Meet the New Upper School Director: Ms. Pickett

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Ella Katz For the past year, Latin has been on the hunt for a new Upper school Director. Through a long and tiring process, Latin is excited to announce that Ms. Monica Pickett, currently the dean and director of Global Studies and Morgan Park Academy, will be the new head of the Upper school starting her term of office in July, 2016. Earlier this week I sat down with Ms. Pickett and asked her a few questions so that the school can get to know her better before she officially joins the Latin community. What kinds of things did you hear about Latin before applying? “A lot of great things. Latin seriously has an excellent reputation, in addition to very strong academics and is overall a very well rounded institution. My cousin graduated high school here a little while ago, so I have heard many great things from her. She played water polo, and loved the academics at Latin. I can truly say that Latin had such a positive impact on her life. Furthermore, many conferences and workshops with Latin faculty and administration have taught me about all that Latin has to offer and I truly fell in love with those traits.” What made you want to apply? “Hearing my cousins perspective in addition to her parents’ about what an important part of her Latin is, made me so interested and compelled to reach out to the school so it could also have a large impact on my life.” As you visited the school many times for tours and shadow days, did anything stand out as particularly unique about the students? “Latin really seemed great. One of the times I came in, I had lunch with some welcoming sophomores, which was very fun and was a great way to throw myself into the community right off the bat. Every student that I had lunch with and met, couldn’t stop saying how much they loved the school, and the students seemed very independent and mature. They loved what they were doing. This stuck out to me and was very interesting. Everyone wanted to be here.” Why did you decide to switch schools, as you are currently the dean and director of global studies at Morgan Park academy? “I have been working at MPA for 8 years. I love it and will always cherish the memories I have from my amazing and unforgettable experience at MPA. But in life, change is good and sometimes you feel like you need one. I am ready for a change.” Are there any things that you wish to change or alter under your new title? “ Honestly Ella, there is really nothing that comes to mind. The school is in excellent shape. I strive to support and succeed the mission and philosophy of the school. I am also very enthusiastic to get to know the school, whether that be the bright students, dedicated faculty, or fascinating culture. There is nothing that I have planned to change as of right now.” What are you most excited about or compelled to do in the years to come at Latin? “ Here I will just reiterate my excitement over getting immersed in the community and getting to know the students, faculty and parents.” Are you particularly nervous or on edge about anything for the year to come? “I am not nervous for anything at the moment. I can honestly say that there is excitement all around!” How do you assume Latin differs from your old school? “ Latin and MPA have many similarities and differences. But to start off, the high school at Latin consists of 460 kids (grades 9-12). At MPA, it is 130 kids in the entire high school. That adjustment, in terms of student population, is a huge difference. Furthermore, MPA is on the far southwest side of the city, in an old neighborhood. Latin is in the gold coast, a newer part of the city with a more “active city life” surrounding the area. Lastly, The campus at MPA is not enclosed like Latin, but it is open like a small liberal arts college. That is a huge difference that will take some getting used to.” How do you think the two schools will be similar? “ Through my 8 years at MPA and many visits to the Latin School, I have found that All the students at both schools get so excited about project week! I am actually going to Thailand with some students this spring on a community service trip. The students and I are very excited about the trip and I know all Latin students and faculty are excited about theirs! Additionally, both schools are PreK-12 and both Latin and MPA were founded in the 1800s.”]]>