Jose Ruiz Shares His Thoughts on the New School Year
by Rebecca Chernick on Friday, September 21st, 2012The Milton Measure recently had the chance to sit down with Mr. Ruiz, the new Dean of Students, on September 11, 2012, to discuss how his first few weeks at Milton have been going.
Have you been enjoying Milton so far? How have you been settling in? I have. Right now, it’s trying to find a balance between my schedule that’s basically all filled out, and trying to find time when I can get out into the Student Center and talk to students to get to know people. Things are going well. Everyone has been pretty welcoming, students and faculty. It’s a lot of names. I struggle with names a little bit. I feel like I am being introduced to folks, and I know the next time I see them I am not going to remember their name. That’s a little bit frustrating, and I’m feeling like I have to apologize. But people have been very patient. Everyone has offered to re-introduce themselves over and over until I get it, so it has been a nice smooth transition into school.
Do you have any goals for this year?
That’s a great question. I think one of my biggest goals is really to acclimate myself with the community, get to know what the culture is, try to identify what the “Milton Experience” is, that students refer to, that faculty refer to, kind of figure out those things for myself. Beyond that, I think on top of getting to know the culture, it’s getting to know the community—the students. Working with student leaders, trying to identify some of the concerns, questions people have. Obviously, Mrs. Johnson did a lot of work in her five years that she was here, so trying to figure out what things were left undone. That’s pretty much it. In the second year, I can assess my experience from the first year and then figure out other ways we can improve. I respect the fact that the school has been in existence for a very long time, and it’s been very successful. So for me to come in and think about changes wouldn’t really be fair to the school and the student body. So I’m really going to make my first year to learn what this place has to offer.
How has Milton been different from other schools you have worked at?
It’s bigger: from a names standpoint, it’s a lot more names. I’m used to a ninth grade class of forty to fifty students, verses 164. Dress code has been different—one [school] was more conservative with a jacket and tie and the other with a polo or button down shirt, trying to establish formality. Here the dress code is a bit looser, so that’s been different. Those are sort of the “big noticeable.” My job is different, so I feel my schedule is far more structured, meetings here and there, that type of thing. I’m still learning.
Are you living on campus? What is your role in the boarder community?
We’re living on Lindberg Street [where other Milton faculty members live]. This past weekend, I shadowed Mr. Heard as the administrator on duty. Friday night I touched on all but two houses. I met with the folks who were on duty, went into the common spaces, chatted it up with students that were around, getting to know them. Basically, within the boarding community, community time is a time I can use to get to know both the adults living in the dorms and the students in the dorms. Probably throughout the week, I’ll pick certain dorms to visit.
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