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Starting next school year, English Master Dr. Cunningham will assume duties as the new Dean of Faculty at Lawrenceville. Cunningham will replace Dr. Kevin Mattingly, who will become the school’s Director of Teaching, Learning, and Educational Partnerships after eight years as Dean.
In his new role Cunningham will oversee all faculty personnel issues as well as specific matters regarding the development and implementation of the curriculum.
“[The role includes] everything from overseeing the hiring process to coordinating maternity leaves to celebrating retiring teachers,” explained Cunningham, a Lawrenceville English teacher for the past nine years. “But, in general, the Dean of Faculty’s principal purpose is to support the faculty in the work they do here–in classrooms, on playing fields, in Houses.”
Among the things that Cunningham will be focusing on as the newly appointed dean is an assessment of how technology plays into the learning process here at Lawrenceville. Cunningham emphasized how “iPads, blogs, wikis, the internet, etc.–these things provide both opportunities and challenges, and we need to think carefully about how we use these tools to accomplish our educational goals, about how, for example, we strike a balance between the crucial experiences and conversations we have around the Harkness table and the exciting conversations, opportunities, and experiences available on-line.”
With the new position comes a host of new opportunities for Cunningham to become even more involved in the campus life, something he has eagerly anticipated. “The most exciting part of the job for me will be the opportunity to work with the faculty here at Lawrenceville–the chance to get into people’s classrooms or out on playing fields to see them do what they do best,” said Cunningham. I’ve lived here at Lawrenceville for almost twenty years, but this is such a busy place that we often don’t know as much as we should about what’s happening in other parts of the School. I’m excited to learn about all the great things that people do in their classrooms every day.”
Cunningham believes one of the assets which will enable his success is his “broad experience of the really rich and varied life that faculty lead here”. While he started his tenure at Lawrenceville in a part-time position in Bunn Library, Cunningham has since been an integral part of the English Department, Kennedy Housemaster, advisor, coach and as of this year, Chair of the Disciplinary Committee. His numerous positions, facilitating his immersion into almost every aspect of school life, have, he believes, taught him the value of a fostering community as tightly knit as Lawrenceville’s. Cunningham notes that he is particularly interested in understanding more about “Lawrenceville as a community where we all not only teach and coach and Housemaster or advise–but also as a place where the faculty live their lives, raise their children, form the friendships and relationships that sustain them. I want to think about ways to create and support community.”