Your name: Dr. Brian Alm
Your Title / Role: Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources & Leadership
MyRye.com: Describe your role on a day-to-day basis.
My role is to support the essential functions of personnel management in the district, including the hiring process, recruitment, certification, training & staff development, performance evaluation, retention, morale, and legal matters pertaining to employment. The leadership component of my title entails supporting the professional learning and growth of our leadership team.
What drew you into the field of education?
I came into education with a pure growth mindset, thinking of myself as an education “reformer.” Coming from a family of educators, I had strong opinions about the ways in which the public education system could and should improve. That belief is still a strong part of who I am today.
What lessons did you learn early in your career that you still apply today?
Students first. Every decision, if grounded in what is right for students, is the right decision. Similarly, people come first. This is a business that is all about building and maintaining positive relationships. Every single member of our organization is important as an educator – from the cafeteria cashier to the custodian to the building secretary to the classroom teachers, all those who work with our students directly or indirectly need support to nurture the positive growth of our students.
How did you find your position in Rye and why did you decide it was the best place for you?
The strong traditions, community pride, and support of schools in Rye was certainly a big draw, but I was also attracted by the relatively new leadership team, recent instructional innovations, and history of educational excellence.
What are your three top priorities for the 2021-22 school year?
- Be intentional about the design and completion of my entry plan. This involves carefully studying our system, culture, and community to develop a strategic action plan for my department that accurately prioritizes our most important needs.
- Build strong relationships with all of the constituent groups in our learning community. Make sure to listen and learn to best inform any immediate actions or shifts in practices that might be needed in the future.
- Keep the socio-emotional needs of our students and educators at the forefront. No single study or datapoint can capture the cumulative stress and anxiety-provoking nature of the last several years (pre-pandemic included). Schools are at the center of civilization in modern society, and with that comes complicated challenges for building, maintaining, and nurturing a safe learning environment for all.
Over the last year, people have followed the recent Black Lives Matter and LGBTQ+ activity and news in Rye and around the world. What is your prescription for students, teachers and staff? How can the schools make the best positive contribution?
There is no one prescription for any one community. Our job as educators is to bring our students, educators, and community-members together to identify and define our needs. The Rye solution will need to be the RYE solution. In doing so, we will need to be sure to listen to all voices, so that no single voice is lost among the loudest.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in a suburb/semi-rural area north of Syracuse, NY. While there was little ethnic diversity, there were striking socio-economic disparities among the population there. This taught me to relate to people from all walks of life. I also lived in Manhattan on the upper west side for 7 years, which further shaped my global competencies.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I have quite a passion for the outdoors. I enjoy watersports, the woods, the ocean, and all of nature in-between. We have two high-energy dogs that require a lot of attention and training as well as two teenaged children that sometimes appreciate the same. My wife is a 4th grade teacher and we try to avoid “talking shop,” but it is often unavoidable. I learn a lot from her.