Q&A with the Deans: Nat Smitobol


Liat Weinstein

Dean Nat Smitobol in his office.

Maddie Winter, Editor-In-Chief

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

I’ve been working with high school or college-aged students since 1999.

What drew you to the dean’s position?

I’m attracted to excellence and the Dean position at Poly was an opportunity to be industry-leading in terms of student support. More importantly, I’ve always been attracted to leadership and the Dean role at Poly Prep was another opportunity to lead by example!

What’s your favorite thing about working with students?

Our students are incredibly dynamic and I’m really lucky to be a small cog in their development and growth. I especially love the small teachable moments that this position presents and I take those opportunities very seriously.

What are your goals for the year? 

The Deans’ model gives us the ability to be more proactive in terms of student success. A traditional support model is reactive (to progress reports), and I’m excited to see the positive changes manifest in learning outcomes on campus! From a college counseling standpoint, I’d really like to see our entire class utilize an early plan, whether that is ED or EA.

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

The pressures on students are far greater today compared to when I was your age. Cyber bullying is insidious and a real problem at our schools around the country/world. The internet did not exist when I was in high school, so it was not a problem I had to face. College admission was not nearly as competitive. For example, some of the most selective schools in the country were accepting a third of their applicant pool. Colleges are much more of a “business” now, and there is more of an impetus for schools to be uber-selective, which has ramifications if students don’t understand how the process works. On the flip side, I think the support services for students are far greater compared to when I was growing up. Schools are able to better support marginalized students, specifically those in the LGBT community. This was just not true when I was growing up.

What’s your favorite hobby?

I love trail running and was lucky to have some memorable runs this summer including the Vermont 100 Endurance Run. I also logged some miles at the Leadville 100 and Western States 100 as a pacer this summer.

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

You are what you eat!

What three words would you use to describe yourself?

Loyal, competitive, driven.