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Todd's trials as dean at Northwest

WED. |5-17-23| FEATURES

     Many people may be familiar with Clinton Todd, a former science teacher who taught for 15 years at Rose. During his time at Rose, he taught earth science, AP Environmental Science, marine science and biology. Todd's last school year at Rose was 2021–2022, and he currently holds the position of Northwest Elementary School's dean of students with a concentration on Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) education. 

     Todd left Rose mainly because he wanted to grow and expand his 


Photo by Kemorah Ullah

knowledge. In order to earn a master's of School Administration, he started graduate school. He had to complete an administrative internship as part of a requirement of his studies. 

     “After 15 years at Rose, I felt that I had a good idea of how high schools function, but I didn’t know nearly as much about the needs of elementary or middle schools,” Todd said. 

     Todd was also recognized as the 2022 Northeast Region Teacher of the Year for North Carolina with a focus on student advocacy. 

     “If I was going to utilize that title to be a good advocate for all students, then I needed to not only understand what it looks like for older students who are about to graduate, but also where they begin,” Todd said. “I needed to see a full representation of a student’s educational journey.”

     With his new role, Todd now assists in managing a few of the systems that enable the school to function every day. 

     “These tasks include assisting with student transportation and discipline, along with helping other teachers with classroom resources and reflecting on their teaching practices,” Todd said. “I also have the opportunity to teach or co-teach STEM lessons with students.” 

     On top of that, he also has the responsibility of making improvements for both students and staff.

     “As a member of the school’s leadership team, I collaborate with others to plan school-wide events and provide input on decisions that may impact everyone within the building,” Todd said.

     Todd was initially nervous about working with younger students since he had spent so much time teaching high school students, but when he first began working with them, the younger students made him feel welcome right away. 

     “Their smiles and hugs now fulfill my spirit every day,” Todd said. “When I see a kid who is upset or in need, I take the time to stop, listen and do what I can to make them feel better, even if it is just allowing them to be heard.”

     Todd has surrounded himself with people he can learn from, which was a big help to him in adjusting to his new role.

     “I am lucky to work with others at my new school who are patient enough to explain how things work and who give me an opportunity to try new things,” Todd said. “They also value my opinions and experience, which has made me feel welcome.”

     Todd believes that leaving Rose was a very difficult choice for him because he cherished the students, curriculum, organizations and his co-workers. 

     “There is a wealth of creativity at Rose,” Todd said. “Students and staff are constantly doing great things, and I miss participating in those activities.”

     Todd enjoyed having the opportunity to teach subjects that he felt were interesting and important to Rose students, while also building relationships with them. 

     “I enjoyed helping students see the best in themselves so that they could do their best for others,” Todd said. “When a student left my classroom, I wanted them to recognize more of their potential than when they entered.”

     Todd believes the biggest difference since leaving Rose has been perspective. 

     “I left Rose as a teacher, but I returned in the role of a parent,” Todd said. “I am a host dad to an international exchange student from South Africa who attends Rose this year.”

     With Todd working his new position, being a graduate student, a new host dad and having additional obligations as a North Carolina Regional Teacher of the Year, he has had less free time than ever before. 

     “I have had to depend a lot on my family to help support the work I am doing,” Todd said. “I’ve also had to be intentional to schedule some time for relaxation or to do something fun apart from professional duties.”

     Todd wants to express his gratitude to the Rose faculty, staff and students and would like to share some advice with everyone. 

     “Be yourself, be kind, show gratitude, decide what your mission is and stick to it,” Todd said.

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