Co-written with Elizabeth Cooley and Alex Lee
The Andrean Family welcomes Dr. Tony Bonta as the acting administrator of Andrean High School for the 2016-2017 school year. When he attended Andrean in 1983, he was voted Most School Spirit, and he still believes in that cause. One of his goals as acting administrator for the upcoming school year is to bolster school spirit.
He plans to do this in many ways by empowering the students and helping them believe that this is their school. He is focusing on the positive elements that Andrean students want in their high school experience. “That’s probably my number one goal,” he said. “To help the students have the kind of year that they want to have.” That is one of the reasons he is working to improve the physical condition of the building. There have been a series of renovations taking place during the summer that will continue into the school year to make the school building look beautiful. Dr. Bonta hopes that students will be able to take pride in their school.
Many changes were made to the Andrean campus; from freshly painted lockers and walls to a new networking infrastructure, Andrean is set to inspire students to strive to excellence. “It’s exciting to see all the little things that’ve been done to make this a better environment that hopefully everyone appreciates,” said Mr. Scott Henwood, Andrean’s Assistant Principal of Student Life. “I’m amazed at how a splash of paint here and there can really brighten up our hallways.”
Mrs. Hether Lytton will also be working with Dr. Bonta and Mr. Henwood to improve school spirit and image this year. However, as the Assistant Principal of Academics, she has her own goals too. “I really want us to understand what it means to be a college preparatory school and a school that has great expectations for its students,” she said. “[I also want] to help students meet their full potential.”
In order to accomplish her goals and help students, Mrs. Lytton has been guiding and instructing Andrean teachers. She also oversees the curriculum to make sure that it is following state standards while reasonably challenging its students. As a former teacher, Mrs. Lytton has twenty-five years of experience in teaching high-school English that help her mentor Andrean’s current teachers. Even though she loved being in the classroom, she felt compelled to apply for the assistant principal position two years ago in order to reach more of the student body.
“While I had an impact on students in the classroom, I thought that by stepping outside of the classroom, I would have an impact on more student lives,” Mrs. Lytton said. She hopes to positively impact students this year by providing strong leadership and helping students build good spiritual principles and work ethics.
Another responsibility that Mrs. Lytton has taken on this year is to help monitor student dress code, especially with female students. Even though she is mainly concerned with the school’s academics and curriculum, she sees this as another opportunity to be a role model for female students at Andrean. “[I have a responsibility] to be that mentor, that role model, of how we as women in a learning environment or work environment really should dress for success,” she said.
Mr. Henwood is also taking care that all students follow the dress code and follow the student handbook. “When it comes to discipline, the goal is always that… if we’re getting it to where it’s supposed to be, it shouldn’t be a big part of the day,” Mr. Henwood said. “[The goal is] that I can have more positive interactions with students than negative interactions.” He went on to explain that administrators enjoy disciplining as much as students enjoy being disciplined, but it is necessary for a college preparatory school of Andrean’s caliber.
Mr. Henwood is not only concerned with school rules. “Administrators wear many hats,” he said. Throughout the day, Mr. Henwood may be found walking the hallways, supervising the parking lot, planning CYO events, working on marketing initiatives, or meeting with fellow staff members and students. He is open to serving the Andrean community in whatever way he can. “If, for instance, someone needs help moving tables to set up for an event, I’ll help out wherever I find myself needed.”
While Dr. Bonta is also committed to serving Andrean and empowering its students, he would like to extend his support to the faculty and staff as well. That may mean providing what they need to do their best job as teachers, allowing them to seek excellence in their individual roles. He has already begun that process in hiring new staff members to help with tasks that will allow teachers to focus on their teaching roles. For example, after listening to some things that teachers had to deal with medically, a nurse was hired to handle those issues. “[My goal is] to help create a safe environment for everyone and a bold new future for whatever that may mean,” Dr. Bonta said.
When discussing foreseeable challenges, Dr. Bonta seemed willing to work hard to overcome them. “It’s no secret that Andrean has received some bad press,” he pointed out. However, he sees that as a challenge to the Andrean community to do their best internally so that they can show others externally that they are committed to moving forward in a positive way. Andrean’s motto is “Magister Meus Christus,” meaning “Christ is my teacher.” When we say that, Dr. Bonta said, “It brings out the best in us, so that there’s no time for bullying or belittling… That means every student fulfilling whatever vocation they are called to.”
Dr. Bonta’s influence will be felt in the many tasks he will accomplish as acting administrator, including overseeing the whole school and meeting with the student council, the faculty and staff council, and donors along with various other stakeholders in the community. “It has the day-to-day responsibilities and the big picture responsibilities,” he said. Hopefully, these will go a long way in helping Andrean succeed. After all, that is one of the main reasons Dr. Bonta accepted this position at Andrean. “It was my passion and love for Andrean High School, because I want to help this school become what it is called to be,” he said.