By Michelle Chance
Maricopa High School will see changes in its administrative staff beginning in the fall. The current dean of students, Brian Winter, will reprise his role as assistant principal beginning in July, after previously serving that position at MHS five years ago.
His new position comes after the June resignation of Jesse Roth, one of the school’s two current assistant principals. Stephen Ybarra is the other assistant principal at the high school.
Winter said he is excited to return as an administrator whose main duties will be dedicated to curriculum and assessments.
New math curriculum will be implemented at the district in July when Winter transitions into his new position.
He said math is always a challenging subject for students, but he hopes the new curriculum “means that we can get the alignment in place so that when students come to Maricopa High School, they have a foundation to better build off.”
Improving test scores and the graduation rate are also on Winter’s agenda. The most recent data from fiscal year 2015 showed the graduation rate at MHS is 69 percent.
In order to increase that number, Winter said he hopes to assist in freshman readiness, to ensure the high school’s youngest students are prepared for the crucial academic years ahead of them.
“If we can get them off to a good start as freshmen, they’ve got a better chance to complete their requirements within the four years,” he said.
In addition to new curriculum, Winter will also be working with a new school calendar beginning in 2018. Among some of the changes include the expansion of fall, winter and spring breaks – extra time he sees as opportunities for students who have fallen behind academically.
“We are hoping to use those intersessions where we have two week breaks to possibly bring students in for re-teach opportunities and maybe credit make-up,” he said.
Winter has 29 years of experience motivating a variety of student populations in different settings and positions. He has worked as a coach, educator, athletic director and administrator – career experiences he said have shaped his philosophy as an administrator.
“I’m a servant leader and I want to be able to be able to provide support to students as well as staff,” he said.
After leaving MHS following his year as assistant principal and Athletic Director for the rams in 2012, Winter worked as an assistant principal and the athletic director for schools in the West and East Valley.
However, something keeps drawing him back to MHS.
“There is something to be said of Maricopa and it has just kind of grown on me for whatever reason,” he said.
Currently, Winter is interviewing candidates to fill his own seat as dean of students for the upcoming school year.
The position is largely responsible for ensuring the safety of staff and students and overseeing the team of four security guards at the school, as well as doing the bulk of student discipline.
“It needs to be a person who is thoughtful, patient and willing to build relationships certainly with students, but also hold them to a high standard from a behavior aspect,” he said.
Winter said he hopes to announce who that person will be by next week.