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Clyfe Beckwith named Dean of Studies

Appointment to begin July 1

March 08, 2017 Beckwith—Clyfe Beckwith, a 25-year veteran of the Phillips Academy faculty, will be the next dean of studies. Making the announcement this week, Head of School John Palfrey cited Beckwith’s collegiality, record of success and contributions to the academic and residential life of the Academy. “Clyfe has served with distinction as a department chair, cluster dean and assistant dean of scheduling. As faculty indicated during the search process, Clyfe is well qualified in many ways to serve in this important role alongside our talented colleagues in the office of the Dean of Studies.”

Beckwith, who holds a PhD and MS degrees in physics from Boston College and a BA degree from Dartmouth, has served as an instructor in physics, German and mathematics during both the traditional academic year and has instructed for Summer Session and PA's (MS)2 outreach program. He served as physics department chair from 1997 to 2005. His residential experience includes positions as a house counselor, cluster dean and complement. As head coach of girls’ and boys’ varsity volleyball since 1998, his teams have enjoyed great camaraderie and 19 winning seasons. He and his wife, Mary, live on campus and have two sons, Benjamin ’15 and Jakob ’17. Also beloved members of the community are the Beckwith’s Bernese Mountain dogs, Babe and Hazel.

In addition to the joy of raising a family on campus, said Beckwith, he is “energized by contact with students in the classroom, in the dorm and in all athletic and performance areas. I have deep respect and admiration for the excellent teaching that faculty accomplish in these areas.”

Grateful for the support of colleagues as he takes on this new role, Beckwith is motivated by the prospect of teamwork to advance Andover’s academic priorities. In addition to crafting a new schedule and calendar, he also put forth possible topics for consideration by the faculty, including revision of diploma requirements and discussion of the effects and consequences of grades.

Beckwith’s appointment, effective July 1 for a six-year term, comes as current Dean of Studies Patricia Russell prepares for her new role as interim executive director of the Mastery Transcript Consortium (MTC).

The consortium’s mission is to change the college preparation model for public and private high schools across the country. The MTC seeks to develop and distribute an alternative model of assessment, crediting and transcript generation. This model calls for students to demonstrate mastery of skills, knowledge and habits of mind by presenting evidence that is then assessed against a school’s institutional-specific standard of mastery.

“This new role presents a unique opportunity for Trish to apply her experience and passion for secondary education toward the advancement of a promising national initiative,” said Palfrey. “The MTC is fortunate to have her visionary leadership as its guide.”

Beckwith’s promotion to dean of studies means that a search will soon begin for his successor as assistant dean of scheduling. Information on that process will be forthcoming.

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