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Dr. Lewis, Interim Director at Large

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Without a doubt, Maggie Walker is undergoing an important transition. Upon the departure of Dr. McGee, previous director of the institution, Maggie Walker appointed Dr. Jonathan Lewis to serve as interim director while the board attempts to secure a permanent official. The Jabberwock ran an interview with the interim director before he stepped within the four walls of the school- and now, as he has become accustomed and intimately aware of the the educational environment here, The Jabberwock has spoken with him in person.

 

When Dr. Lewis first arrived at Maggie Walker, he knew that it was going to be extraordinary. He noticed that each member of the student body possessed unique interests and a certain degree of freedom that he was not exposed to, having come from a fairly traditional school setting. It took some time to become aware of school operations and to understand why the school’s policies worked so well. Eventually, Dr. Lewis came to realize that students at Maggie Walker are intensely focused on what they’re doing and focused on being successful in and out of academia.

 

Of course, Dr. Lewis’ previous experiences have aided him in shaping a comprehensive view of Maggie Walker and in forming his outlook on what can be altered. He has been working with young adults for a long time, beginning with his experience as a youth director in 1973- over 40 years ago. Dr. Lewis has been fortunate to accumulate an array of various professional activities throughout his lifetime, and because his eyes have been opened to many contrasting perspectives on school, over the years he has managed to shape a sort of organizational philosophy. Dr. Lewis believes that the most applicable principle within his experiences is that all young people mature at different rates. He believes that although Maggie Walker students are intellectually driven and focused, every student matures at a different level and this disparity in degree of maturity must be respected.

 

Dr. Lewis is an interim director whose main responsibility is to prepare the school for a new permanent director. He does not believe that it is appropriate for him to make any all-encompassing changes to operations at Maggie Walker, yet there are several important measures that he would like to take, especially in the area of student safety and security. Dr. Lewis believes that Maggie Walker’s campus is rather open and free compared to the campuses of other schools- therefore, he has deemed it necessary and important to security that the Bluestone lobby is locked during the day. He has urged that the school provide additional security measures after school during events. Second, Dr. Lewis is attempting to make small structural corrections such as limiting the number of announcements in the morning and trying to remove afternoon announcements. This is part of his desire to cut back on distractions to the teacher-student work environment, and provide teachers with an educational environment that is unencumbered and undisturbed. Dr. Lewis considers freedom to be both an asset and a liability, and the changes he has made and plans to make will attempt to secure an equilibrium.

 

Overall, Dr. Lewis would like to see compromise within the Maggie Walker community. Because there are so many stakeholders in school proceedings with varying perspectives, Dr. Lewis sees his main challenge as bringing these people together. He wants each constituent group to know that the community must work together, find common ground, and be good to each other- for everyone’s interest is that students are successful.

 

So far, being interim director has been a learning experience for Dr. Lewis, but he has enormous respect for the institution of Maggie Walker and is very impressed. Maggie Walker is an outstanding place for young people to come and learn, providing a great deal of intellectual freedom. Here, the heart of learning is exploration, students are able to make mistakes with a level of comfort, and the school goes above and beyond to provide flexibility that allows for students and teachers to create an intellectually stimulating environment. Dr. Lewis is grateful for the opportunity that he has been given to be interim director, and he looks forward to the remainder of his term.

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Dr. Lewis, Interim Director at Large