The KO community welcomes Krista Sahrbeck as the new Dean of Students, while thanking Will Gilyard for his nine years of service at KO.
Ms. Sahrbeck earned her B.A. in Government and International Studies, as well as Environmental Studies. She earned her M.Ed. in Educational Leadership and Administration. Ms. Sahrbeck currently works at the Kent Denver School in Englewood, Colo. where she has served as a form dean, admissions associate, and soccer coach for over 12 years.
Starting in late February, Director of Academic Planning Carolyn McKee led a search committee comprised of faculty and staff to choose the next dean of students. Members of the committee included math teacher Sara Starnes, Director of Diversity and Inclusion Joan Edwards, Head of the Upper School Dan Gleason, Modern Language teacher Kathryn Dunn, English teacher David Hild, and Administrative Coordinator Lindsay Perkins. Over the course of three weeks, the team looked through resumes, conducted interviews through Zoom, and invited candidates for day-long visits, before collectively coming to a decision before leaving for spring break.
The dean of students at KO has many responsibilities, and Ms. McKee said the committee was looking for someone to be able to play the role of both disciplinarian and supporter. As described in the position statement created by the committee: “The Dean of Students is responsible for implementing the effective curriculum, ensuring that students are provided with opportunities to learn and grow, to be their best selves, and to explore activities outside of the classroom. S/he sets the tone and maintains the positive student culture of the Upper School and upholds the School’s principles of community. The Dean of Students will be an experienced leader, a good listener, an empathetic problem-solver, and a clear communicator.
KO is, above all else, a community, and the Dean of Students will interact with all constituencies (teachers, students, and parents) on a daily basis.”
In addition, the Dean of Students works with people like the school counselor, form deans, college advisors, director of academic planning, and club leaders to create a robust advising program and organize student life activities, ensuring student health and safety.
Dr. Gleason said the committee was looking for someone with experience and strong organizational, empathic, and communication skills.
Mr. Gilyard said he agrees with the committee’s take on the role of dean of students. “The dean of students is really in charge of being a caretaker and the wellbeing of student life, fostering an inclusive culture and climate,” Mr. Gilyard said. “Ultimately, it’s someone who is a big supporter and cheerer of students.”
Ms. McKee said that the feedback about Ms. Sahrbeck was overwhelmingly positive, making her a unanimous decision amongst the search committee.
Dr. Gleason said he was impressed by Ms. Sahrbeck’s strong record and positivity. “She was fantastic at every stage of the process,” he said. “She is someone with great experience in student life, and is also really empathetic and relatable. She understands the student perspective and is excited, engaged, and eager to learn.”
Mr. Gilyard said he agreed that Ms. Sahrbeck will be a great addition to the KO community. “She’s super enthusiastic and loves working with teenagers,” he said.
Ms. McKee said that it was clear Ms. Sahrbeck would be the right fit for the job. “I think it was so clear from her visit on campus that she loves kids and she was a great listener,” she said. “She cares about student experience and has high energy. It will be interesting to see how she leaves her mark on KO the way Mr. G. has.”
Dr. Gleason said he agrees that Ms. Sahrbeck will do a fantastic job. “We hope she can build and expand upon all the things Mr. G. is currently doing in creating opportunities and organizing advising systems,” he said.
While we introduce a new member into our community, we also say goodbye to a vital part of KO. Mr. Gilyard’s hard work and liveliness will forever be remembered as he begins a new chapter working at Choate Rosemary Hall. Thank you, Mr. G!