DeLeon_Samantha

As Director of Student Affairs for BASIS Independent Brooklyn's Lower School, Samantha De Leon's goal is to cultivate productive and positive relationships with teachers and families so that all students can achieve at their highest levels.

“At our Lower Campus, every moment that the kiddos are working in their classrooms they are deepening their curiosity, building their resiliency, and thinking critically about their world. This strong foundation sets them on a path to not just be personally successful but also to be a part of the success of their global community. I am eager to be a part of their journey and support them at every stage of accomplishing their goals.”

Ms. De Leon was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas. She received the Gates Millennium Scholarship and attended Brown University, where she received her bachelor’s degree in biology and master’s degree in elementary teaching. After twelve years of teaching and curriculum consulting, Ms. De Leon decided to transition to administration as the Director of Student Affairs at the Lower School Campus.

Ms. De Leon joined BASIS Independent Brooklyn as an Early Learning Program STEM/Engineering teacher as well as Gr. 4 grade Math Subject Expert Teacher. This past year Ms. De Leon was a part of the founding faculty at our Lower School Campus, and she now steps into the role of Director of Student Affairs there.

Tell us more about your work day to day on campus, so families understand the role of the Director of Student Affairs.

My role as Director centers on cultivating relationships with both teachers and families, so all students can achieve at their highest levels. I will spend my days communicating with families and discussing their unique insights into their child’s strengths as well as what specific goals they might have for their child, be it academic or social. I will also spend my time in classrooms working closely with teachers and students to ensure that every student is meeting their individual goals and developing appropriately in their social-emotional competence. Teachers have a keen understanding of how the curriculum and instruction can support students in achieving these goals so my job will be to provide resources and feedback that can help them with their daily lessons.

You have two kids, one who is a rising student in Gr. 1 and the other who will be in Kindergarten this fall. Why did you decide to send both of your children to BASIS Independent Brooklyn?

Selena and AJ have always had a natural love of learning so I knew that they would benefit from theArt de leon 3 solid academic program that BASIS Independent Brooklyn offers. I feel attending BASIS Independent is an opportunity for them to be appropriately challenged in core classes but also be immersed in a classroom that nurtures the whole child through the specials curriculum (STEM, Mandarin, Movement, Drama, and Music).

As a young girl, I was bored in my primary school classrooms. It wasn’t until I went to an Ivy League school for college that I was suddenly surrounded by people that had an intellectual curiosity that resonated with me. For my children, I want them to have every opportunity to explore their potential, especially during these foundational years.

What are some of your goals for our Lower School in the year ahead? Any insights into traditions or programs you hope to start?

This year, I am excited to build on the joyful culture that we all worked to create in the founding year of our campus. Some community events that I am planning include a back-to-school bash for all of our families to kick off the school and for our kiddos to start meeting up with friends. Throughout the year, I have other events lined up such as an all-school tie-dye party, a minigolf event, picnics, career day, and even a talent show.

 

Also, I would also like to strengthen the sense of community within our campus walls and beyond. For example, we want to initiate the book buddies program where older students would read to their younger buddy students at various points in the year. At the end of the year, we really started to explore all the institutions and programming that Brooklyn has to offer and we want to continue with that momentum. One recurring outing that we are excited about is library field trips to the newly constructed Brooklyn Heights Library.

Lastly, I want to further invest in the campus-wide commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. People often underestimate the capacity of younger children to participate in these courageous conversations but our youngest students have a strong ability to notice concepts around fairness and justice. Giving them opportunities to grapple with these things will expand their empathy and give them language for their noticings. These conversations will be a catalyst for the creation of our whole school community displays of learning that will be showcased around the building. I am looking forward to all the cultural celebrations in the year ahead.

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How did you hear about BASIS Independent Brooklyn, and why did you decide to first teach here?

I heard about BASIS Independent Brooklyn from a mom in my daughter’s ballet class who spoke highly about the teachers and curriculum at the school. Her older son attended the school, and he excitedly talked with me about everything that he learned at school. My immediate thoughts were how I wanted to be a part of a community where parents feel positively connected and students had that joy in learning. Also, considering that I had been teaching for about nine years at that point, I had spent much of my career figuring out the most optimal ways that children learn so I was seeking a space like an independent school where teachers are trusted to use their professional judgment as educators.  

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Why do you do what you do - what motivates you to pursue a career in education more broadly?

What attracted me to teaching is being able to impact communities in a meaningful way. As a director, I have the privilege of working with all students, teachers, and families in our community who have the singular focus of ensuring that our students are becoming their best selves. I am honored to get to work in partnership with dedicated teachers and passionate families to help our students achieve great things.

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Thank you to Ms. De Leon for inspiring our students each day.

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