Q&A with the Deans: Emily Gardiner

Emily+Gardiner%2C+previous+English+teacher%2C+senior+dean+and+college+counselor%2C+enters+this+school+year+as+an+Upper+School+Dean.+
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Q&A with the Deans: Emily Gardiner

Emily Gardiner, previous English teacher, senior dean and college counselor, enters this school year as an Upper School Dean.

Emily Gardiner, previous English teacher, senior dean and college counselor, enters this school year as an Upper School Dean.

Lauryn Holden

Emily Gardiner, previous English teacher, senior dean and college counselor, enters this school year as an Upper School Dean.

Lauryn Holden

Lauryn Holden

Emily Gardiner, previous English teacher, senior dean and college counselor, enters this school year as an Upper School Dean.

Maddie Winter, Editor-in-Chief

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When did you start working in education and how long have you been at Poly?

I came to the education field a bit late, after working in finance and film. I went to graduate school around the time I had my second child, and knew right away as a student teacher in the Brooklyn public schools that I was doing work I could commit my life to. I joined Poly as a maternity leave replacement in the English department in 2010, and then I stayed.

What drew you to the dean’s position?

I was loathe to leave the classroom, but I had also been college counselor and dean for several years and loved it, and the new position meant a choice had to happen. Caring about Poly and admiring our spirit of self-examination and improvement were also huge motivations. Change and growth are so important for a school, or any endeavor, to be healthy and succeed. I wanted to be part of the experiment and give all I could to it.

What’s your favorite thing about working with students?

My favorite thing about working with students: working with students. Seriously, that act is what motivates and delights me every day. To name why is a daunting task, but I love learning by getting to know other people, and I treasure the chance to help people notice and nurture their own talent, curiosity, and ambition.

What are your goals for this year?

To pour myself into doing a good job and still lead a balanced life.

How is high school different than when you were our age?

I don’t know how even to begin describing the technology effect. I fear that I may not fully understand it for myself, let alone for today’s high-schooler. My first email addresses were given to me at the same time, by my college when I graduated and my first employer. I communicated with friends and loved ones through letters. I still have some in a box in my basement, and that box overwhelms me with its emotional power every time I so much as think about it. When I left the house — for a night, a weekend, or a month at summer camp — it would have been highly unusual for me to call my parents even once. When I sat down to read, write, draw, do a math problem, watch a movie, the only distractions available came from my own head and the physical environment around me, so I tended to immerse in those things far more than you (or I) do now.

What’s your favorite hobby?

I love to knit. I try to write whenever I can, but working involves so much writing energy that I have trouble finding more.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Listen first, then speak.

What 3 words would your best friend use to describe you?

Hardworking, effusive, and a bit of a know-it-all.