By Luke Stone ’20
After longtime faculty member and Dean of Students Joe Coleman decided earlier this fall that this year would be his last at Woodberry, the school began an internal search for his replacement. Several months later, they believe they’ve found their man: history teacher and Director of Outdoor Education Mr. Nolan LaVoie.
“Nolan is in his seventh year here at Woodberry, and serves as a third form history teacher, director of outdoor education, and head coach for our mountain biking and climbing teams,” Dr. Byron Hulsey said in a statement emailed to the News Folder. “His wealth of experience, his total commitment to the boys, and his instinct for high-level planning and visioning are perfectly suited for the work he’ll take on in his new role.”
This transition in leadership will bring significant changes to the very structure of the Dean of Students Office. Mr. Ryan Alexander will become the Dean of the Third and Fourth Form and Mr. Greg Guldin will serve as the Dean of the Fifth and Sixth Form. Alexander is in the midst of his second year as Dean of Residential Life while Guldin teaches chemistry and directs the Swimming and Diving Program.
“I think that this new system will enable more collaboration between the student body and the Dean’s Office,” Guldin said. “It will give students the opportunity to have more of a say in the type of culture that we create.”
Although Woodberry has little experience with a system like this in recent memory, LaVoie does. Prior to his arrival, he served as freshman class dean at the nearby Blue Ridge School.
“This structure is consistent with the strategic plan and our vision of the school experience as separated into two chapters, one for our younger boys and a second for our older boys,” Hulsey said.
Despite their promotions, Guldin will continue coaching the swim team, and Alexander will continue teaching one section of English and coaching for one trimester. LaVoie will begin his tenure as Assistant Headmaster and Dean of Students on July 1, 2019.