January 14, 2023
As the Associate Head of School, Ms. Rose Miller-Sims focuses on how to best support students and faculty to achieve at their highest level in a joyful environment. Ms. Miller-Sims first joined our faculty as a Learning Expert Teacher for the Primary School, because she wanted to be an integral part of a community with a strong culture of learning and curiosity. She loved the BASIS Independent approach to challenging students in ways that inspired autonomy and encouraged creativity.
From teacher to Student Affairs Director, Ms. Miller-Sims has proven to be a star within our network, finding new professional growth across Student Affairs during her six-year tenure at BASIS Independent Brooklyn Upper School.
Ms. Miller-Sims graduated magna cum laude from Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio with a Bachelor of Arts degree. She was a modern language major studying both Italian and French. While an undergraduate, she studied abroad in Padua, Italy. Ms. Miller-Sims later attended the Steinhardt School of Education at New York University where she received a Master of Arts degree in foreign language education. Ms. Miller-Sims received a Master of Science degree in general and special education from Touro College.
“While it is always a difficult choice to leave the classroom, I was excited for the new challenges that moving into an administrative role provided. During my time as a teacher, I saw how crucial having an excellent, supportive admin team is to the success of a school, and I am excited to bring a fresh perspective from my roles in the classroom and years as a Director of Student Affairs to my role as Associate Head of School.”
We asked Ms. Miller-Sims some questions to help our families get to know her better.
Tell us more about the role of Associate Head of School and give us a sense of your day-to-day responsibilities.
In a nutshell, the Associate Head of School (AHOS) supports the Head of School with all the daily tasks, meetings, and projects to help keep the school running well from an academic standpoint. This includes assisting with hiring, training, and ongoing support of faculty and staff; larger scale initiatives; and coordinating with the various departments in administration to ensure we are aligned and collaborating to accomplish our mission of educating students to the highest international standards.
One project near and dear to my work this year has been focusing on faculty experience at BASIS Independent Brooklyn, since teachers are at the heart of our program. We have implemented new strategies to give teachers more of a voice in ongoing faculty and staff development, to create an increased sense of connection between staff members across the school; and to foster a warm, positive work environment for all.
The AHOS role is a dynamic one that changes from day to day, but my main approach is to analyze the areas of greatest need and to make myself available to support there while also maintaining a busy calendar of meetings and classroom observations to always have a pulse on all the amazing work happening at school each and every day.
How have your years at our school—first as a teacher and then in the administration–helped inform your work as AHOS?
I think having a view into the inner workings of the school as both a teacher and as Director of Student Affairs has given me a unique perspective on the BASIS Independent Brooklyn community. In my role as AHOS, it is very important that I try to see any challenges that arise through the eyes of all the constituents of the school- faculty, students, families, and staff- and find solutions that are best for our entire community. While we always want to uphold our academic mission, we also want to make time for connection to foster a sense of belonging and for fun so we all have memories of our time learning and growing together.
What are some of the initiatives you are excited to oversee on campus now or in the future?
The major initiative I am excited about this year is finding new ways for our students and faculty to connect to create a cohesive school community. We have been very focused on creating opportunities for faculty and staff to collaborate, bond, and have an amplified voice at school in the matters that affect them the most. Additionally, we have been crafting new events and fine-tuning existing events to increase student involvement and connection within their own grade and across our school community.
Do you have any goals for our school in the years to come?
One of the main goals I have for our school is to optimize our resources as we shift to being a grade 3-12 school. As a team, we are looking at our schedules, spaces, and extracurricular offerings to see what we can add to our program as we grow. No spoilers (we will be excited to announce anything new once plans are finalized) but there are definitely some opportunities to make our school a dynamic environment that will pique student interest.
What motivated you to pursue a career in education?
I have always gravitated towards working with students younger than me, even when I was still a student myself. My first jobs were as a swim coach and camp counselor, then as an assistant teacher in college, so I got a taste for education from a young age. I have also witnessed first-hand the opportunities that education can provide students who are willing to embrace challenges and pursue academics at a high level.
I can think of no more rewarding experience than guiding and supporting students of all ages to become well-rounded citizens of the world. While I sometimes miss being in the classroom and working with students directly, I know that the work I do each day supports even more students, teachers, and families to have access to an excellent educational experience.
What are some of your interests outside of the classroom, so families can get to know you better?
In my time away from school I enjoy a variety of pursuits. I love learning and speaking different languages, traveling to new destinations near and far, and spending time with my family- especially my partner, Tom, and my dog, Charlie. We can often be found exploring Brooklyn on long walks together, hiking when we can escape the city, or at the climbing gym.
Thank you to Ms. Miller-Sims for nurturing a culture focused on inspiring our students each day.