Principles, standard raised with new principal

Emma Raleigh

“A hero is a person who helps someone else. He is always there for me. He never lets me down.”

In the eyes of a child, few things mean more to them than their hero. Principal Lamond Dean’s son’s hero wasn’t Superman or Spiderman, but rather his own father.

“My son wrote that personal hero letter for me when he was in the third grade,” Dean said.

Dean, teacher for seven years and administrator for nine, was described by his son as a hero, and while he’s only been principal of Bryan High for a few short months, he’s already made the same kind of impression on the Viking community.

“He’s a great leader, a strong leader,” administrative assistant Maria Field said. “I use the word great in just the short time that I’ve worked with him. He’s extremely strong and dedicated and focused on what’s best.”

Born and raised in Tyler, Texas, Dean left home for Murray State University in Kentucky, eventually to return to his hometown.

“I came back to become principal at the same school I graduated from,” Dean said. “It was a surreal experience. It was great getting to work with the people in the community who I knew, loved, and grew up with, and then having their children in school.”

But after advancing from principal of the high school to executive director of operations for Chapel Hill ISD in Tyler, Dean felt a void in his new job.

“I was a principal for five years,” Dean said. “I had the opportunity to move up, but I felt like after a month into the job something was missing. The missing thing was students.”

Dean found what he was looking for in Bryan ISD with the high school’s open principal’s position.

“The opportunity came for me to apply here at Bryan and I was fortunate enough to be chosen for principal of the high school,” Dean said. “I had so many roots in the school I was at before, and coming into Bryan was like starting all over.”

One aspect Dean found most impressive at Bryan High was the amount of opportunity the school had to offer the students.

“It’s almost like here, if utilized in the right way, a student does not have to want for anything,” Dean said. “It’s kind of like a big playground with a lot of toys. There’s something for everybody, and that’s one of the greatest assets we have.”

Coming to a new school poses challenges, especially when it’s a transition from a small 3A to a large 5A school. However, when you come in with a plan to improve and work hard, those challenges can be overcome.

“I love the large school, because I love the challenge of getting to work with more kids,” Dean said. “I want our students to own their education, and like I tell our staff, we’re here for them.”

Students are noticing how much effort Dean puts into getting to know them.

“I think he can relate to the students,” sophomore Jackson Ross said. “He’s [already] made an impact on students.”

Along with the new principal came many school-wide changes to encourage community involvement, and students are seeing the positive impacts within the school.

“Students are taking [school] more seriously,” sophomore Kaitlyn Brock said. “I think, as students, we’re going to start to realize that it’s a big world out there, and we need to do what we’re told.”

These changes have their foundations in Dean’s philosophy on education, which is all about putting students first.

“We want to encourage our students to dream,” Dean said. “Education drives our future, and I think the only thing that holds students back is their ability to dream. If you put forth the work, dedication and consistency on a daily basis then all dreams are possible.”

Dean says that anything is possible, and through his own childhood he learned the truth of that statement.

“I’ve been that student who had issues growing up,” Dean said. “I came from a broken home, I grew up poor and without a male role model, except for my grandfather. I grew up with struggles, and I know [what it’s like].”

Dean attributes his successes as an educator to the people in his life.
“I was impacted by several influential men such as my grandfather, my high school coaches and instructors, and a lot of people I met along the way who gave me so much,” Dean said. “As far as my life was concerned, education was an opportunity to give back.”

Field says that Dean’s experiences will help him lead by example and enrich students’ lives.

“We all have a story. Nobody lives in anybody’s 24/7,” Field said. “I think that students are going to relate to him. He will show you that you can come from an environment that was hard and still be successful.”

What makes Dean successful as an educator is not only his strong ability as a leader, but his concern for each student that passes through the halls.

“Compassion equals tough love at times, and it’s not always about a tender heart, but a compassionate heart,” Dean said. “And that’s what we want to do; come through and have that compassion for students.”

Field sees good things in the future of Bryan High with Dean as principal.

“I love the direction we’re going, [and] I see and feel in my heart that great things are going to happen for Bryan High School,” Field said. “Vikings sail on ships; our ship is sailing.”