Ms. Barbakow Named Dean for Class of 2019

Ms. Barbakow teaches freshman Nate Reece the keys to a successful english paper. Photo: Josh Blank

Ms. Barbakow teaches freshman Nate Reece the keys to a successful English paper.
Photo: Josh Blank

Next year, change is coming to the Academy like a breath of fresh air. English teacher Ms. Barbakow will become the upcoming freshman class dean. This news sparked a lot of talk among upper school students, as many are excited that one of their favorite teachers is becoming a dean. Students like Ms. Barbakow because she is extremely caring and always wants the best for her students. “I think that I’m caring, but also pretty stern in a loving way,” said Ms. Barbakow. “It’s very important for me to form great relationships up front that allow for more ease when difficult conversations are necessary.”

In order to become a dean at Pace, one must endure a long process that involves students, faculty and even parents. “We post the job for the faculty and solicit nominations for people who are interested,” said Head of Upper School Mr. Gannon. “Then an interview process follows. There’s a panel of students, teachers and parents, myself and Mr. Assaf. We listen to feedback from all the parties and I make the final decision.”

Before coming to Pace in 2012, Ms. Barbakow spent four years teaching at Ensworth in Nashville, Tennessee. She then went on to teach for four years at Holy Innocents’ and was a dean there. Her time at both of these institutions was invaluable in helping her to become the teacher she is today, and also shaped how she approaches building relationships with her students.

While at Pace, Ms. Barbakow has taught four English classes with freshmen, sophomores and juniors along with coaching JV tennis and leading a Global Ed trip to Japan. According to sophomore Ben Siegel, Ms. Barbakow can be described as a second mother, and someone who is “always there for [him].” This loving quality is one of Ms. Barbakow’s many excellent traits that will guarantee her success as a dean. “Ms. Barbakow is the best example I could name of a teacher who is able to understand that not every student has the same learning abilities, grading each individual more on personal growth rather than strict rubrics,” said sophomore Taylor Upchurch. “I think her attentiveness to the individuals in a classroom will translate to an even larger body of students next year with no difficulty.”

With Ms. Barbakow becoming a dean, the English department will have to make a few changes. A dean can only teach up to three classes so Ms. Barbakow will have to drop one class and someone else will have to pick it up. According to Mr. Gannon, a decision hasn’t been made on whether another teacher will pick up the class or someone will be brought in.

Ms. Barbakow hopes to bring her passion and compassion in the classroom to her deanship.  When asked what she hopes to accomplish with the class of 2019, Ms. Barbakow said, ‘”My mantra is ‘make good choices.’ I hope to instill this idea in [the students]. I want them to aspire to do well academically and extracurricularly, and form good relationships with each other and the faculty. I hope that they leave Pace ready for the next step.”