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Fri, July 19

Stability is Dean's first concern

Jim Dean says he will work to bring stability and success to Mayer Jr/Sr High.

Big Bug News/Andrew Draper

By Andrew Draper

The Big Bug News

The new principal at Mayer Jr/Sr High School wants students and parents to know he is dedicated to student success.

After a string of temporary and interim leaders, the Mayer School Board has selected Jim Dean to assume the principal's job at Mayer High.

"I'm here for students. if you're here for any other reason, you are in the wrong place," Dean said.

Dean brings 33 years as an educator to his new position and said he hopes he can use his experience to help the students succeed and the district to move forward.

"I hope I have taught 33 years, not one year 33 times," he said.

Dean said he will work to restore a sense of stability for the students. He said he wants parents and students to know he is in his new position as a permanent fixture.

"Jim Dean is not going away," he said.

Originally from Indiana, Dean moved to Phoenix in 1974 and completed his education at ASU. He taught Science, Biology, Physical Education and Drivers Ed. For high schools in Scottsdale, in addition to coaching nearly every sport played at that level. Dean came to Prescott in 1988 and taught at Bradshaw Mountain Junior High School before assisting with the campus's transition to a middle school.

Dean's official start date in Mayer is not until July 2, but he is jumping in with both feet. He attended the Girls' volleyball team fry-bread fundraiser on Friday night to meet people and let them meet him.

Dean said he will be a visible principal, interacting with the community and students at every available opportunity.

"I will be very involved and very visible in things at the school and in the community," he said.

Dean said one of his first challenges at Mayer high will be to complete his staff. Several teachers have recently resigned and the district wants those positions filled as quickly as possible. Dean indicated interviews are already under way.

Dean also said he wants to improve the relationship between the school administration and parents. He said he will create a site counsel in hopes of opening a continuing dialog to resolve the school's issues. Dean said the group would be made up of parents, students and teachers as well as community members.

"I want to involve the community in the decision making processes," he said.

Dean said he needs parents to help in the educational process and hopes to be able to foster an atmosphere of cooperation.

"Establishing mutual respect can't be a one way street," he said. "I want the patrons of the district to feel comfortable that they can come in and talk to me and not just when there is a problem."

Dean said his first step in getting to know the students is to invite this year's seniors in for a get-acquainted meeting. He said he wants them to get know him and vice-versa.

"They will be the leaders here, I want to give them the first shot at me," he said.

Dean has a "thinking outside the box" style and plans to use it to give students more ways to get an education tailered to their individual needs. For those students who wish to pursue a college degree, Dean said he supports programs so students can earn dual credits in cooperation with Yavapai College. He also wants to provide equal opportunites for students who want to take their lives in a different educational direction.

"If they want vocational ed, then we need to give them more vocational ed, " he said. "They should have the opportunity to strive as far as they can strive."

Dean said he is sensitive to the fact that parents may be a little apprehensive about having yet another new principal at Mayer and the direction he will move the school.

"I'm sure I'll be under a magnifying glass for awhile, and that's fine," he said.

"But if we get the support right away, in both directions, then we are off to a better start," he said.

(Contact Andrew Draper at 772-2679, ext. 1145 or E-mail


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