We are proud to announce Ms. Heather Rodney recently joined our BASIS Independent Brooklyn team as Dean of Students for our Early Learning Program (ELP). Ms. Rodney uprooted her family from North Carolina and just moved to Brooklyn to work alongside Director Ms. Kalia in preparing for the 2017-2018 school year. Ms. Rodney brings more than 10 years experience as a classroom teacher and literacy expert to our school.
After attending our network-wide training in Arizona in July, Ms. Rodney sat down with us to answer some questions we thought would help our families get to know her better.
What will be your role as the Dean for the Early Learning Program?
Dean Rodney: As the Dean of the ELP, I will meet with parents and communicate with them regularly about student performance and conduct in the classroom. I will help plan and oversee assessments, develop student schedules, and coordinate student support. It is also important to share that I am here to support Early Education Expert Teachers, teaching fellows, and Subject Expert Teachers involved in the program.
What is your vision for the upcoming year?
DR: It is my goal to maintain and build upon our already strong, positive, achievement-oriented school culture. Strong, mutually-respectful relationships among students, families, and staff is critical at any school. My hope is to grow our partnerships with community organizations, such as the Red Hook Library and the local community garden across the street. Another goal is to build upon the social/emotional curriculum by supporting a strong home/school connection.
Can you tell us a bit about what inspired you to pursue a career in education?
DR: When I was early elementary-aged, I would at times visit my mom’s school in the Bronx where she worked as a reading specialist. This was at a time when “Bring Your Child to Work” Day was a popular social initiative. I absolutely loved the excitement of being in the city, but I also thought being a teacher was equivalent to being Superman. As much as I enjoyed exploring architecture and urban planning as a career, I was always drawn to helping people, in particular children who struggled academically.
Anything we would not know from your bio that you would like to share with families?
DR: I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to study in Brazil and travel to diverse areas of the world like Israel and Europe. I have also lived in many regions of the United States, including New England, the Midwest, and the South. New York will always be home, and I am so happy to be able to provide my daughter with the chance to be molded and inspired by culturally rich surroundings.
Please join us in welcoming Dean Rodney and her daughter to our BASIS Independent Brooklyn community! She will work in partnership with Ms. Kalia, Director of the Early Learning Program, as part of our team focused on our youngest students in the coming year.