SBA Welcomes Paul Dolan as New Academic Dean
I'm excited to announce that we have concluded the search for the Academic Dean position. We received over 80 highly qualified applications from around the country for the position, which demonstrates the strong reputation and programming SBA has developed. We are honored to welcome Paul Dolan, an accomplished educator and athlete, to our community. Please find his bio below.
– Ryan Aldrich
I grew up in Massachusetts in a small city north of Boston called Woburn. Seeking the best athletic experience--being in New England that meant hockey--and the best academic experience available, I went to the Belmont Hill School, an independent school that produces Olympians and thought leaders. There, I had the opportunity to try lacrosse for the first time and fell in love. By the end of my time at Belmont Hill, my hockey career was ending, but I was excited about the idea of playing lacrosse at Division III powerhouse Ohio Wesleyan University. An injury ended my collegiate career before it began, and I staunched the wound by redoubling my efforts in the classroom. I was learning to appreciate the twists and turns that make life rich and rewarding.
I was eager to return to New England for graduate school and attended Boston University. There, I met the love of my life while playing summer evening intramural softball for the English department in a league hosted by the BU athletic department. While studying on Commonwealth Ave, I also reignited my competitive fires on the BU cycling team. I raced on the road in the Eastern Collegiate Cycling Conference and as a category 3 USCF racer while pursuing my PhD, teaching survey courses in the English department at BU, earning writing and teaching fellowships in the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of General Studies, and working at Upward Bound and The Steppingstone Foundation, organizations that help underrepresented populations in the city of Boston access higher ed. I knew a return to the independent school world was inevitable and left BU for a full time teaching position after completing my oral exams thinking that I would finish the PhD on nights, weekends, and summer breaks. Life has taken me elsewhere.
I married Emily Dolan in Rochester, NY the July before we both began teaching English at Canterbury School in New Milford, CT. While coaching sometimes as many as 3 varsity sports and running a dorm of 50 freshman and sophomore boys, I rose through the ranks at Canterbury to the level of department chair and served on various committees including a strategic planning committee on faculty life, a 21st century skills committee, and a committee I founded and led on global education. Our time at Canterbury was busy and fulfilling. In 2012, we were awarded the Duffy Family Travel grant which funded a trip to Athens, Delphi, the Peloponnese, and Crete and gave us the opportunity to celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary in Nafplio a world away from the chairlift at Killington where I proposed to her! We made lifelong friends and left in 2015 with two children who were born in New Milford, Buzz (9) and Jane (7), a rescue dog, and two rescue cats.
After kids, it became harder to justify the risks I needed to take on the bike to be competitive in criteriums, so I hung up the wheels for a pair of running shoes. With all of my cycling fitness, I was competitive in local road races. I ran a Boston Marathon Qualifying Time at the Philadelphia Marathon. As a runner, my proclivity for training like a cyclist caught up with me, and years later, I continue to nurse overuse injuries. These days, I am forever chasing enough fitness to run another BMQT.
I have enjoyed three lovely years at Miss Porter’s School, which have opened up new and unexpected paths to leadership culminating in the exciting opportunity I am embarking on this summer as I join the SBA community. In my time at Porter’s, I developed a nationally recognized faculty growth program, which I presented on at the 2017 National Association of Independent Schools annual conference and have led innovative initiatives in experiential learning in the work I have done directing the senior January term team. This winter, I placed seniors in internships in New York and Washington, D.C. including places like the Materials Research Science and Engineering Center at NYU, Tiger Foundation, the National Organization for Women, the Veteran’s Administration, and the White House to name a few. In 2016, Emily and I were recognized with the Craven’s Family Travel grant, which funded summer travel to Stockholm, Prague, Budapest, and Split and Dubrovnik, Croatia. At Porter’s, I have made countless memories and, to be sure, have derived the most satisfaction from my work with the students. In 2017, Emily and I were honored to receive the yearbook dedication in just our second year on the faculty. I have little doubt that when I look back on my career, I will view this as one of my most rewarding achievements.
I am excited to meet all of you and establish vibrant learning partnerships in the classroom, on the hill, and in the community. Please be in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to reach out.