Passing the Baton: New Assistant Head for Middle School

 

 

The saying usually goes "when one door closes, another one opens", but when it comes to these two veteran educators, it's more like two doors opening at the same time. Current Assistant Head of School, Middle School and Activities, Mr. Gary DeMoss, will be returning to the classroom (specifically, our science classroom) this fall, and our Learning Support Coordinator, Mr. Jeremy Adams, will take the reins to lead Middle School as the new Assistant Head while also continuing his student and teacher support as our Director of Learning Support. Other faculty members have stepped up to take on the Activities portion of Mr. DeMoss' former role, leaving Mr. Adams with the time to serve as our Learning Support Coordinator. Both are leaving their positions with much accomplished under their belts and will bring fresh ideas and energy to their new posts.

Mr. DeMoss served as an administrator for Almaden Country Day School for almost a decade, both as an assistant principal and as Assistant Head of School for Middle School and Activities. This meant that not only did he lead an elite group of middle school teachers but also helped with clubs, athletics, after-school activities, and often could be seen making the audience laugh emceeing at performances. He is excited to return to the classroom because "it's a bit like going back home." His career began as a classroom teacher 31 years ago, and it spanned 5 countries, several grade levels, and many subjects. In addition to teaching electives at Almaden Country Day School, he has taught in Berkeley, Louisville, Kobe (Japan), Singapore, Turin (Italy), and Bucharest (Romania) for a total of 22 years. He has an especial fondness for teaching math and science due to the discovery nature of these subjects. "In particular, science is a terrific subject to teach. It is most effectively taught in a hands-on, discovery method, which is very exciting to develop and provide for students. Science is all around us and is endlessly interesting, so it is fun to get students engaged in observing and investigating their world."

Mr. DeMoss will be our grades 3 to 5 science teacher in the fall, and he is delighted to once again connect with children on a daily basis. "I am looking forward to building that teacher/student relationship with my students. I am excited about being part of their discoveries and getting energy from them as they dig into a lab or project. I have missed that daily jolt of energy you get when you have a class full of buzzing, engaged, learning students." While he really enjoyed being an administrator, he realized that he was most engaged and energized when he was working with the students. "I realized that I was missing that regular connection and full bore focus on students and their growth." Under Mr. DeMoss' leadership, we now have a completely revamped emergency protocols including processes for emergency supplies, communications, and emergency response teams. He was instrumental in creating an advisory for middle school called Advocacy, bringing graduation back to campus, and for making the students smile while performing a birthday tradition called "The Birthday Bump."

Mr. DeMoss' is passing the baton to a familiar face both in our classrooms and on the blacktop. Mr. Jeremy Adams has served as our Learning Support Coordinator for over 3 years and will be continuing to lead learning supports as Director of Learning Support, while also serving as our new Assistant Head of Middle School. "I can't wait to see where Jeremy takes the middle school," mused Mr. DeMoss. "His experience as an administrator and educator, his knowledge of how students learn, and his positive energy and collaborative style will allow him to continue to develop the Middle School program with our faculty. It is a very exciting time." The responsibility of managing activities, clubs and school events, which were previously under Mr. DeMoss's purview, will be managed by current staff as Student Life Coordinators.

Before coming to ACDS, Mr. Adams worked in the Oak Grove School District.  During his time there he  was proud to serve as the principal of Sakamoto Elementary School. While principal, he supported his teachers in providing the instruction that led to five of the school's subgroups gaining an average of 100 Academic Performance Index (API) points per group, with three of the groups meeting the API state goal of 800 for the first time. Mr. Adams reflected that this was possible due to the hard work of the students and their families, culturally responsive teaching, more intensive math instruction, as well as strong district support of their special education program. "I was very proud of our work, especially in overcoming our own belief systems about our students and ourselves with regards to learning," Mr. Adams said, smiling.

After his time as a principal, he went on to work for the district as a coordinator in their Educational Services Department organizing and providing professional development on Common Core Math Standards for all teachers in the district. During that time he was also responsible for the directing the Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment (BTSA) program in the Human Resources department.  There, he worked with a group of mentor teachers who helped support new teachers work toward clearing their credentials with the state. 

Mr. Adams' experiences make him an ideal candidate for the position of Assistant Head of School of Middle School and Director of Learning Supports. His recent position as our Learning Support Coordinator enabled him to work closely with teachers, students, and families to develop caring relationships and to develop formalized learning support processes. "I have enjoyed working alongside my colleagues in the classrooms where I witness them go above and beyond to meet students' needs in regards to learning scaffolds and learning extensions. I look forward to continuing to lead these efforts." This past year, Mr. Adams stepped in to act as math support for elementary school as they adopted a new math curriculum called Bridges and did not get to spend as much time supporting curriculum and instruction in the middle school as he would have liked. As our new Assistant Head of Middle School and Director of Learning Support, he is excited to see how the new Advocacy program supports the social-emotional learning of our students in middle school and "more than anything, I look forward to getting back to the middle school classrooms and being a thought partner with my colleagues there."

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