of teaching began in high school. When she resolved a tense moment with another student, she knew teaching was right for her. 

   “I had the almost overwhelming urge to help,” Bates said. “I turned around and gave my alternate explanation while the rest of the class and my teacher silently looked on, and it was at that moment that I realized that teaching seemed to be something I was good at and felt rewarding to me.”

   Since first arriving at Pinewood in 1992, Bates has served in a number of leadership roles, including Social Studies Department Head and Junior High Activities Director. However, this will be the first time she’s left the classroom. 

   The new role includes overseeing both student activities and implementing student conduct standards.

   “Many students have had me as a teacher and know that I like to joke around and have a good time, but I also have high expectations and always follow through with consequences,” Bates said. “As Dean of Students, I plan to stay true to this same philosophy, which I believe will make balancing my two roles successful.”

   Upon beginning her role next year, Bates hopes to incorporate feedback from the Pinewood community in order to set goals and create strategies that truly reflect needs. 

   “I will start my tenure as Dean of Students with a listening tour, wanting to hear from the community what is going well and in what areas we could improve,” Bates said. “I don’t believe in introducing new programs until we set this baseline and hear from our constituency.”

   More than anything, Bates said she plans to instill a sense of belonging and empowerment within students, faculty and staff at Pinewood, creating a positive, inclusive and spirited community.

   Bates said she is excited for the future and hopes that she will be able to contribute to Pinewood’s mission to inspire joyful learning. 

   “I look forward to feeling like I am truly a difference,” Bates said. “I hope to see happy students who feel valued, supported, and enjoy their days at Pinewood.”


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