Q&A with Assistant Principal Cotton-Herman
By The Dragon Flyer Staff
The following interview was conducted over email and Zoom. Answers have been edited for length and clarity.
Q: When did you know you wanted to come to Duxbury? Was there a certain appeal/aspect of our school community that sold you?
A: When I saw that Duxbury High School was seeking a new Assistant Principal, I began researching the position by looking at the school website. I was immediately impressed by how many opportunities there were for students at DHS and by how involved the student body seemed—from their academics, to co-curriculars, to service, music, drama, and athletics. I was also excited when I came across some of Duxbury’s core values and priorities, as they truly resonated with me personally and were representative of the kind of school where I wanted to work, particularly that Duxbury values putting students first, prioritizing equity and inclusion, and focusing on social and emotional well-being. Having the opportunity to later meet with the interview committee sealed the deal for me—the community members I met were so thoughtful, and it was fun to have a conversation and to witness how strong and collaborative the teams here are.
Q: What was it like planning/preparing for the school year?
A: I actually didn’t start working here until the end of August so I missed most of the planning. That was done throughout the summer. Although when I did start working I was going around the building taking measurements and moving furniture. I mostly helped with some of the last minute and smaller details. I was also able to answer questions that any families had going into the school year. While I was here I was also getting to see and talk to some of the teachers that were in the building because they were in the building before school started.
Q: Seeing as COVID protocols make interacting with students difficult, what strategies have you used to connect with Duxbury students instead?
A: I’m glad you asked that: it’s been on my mind. The biggest thing I try to do is just be present and try different things. You’ve probably seen me in and around the building when students are arriving and during passing times, saying “hello” and “good morning”. Unfortunately, at lunch this year, I spend a lot of time giving reminders to stay separated at lunch but I’d also love to talk to you guys. I am also looking for other ideas. I would love to sit in on some virtual classes and extra-curricular meetings.
Q: As Assistant Principal, are there any areas of the school you would like to strengthen or give a new light? Any co-curriculars you think could rise in prominence or arts programs that can do a little more to get kids to experience the greater art world?
A: I feel that the school could form a wider community with student leader meetings, to see what other clubs and co-curriculars have been doing and how it might work for other clubs too.
Q: You mentioned Duxbury’s wide variety of opportunities for students, which students truly take advantage of, as being an appeal; did you come from an educational background with similar opportunities? How else did you become passionate about community involvement?
A: I was immediately impressed by how many opportunities there were for students at DHS and by how involved the student body seemed—from their academics, to co-curriculars, to service, music, drama, and athletics. I was also excited when I came across some of Duxbury’s core values and priorities, as they truly resonated with me personally and were representative of the kind of school where I wanted to work, particularly that Duxbury values putting students first, prioritizing equity and inclusion, and focusing on social and emotional well-being.
Q: What are ways that you will work to connect with students?
A: I am trying to reach out to students when they are in the building and calling students down during the Academic Support Period to check in. I want to help if a student is struggling in a class. There will be a reason to bring a student down. I am looking for ways to put names with faces. And working to cut back on emails since we’re all on technology so much.
Q: What do you want to accomplish at DHS?A: As a new Assistant Principal at DHS, my focus for the next few months is to really get to know students, staff, and community members and learn from you all what makes Duxbury special, as well as which new initiatives or projects people are excited to undertake. I want students to know that my door is always open and I am looking forward to hearing from them if they have ideas they want to share, or if they just have a question or a concern they’d like to talk over. Duxbury already has so much going for it, and I am looking forward to partnering with everyone in this next exciting chapter.