Patricia Jacobsen, high-school math teacher and Student Council adviser, will don yet another hat next year as she becomes the high-school dean of student life.
Headmaster Stephen Repsher announced Jacobsen’s new role in an email to the faculty on March 14.
Brooke Wells, assistant head of high school, will take over as head of high school next year, and Daniel Neukom, history teacher and current dean of students,
will transition to teaching only one AP European History class.
Neukom, who has taught at the school for 41 years and will turn 65 in June, said it is the right time for him to gear back and for someone else to take over.
With these changes, Jacobsen expressed interest in taking on more responsibilities.
Neukom doesn’t think Jacobsen will need much help transitioning into this job.
“She’s been at the school for a number of years, so she understands the ethos of Country Day,” he said. “She’s been very observant.”
Sue Nellis, head of high school, says she thinks Jacobsen will work hard to do a great job in this position.
And Wells said that he is looking forward to teaming with Jacobsen in their respective new positions next year.
“We’ve worked together over the last 10 years on a lot of things,” Wells said.
Wells said that the only change is that Jacobsen now has an official title for what she does.
When he was in charge of Student Council several years ago, Wells often asked Jacobsen to help with events or chaperone dances.
That eventually evolved into her becoming the Student Council adviser.
“The scope of activities that I was in charge of has broadened over the last few years,” Jacobsen said.
Now, as dean of student life, Jacobsen will oversee student activities, enforce the dress code, manage daily attendance, enforce minor disciplinary issues, direct the student orientation program and help incoming head of high school Wells as needed.
Nellis said she doesn’t think that the transfer of disciplinary items will be an issue.
“(Jacobsen is) clear about what needs to be done and what shouldn’t be done in regard to discipline,” Nellis said.
However, she said determining punishment is always difficult.
Jacobsen will continue to teach five separate math classes and advise Student Council.
So what’s she most looking forward to? “Detentions,” Jacobsen said. “No, just kidding!”
Being in charge of lunch detention and dress-code enforcement won’t make her very popular, she said.
Joking aside, Jacobsen said she is most excited about the student activities part of the job.
“I really like spending the extra time with the students,” she said.
“Most of our students are quite serious about academics. They’re also involved in a lot of sports and other important activities. Working with Student Council to plan
events helps add another dimension.” Planning events gives students something that they can look forward to and
that helps make memories, she said.
Jacobsen said she doesn’t intend to make any extreme changes.
“There are certain things like (the annual capture-the-flag
event at Ancil Hoffman Park) that will never change,” she said.
This new role will dovetail with her current position as Student Council adviser.
“It’s the perfect overlap,” Wells said, because so many of the activities associated with this position are put on by Student Council.
“If I’m in charge of student activities, I can expand Student Council’s role,” Jacobsen said. “It just makes it more efficient.”