An Administrator’s Life
by The Milton Measure on Friday, October 5th, 2012
Milton Academy runs smoothly and successfully due in large to the hard work of four administrators: Ms. Bonenfant, Mr. Ball, Mr. Bland, and Mr. Ruiz. These faculty have busy days filled with meetings, teaching classes, and tending to their families.
Ms. Bonenfant, Milton’s Academic Dean, likes to wake up around five am, saying she is more efficient in the quiet morning than at night. Before school, Ms. Bonenfant tackles many tasks, including grading papers, answering emails, and organizing her schedule for the day.
After assembly, she is busy with teaching math and senior transitions classes and attending meetings. She frequently conferences with Ms. Collins about the skills center and Mr. Ball and Mr. Ruiz regarding their administrative duties like organizing parents’ weekend, the beginning of school, and exams. In addition, she meets with the class deans to keep everyone in the community informed. Ms. Bonenfant also works with students who are on medical leave and supports those struggling in certain courses.
Ms. Bonenfant has also been busy training the new faculty members to be advisors, to write constructive student comments, and to be prepared for Parents’ Weekend. According to Ms. Bonenfant, “communication is pretty important.” Ms. Bonenfant stays organized with “extensive lists” of emails to send, letters to write, and numbers to call on her iPad.
Aside from her duties as Academic Dean, Ms. Bonenfant loves to cook and walk her dog as it “gets [her] out of the house and makes [her] remember [she] actually likes the dog.” Ms. Bonenfant also enjoys, if she has the time, spending five minutes in the morning solving a difficult Sudoku puzzle.
Mr. Ball, Principal of the Upper School, begins his mornings on his computer, checking and replying to emails. On Mondays, he prepares for the all-school assembly and gets ready to teach Micro and Macro Economics and one section of Current Events/Public Speaking for sophomores.
According to Mr. Ball, “most of [his] day consists of meetings,” although he does teach six periods a week during the fall semester. Although many of his meetings occur consistently every week, each day is slightly different. Mr. Ball says that when he is scheduling meetings, “I think of myself as available from about 8:20 to 5:30 or 6:00.”
Mr. Ball’s after-school time is more flexible. In the afternoons when he is free, he enjoys attending athletic events. In the evenings, Mr. Ball attends faculty meetings, meets with his advisees, and prepares for the upcoming week. For fun, Mr. Ball tries to get away for a weekend every now and then and go into Boston.
When asked if he had any organizational tips he swears by, Mr. Ball admitted with a chuckle, “the short answer is no.” Mr. Ball believes that his time management system is “intuitive and organic rather than precise and well defined”.
The first thing our Head of School Mr. Bland does when he wakes up in the morning is makes sure his dog, Riley, is fed and out of the house. After the dog is well taken care of, Mr. Bland spends about half an hour sending and answering emails. Each day of the week, Mr. Bland prepares to attend a certain assembly. On Monday, he attends our Upper School assemblies in the ACC, but on Thursday mornings he is with the Middle School Students.
Like his assembly schedule, Mr. Bland’s daily schedule varies both daily and weekly. He attends regularly scheduled meetings every week, teaches a Senior Transitions class, and sets aside time every week to teach different grades in the school. He meets with a variety of different people, from campus visitors, to other administrators, to students groups.
In the afternoon, Mr. Bland’s busy schedule continues. “[I do] not follow the Upper School schedule,” says Mr. Bland. “I fit people in when I can.”
As for staying organized, Mr. Bland simply says, “I live by my iPhone.” Mr. Bland uses the FirstClass calendar, and like Ms. Bonenfant, makes lists. “One of the challenges when you are in a job where there is always more that you can do is that you tend to think about it all the time,” Mr. Bland admits. Lists remind Mr. Bland about what needs to be done and help him keep his head clear.
To balance his life with work, Mr. Bland leaves blocks of time in his schedule to watch Milton sports in the afternoon or go out with his family at night. According to Mr. Bland, “I try to protect at least one of the two days in the weekend for doing things that I like to do and/or with family. That doesn’t always work because we tend to do things seven days a week around here.”
Our new Dean of Students, Mr. Ruiz, begins his day around 6:15am. His top priority between the time he wakes up and when he goes to assembly are getting his daughters, one in kindergarten and one in second grade, ready and off to school.
After assembly, “my schedule is pretty intense,” says Mr. Ruiz. Mr. Ruiz’s workload varies from week to week. On a light week, Mr. Ruiz has more free time to send important emails, schedule meetings, sit down, have lunch, and spend time in the Stu getting to know students.
On busy weeks, Mr. Ruiz has less time to eat lunch and socialize with students and teachers. Aside from teaching two sections of Senior Transitions, Mr. Ruiz hopes to attend some club meetings throughout the week to be more involved in student life.
After school, Mr. Ruiz picks up his daughters at their bus stop at 3:15, gives them a snack, and helps them start their homework. If there are games being played, he likes to walk around the fields and spectate. Mr. Ruiz’s day ends around 5:00 as he finishes his emails and meetings.
When he returns home for the evening, he takes his dog for a run and makes dinner. Mr. Ruiz stays organized through his busy days with the help of Ms. Pulit and a running “to do list.” Mr. Ruiz categorizes the items on his list as student issues, school issues, projects, and personal. He said “In the back of my mind I always have to make sure I am taking care of things at home for my wife and kids.” To balance his work life and home life Mr. Ruiz says, “having a supportive partner is helpful. Family has to come first and I think that if everyone else around you understands that, you can pretty much work to resolve a situation if it arises.”
Through their busy days and precise planning, these administrators work together to keep Milton Academy going strong.
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