Ms. Wallace joined BASIS Independent Brooklyn earlier this year as the Dean of Students for our Upper School (grades 8–12). She came to our Red Hook campus from Beacon High School, where she focused on student support and college counseling. Prior to Beacon, Ms. Wallace worked at the Professional Performing Arts School leading individual and group counseling sessions for high school and supported incoming high school students as well as preparing seniors for college. Ms. Wallace obtained her master's degree in school counseling from Hunter College.
With all of her experience in the high school arena, Ms. Wallace says that her favorite part of working with students is "seeing the passion that students express when they encounter new and meaningful information.”
Ms. Wallace was drawn to BASIS Independent Brooklyn because students are encouraged to “immerse themselves at a high level of academic thought and rigor, while still being encouraged to practice individuality and personal creativity.” The balance of those qualities is something that she also appreciates from the teachers and staff whom she has started to work with at the school.
“One of my goals as the Dean of Upper School is to ensure that students feel that there is always a place within the school community where they feel that they can be honest, and where they know they will be supported.”
We asked Ms. Wallace to share with families more information about herself and her role at BASIS Independent Brooklyn.
Tell us about your role as Dean of the Upper School, and give us a sense of a typical day for you.
As the Dean of Upper School I work with the entire Upper School team to help create experiences for our students that promote their academic, social, and identity development. I spend much of my time talking to both students and teachers about what is currently happening around the school, within the classrooms, and within the lives of our students. My favorite part of the role is getting the chance to hear firsthand from students about their experiences and interests. Hearing what they are passionate about fuels my desire to help build a school community that allows students to feel inspired and empowered to pursue their dreams.
Photo above - Ms. Wallace helped Key Club members pack up canned food items collected for their Thanksgiving food drive.
You have a background in counseling. How does that background play into your work at our school?
My training as a counselor greatly informs my approach to this role and to my interactions with students. I am interested in students from a holistic perspective, and try to consider all the different factors contributing to their experiences. While my ultimate goal is always to help ensure that they are thriving academically, the overall well-being of students is also very important to me. This philosophy extends to how I work with teachers as well, as I try to be considerate of all that they are juggling within the classroom. I believe that by investing in the interactions that students and teachers have collectively, we are investing in creating a space that all stakeholders want to be in.
What drew you to a career in education?
My passion for education comes from an appreciation for the importance of information as a tool for navigating life. While it may sound a bit cliché, I truly do believe that becoming a lifelong learner is the key to happiness and success. How do we react when we are met with a challenge? What does one do when they find themselves asked to do something they have never done before? Are you able to work with someone from a different cultural background effectively? All of these tasks require the ability to learn something new, find information, and utilize it in the real world. If we can instill curiosity into our students, they will be resilient in the world.
Are you enjoying working with our first class of seniors?
It is such an honor to be able to work with the first BASIS Independent Brooklyn senior class! They have put so much hard work and effort into their academic careers, and I am so excited to see how their academic trajectories will continue. The BIB community is already starting to mourn their departure, but we are simultaneously excited to see them pursue their goals. The group of students representing our first senior class is such a fantastic mix of different skill sets and interests, illustrating how truly eclectic our students are.
Thank you, Dean Wallace, for all you do supporting our students and faculty each day. Our Upper School community is so lucky to have you!