By Marina Renton
Mr. Seide, a former English teacher at Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School, has joined the AHS staff, filling the assistant principal position vacated by Mr. Phillips. Seide said that he hopes to be “an instructional leader, which means supporting the learning and teaching in the classroom and providing…support to teachers. I see myself as a connector between teachers, students, and parents…We’re also supporting students with character development, [and] wise decision making.”
“The community aspect [of my job] is to reach out to the community, to have the community understand what we’re doing here at AHS, and publicize and celebrate those things and also bring resources into the school,” Seide explained. “All of that will make Andover High School a stronger learning institution.”
The new assistant principal plans to use the times when student decisions take a turn for the worse as an opportunity for students to learn. “My basic philosophy is the idea of restorative justice,” he said. “What that means is, instead of a punitive response to the breaking of a norm…although [the punitive aspect is still relevant]…what I would like to see is a way for a student to reflect on what happened and actually make the situation better. To actually repair that broken bond, so to speak.”
Although this year is Mr. Seide’s first time being an assistant principal, he took on various leadership roles during his time at Cambridge Rindge and Latin. “I was a principal intern at CRLS as well,” he said. “I was [also] asked to lead the tenth-grade English collaboration team…. We would meet and talk about what was happening in our tenth-grade English classes and how to improve our curriculum and our assessments.”
Mr. Seide looks to have good relationships with students, just as Mr. Phillips did before him.
“I’ve been hearing from a lot of students that Mr. Phillips had great relationships with students,” he said. “I really want to make that a priority, to really establish relationships with first the students that are in my alphabetical grouping…but not only those students — everybody. I want to be an adult that people feel like they can share who they are with, get support if they have questions.”
With regard to faculty, Mr. Seide also plans on being supportive. “I also want to back our teachers in what they’re doing,” he said. “If we as a faculty are on the same page about what good classroom management is all about, then my responsibility is to really enforce the classroom rules.”
Mr. Seide is impressed by the breadth of opportunity AHS offers its students.
“I think Andover High School is recognized for really shining when it comes to the opportunities students have here,” he said. “I’m completely impressed by the number of activities, the clubs, the sports program is huge of course. And to me, that is really what makes a high school special, because I think what a student needs at your particular time of development is opportunities to be inspired by things. And it’s not only academic subjects although that’s the primary thing, but just a chance to find a passion…. Even to find within relationships, that moment of inspiration that leads to later success.”
He is also impressed by AHS’s teachers. “I have heard that the teachers here are supremely talented, very knowledgeable in their subject areas, go above and beyond for their students, and Andover has a great reputation academically,” he said.
What might AHS students be surprised to learn about Mr. Seide? “I have a very large dog that maybe someday I’ll bring in: a Bernese mountain dog.” The new assistant principal also likes music, particularly bands such as Arcade Fire, Fleet Foxes, and Mumford and Sons. “If there are any bands that people are in to, they should come talk to me,” he said. “I was such a big Pearl Jam fan I saw them 22 times in concert.”
Mr. Seide would like people to know that he is an experienced educator. He holds two master’s degrees and has been in teaching for over a decade.
He also wants students to know that he hopes to connect with them. “I will hopefully get a chance to have a nice conversation with everybody in the building,” he said.