Dr. Brookbank Seeks Change

Dr. Christine Brookbank  Photo from Moeller.org

Dr. Christine Brookbank

Photo from Moeller.org

For the first time in seven years Moeller High School has a Dean of Academics, Dr. Christine Brookbank. With her as the new dean, Moeller hopes to improve its dedication to academics.

Moeller expects Dr. Brookbank to work with teachers make sure they have what they need, but mainly her job is a long term process. Dr. Brookbank put it as, “where do we need to go as a school to best prepare for the futures students are going to encounter? What that looks like in and outside the classroom?” Some of her ideas involve more student driven classes, providing students with more opportunity to create and innovate. She believes this process could take a while to change the culture in the classroom around Moeller, but that is what she is working towards by creating opportunities for teachers to collaborate of learn from each other.

Dr. Brookbank went to Our Lady of Lourdes, St. Ursula, John Carroll University, Xavier, and Johns Hopkins. At John Carroll, Dr. Brookbank received her English Major. Her education career started a Seton High School as an English teacher. Later working her way to department chair. While working at Seton, Dr. Brookbank went to Johns Hopkins to receive her Doctorate in Education, which lead to her being hired as the Dean of Academics at Moeller High School.

Dr. Brookbank works with a bunch of faculty on a daily basis, but probably works the closest with Mr. Mike Shaffer. I asked Mr. Shaffer his first impression of Dr. Brookbank and he responded, “She has a knack for always asking the right question and looking at things with a critical eye, but not a judgmental eye”. Basically Dr. Brookbank is smart, and she thinks about all the outcomes: how the school could make an idea better and what the consequences of potential changes could be. Mr. Shaffer and Dr. Brookbank have similar ideas on how to change the culture in the classroom around Moeller.

One of their goals is to balance the content and experiences students receive within each subject. Mr. Shaffer put it as, “if you go through Moeller’s English program, for example, you should come out with this set of identifiable skills. Also, teachers should have similar assessments to compare and say your students did really well on that question, and get feedback well a subject was taught.” Dr. Brookbank, with help from Mr. Shaffer and Mr. Carl Kremer are advising a plan to make Moeller a student driven system with equal opportunity no matter what teacher you draw. They recently held a teacher in-service for teachers and departments to move toward this goal.

Mr. Justin Claypool, an English teacher, states “Dr. Brookbank is allowing the departments autonomy, and that allows us to be part of the creative process.” Mr. Claypool also says, “Other schools don’t have the opportunity to do that.” Mr. Claypool and other teachers seem to like the direction Moeller is going in with academics. Dr. Brookbank’s time has been short, but is already making an impact.

Michael Shipp