The Paly Voice

Interview with Dean of Students Adam Paulson

Saba Moussavian, Author

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Dean of Students Adam Paulson talks with students during lunch.  Paulson was recently chosen by a committee of teachers and administrators as Paly's Dean of Students/TOSA.  "He is student-centered, experienced, has a great sense of humor and is an all-around great guy," Principal Kim Diorio says in her to staff.

Dean of Students Adam Paulson talks with students during lunch. Paulson resigned as principal of Arundel Elementary School in San Carlos to accept a position at Palo Alto High School. “He is student-centered, experienced, has a great sense of humor and is an all-around great guy,” Principal Kim Diorio wrote in an email to staff.  Photo by Saba Moussavian.

The Paly Voice sat down with new Dean of Students/Teacher on Special Assignment Adam Paulson to learn how his time at Palo Alto High School is going so far. Paulson takes the place of Craig Tuana, who is now an assistant principal at Lynbrook High School.

The Paly Voice: Describe yourself in three words.

Adam Paulson: I would say I am dedicated, passionate and funny. That’s what would describe me. I have a good sense of humor.

TPV: What are your first impressions of Paly?

AP: Well, you know, I think it seems like a really great place to go to high school. Students, the facilities and the grounds – they’re just tremendous. And from all the students and faculty I’ve already talked to, it just seems like a place that has a lot of pride and school spirit, so I’m excited about that.

PV: What are you looking forward to this year at Paly?

AP: I think mostly just trying to find that pulse. I’m very much into school culture and the way students are thinking and feeling, really just trying to talk with as many students and student organizations and athletic organizations as I can so that I can get a pulse for what Paly is about and what the school culture is all about, you know? And try and find ways where I can interject and collaborate with students and teachers.

PV: If you were a crayon, what color would you be, and why?

AP: Trying to think back to some of those funky Crayola colors. Maybe a magenta-something that doesn’t — that has a unique identity – is it blue? Is it green? I’m a musician myself, too, so I like to express myself, and magenta is I think one of those mysterious colors.

PV: What instruments do you play?

AP: Anything with strings, you know, guitar, bass.

PV: Who’s your favorite artist?

AP: Now that would have to be a whole other interview, right? (laughs). You know, I play anything from classical to heavy metal. Elvis Costello is one of my favorite musicians, just to name one.

PV: As “dean of students,” what are students likely to see you doing around campus?

AP: Obviously, as a school administrator, I am going to have the administrative part of that. I’m going to be doing, you know, leading or just being a part of aspects of managing of the school, but you guys don’t want to hear about that, right. On the student side of it, you know, you’re the dean, so you really want to interact with students, and it goes back to that, you know, finding the pulse at Paly and just getting to know what student – what does it mean to you guys, to be a student here, and how can I support and then help those efforts. So, the managerial side of it’s very different than the student-centered part of it. Just try to be visible, you know, talk to you guys a lot, see what’s on your mind.

PV: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

AP: I’ve always been fascinated with Easter Island, if you’ve ever heard of that place. It’s off of the coast of Peru. I don’t know about living there though, that might be tough. That’s a place I’ve always been fascinated with and would want to check out, so maybe I’d go with that.  I’d just hang out on Easter Island and be reflective, then I’d come back to Palo Alto, right. (laughs).

PV: What would students be surprised to find in your refrigerator right now?

AP: That’s actually a really good question. I would say a homemade chicken broth, how’s that sound? I’m quite a cook and a chef, and I like to make stocks and broths, so that might be something that isn’t a normal, everyday item.

PV: What is something that has surprised you about Paly so far?

AP: I think one thing that has surprised me a lot is the history actually that a lot of people have. A lot of teachers I’ve talked to and parents during Back to School Night talk about when they went to Paly, especially the teachers, you know, “I’ve been here for 20 years!” or “30 years” and “I was a student here at Paly, too!” Usually you might have a couple teachers, but it seems like a lot of the teachers I’ve talked to have a past, which matters on how the school culture is built here.

 

 

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