New Dean of Students
by Neil Chandra on Friday, May 18th, 2012
This past week Milton Academy’s administration named Mr. José Ruiz as Milton Academy’s next Dean of Students, reaching their decision from a pool of over a hundred applicants. The administrators made their decision on the heels of the imminent departure of current Dean of Students Bridget Johnson.
Mr. Ruiz joins Milton after a recent stint at St. Mark’s as the Associate Dean of Students and Director of Residential Life. After graduating from Middlebury College, where he majored in Spanish, Mr. Ruiz has worked towards a postgraduate degree from the Teacher’s College of Columbia University.
He went on to teach Spanish at both the Westminster School and, most recently, at the St. Mark’s school, where, as Associate Dean of Students, he worked closely with the students and the administration. In addition, Mr. Ruiz has served as an advisor to students and a house head for his dormitory at St. Mark’s.
Prior to his time as a teacher and dean, Mr. Ruiz attended the Westminster School, where he met Milton Academy’s current Associate Director of Admission and Financial Aid, Miles Bailey. Due to their long friendship, Mr. Ruiz applied for the position.
In an interview for the Milton website, Mr. Ruiz claims that it was never his intention to leave St. Mark’s, but the opportunity at Milton was too good to pass up. He went on to mention that he prefers working with independent schools due to his years of experience with that sector of education.
With all this upheaval within the administration, Milton Academy students often wonder how these changes will affect them. In reaction to the administration’s selection, Chris McDonough (III) stated that “the change won’t matter much unless it has a lasting impact on student-administration relations.” While seemingly unconcerned with the change, McDonough went on to mention that “[he] would be pleased to see significant changes in the administration’s attitude towards students.”
Howey Qiu (III) indicated that “[Mr. Ruiz] looks like a good guy, and I’m really looking forward to getting to know him over the remainder of my Milton career.” Many students share Howey’s opinion that Mr. Ruiz’s arrival denotes a period of positive change for the school, possibly resulting in improved student-administration relations and overall campus atmosphere
In an interview regarding the selection process, Mr. Ball discussed the wide-range of applicants, mentioning that “Milton receives a few international applications, but the majority come from within the United States.” In order to narrow down the large quantity of applicants for the position, the school put together a search committee which read through every application and reduced the pool to seventy-five. The selection process involved meeting with each candidate to assess his or her suitability to the position. From there, they continued to eliminate candidates until they were left with three, who were able to meet with current students in Withington during lunch. After the committee reached a final decision, Mr. Ball has been in contact with Mr. Ruiz in order to usher in a smooth transition.
In addition, Mr. Ball revealed that the school made this decision based partially on Mr. Ruiz’s “ experience as a classroom teacher at a school that values academic life as highly as Milton does” and also on “his great experience outside the classroom as a coach and advisor to a range of clubs and his great deal of experience in residential life programs both at Westminster and St. Mark’s.” The committee looked at the “values that [Mr. Ruiz] acts on, his commitment to diversity, his commitment to developing strong leaders within a student body and his generosity of spirit that is obvious in all the communication he does,” and ultimately concluded that Mr. Ruiz was the best choice for the opening.
Milton will officially welcome Mr. Ruiz this July 1st when he will begin his new job as Milton Academy’s new Dean of Students and as a faculty member living on campus with his wife and two young daughters.
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