Mr. Dunn, Latin's Fresh Perspective

Mehr Singh Editorials Editor Latin has gone through many changes this year. However, the most significant and anticipated is our new head of school, Mr. Dunn. Students and faculty are excited to meet Mr. Dunn and get to know him. Likewise, Mr. Dunn has made an extra effort to talk with students and teachers personally. He’s greeted students in the front lobby, attended gatherings, supported sports events, has individual meetings with teachers, already knows the names of many students, and is even attending every class potluck! As junior Tybie Geelerd said, “ It’s great to have a fresh perspective at Latin. Mr. Dunn is so friendly and relatable. He’s the perfect fit for Latin.” Mr. Dunn has taken a huge initiative to understand Latin, and now its time for the students to take that same initiative with him. He was happy to answer some questions about himself, and is excited for students to visit him.   Q: How are you liking Chicago? A: I’m loving Chicago and everything about the city and the school. My family and I love the neighborhood we live in. We’ve visited many of the museums. You know, the arts and sports in Chicago is just great and I love the lake being nearby. I love going out to eat and checking out new places around the city.   Q: Why did you choose Latin? What attracted you the most to Latin? A:  I liked what I read about the school- the reputation and the programs it had to offer. I liked the people I met when I came to interview at the school and the fact that it was in the city was appealing. I think, I was able to get a good sense of what the school is about. One of the best things about Latin is its association with high jump- it really shows the school cares about things going on around the city and the importance of education. I also love that Latin’s a place with a potential to do more.   Q: How have your first weeks at Latin been? A: Great! I have enjoyed meeting people- the faculty and the students. I’ve been to some of the class potlucks, and I’ll be going to all throughout the year. For me, it’s about spending the year getting to know people.   Q: In your first weeks at Latin you seem very personable and have made a great effort to know a lot of the students and teachers. Has that been your philosophy? A: Exactly. I work better when I know people personally. I feel more comfortable. And, I think it’s the people who help define a school, so getting to know everyone will really help understand what people want.   Q: What do you think of Latin so far? A: Well, its more complicated than I thought it was! It’s a pretty intense place. And, there’s an excitement and passion about that. It’s nice to have people passionate about what they do.   Q: What makes you proud to be Latin’s head of school? A: The pride in the people. People love this place so much, and they chose me to be the head of school. I’m honored and humbled  by that. People have great hopes and expectations which makes me feel great- along with the pressure that comes with it.   Q: What are the improvements you want to make at Latin? A: Improving our reputation in the community as a school is important. People seem to think of Latin as an elitist place- I don’t see that as the defining characteristic of our school. We are an elite school with great education, great faculty, and great students. But, when people start making it sound like we are elitist, changes need to be made. I want to know what people are passionate about to figure out what needs to be changed. As you commit to some things, you have to leave other things out. And, I want to make sure I get a good understanding  about Latin and the changes people want before I decide what to do.   Q: What do you want students to know about you? A:  I am a person you can talk to. I’m approachable. I like all kinds of kids- geeky, athletic, artistic, whatever it may be. I miss teaching and being around kids, so come find me!   Q: What do you want to  know about the students? A: I like to know what people like- that’s what defines them sometimes. When kids have ideas and are passionate about something I’d like to know that.   Q: Have you been to any Latin sports events? A: Let’s see..I’ve seen girls’ water polo, volleyball, soccer, middle school cross-country. I like sports. And, I hope to see all the fall teams before the season is over. There’s a need for people to go out and support each other. And, I love the good sprit the kids have.   Q: Favorite sports team? A: Because I’m from Boston, I tend to like the Boston sports teams. I do root for the teams in the city I’m living… except when Boston comes to town. Then, I root for the Red Sox, Celtics, or Patriots.   Q: Favorite color? A: Purple. Actually, my high school colors were orange and blue too, so I like orange blue.   Q: Favorite food? A: Jamaican food. I’m a food person, I’ll try anything! The cafeteria food here is awesome- the best lunch service I’ve had in a school.   Q: Favorite book? A: Catcher in the Rye. I also love A Yellow Raft in Blue Water. It’s the same story told from varied perspectives- I like that notion about how it’s written. I also like Phantom Toll Booth- it’s a kids’ book, but can be for adults. I tend to read a lot of nonfiction on theories for schools, that’s what I spend most of my time reading now.   Q: Favorite newspaper? A: New York Times- I don’t read it everyday though.   Q: Favorite T.V. show? A: I don’t watch a lot of TV. I end up watching remnants of what my daughters are watching…Wizards of Waverly Place, I think. I watch ESPN all the time, and I used to watch a show called Medium- like the CSI type shows.   Q: Favorite Movies: A: Inception, Source Code, Shutter Island, Butterfly Effect- movies where you are like “ wow I gotta see that again.” There’s a movie called Memento that’s like that, and I almost want to watch it backwards.   Q: Favorite place to visit? A: I love to visit Jamaica. A lot of my family is there, but I don’t go back as often as I would like to- life gets too busy. When I travel though, I like to go places that get me away from the familiar.   Q: Favorite artist or band? A: I love all kinds of music. I don’t have one band that I like. I like the Black Eyed Peas- their concert was good. My wife recently dragged me to see New Kids on the Block. I like Rap, R&B, some classical music, 70s, 80s. I like a mix- music reminds me of the different people I’ve known.   Q: Something you always have with you? A: My wedding ring. And, this ring that my wife gave me when we were dating- it was the first piece of jewelry anyone gave me. My two sisters passed away tragically- I always have them in my mind.   Q: During the year what are you looking forward to? A: The feeling of having a full year under my belt. I’m looking forward to knowing the rhythm and gaining an understanding for the school, and meeting so many new people. It feels like I’m on vacation a bit- it’s all different. I’m excited to gain a good understanding about Latin and having the feeling of “ok I got it.”]]>