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Responsibilities of the Dean of Students at a Private High School

by Dr. Kelly S. Meier, studioD

The dean of students at a private high school is a key player on the administrative team. In 2010, the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated the annual median salary as $86,970. If you are interested in this position, a college degree, teaching experience and strong organization and communication skills are critical. Focused on student development and success, this position has a wide range of responsibilities.

Extra-Curricular Activities

Facilitating learning opportunities outside of the classroom is one of the main responsibilities of a dean of students. This can include oversight of clubs and organizations, helping students begin new groups and encouraging student involvement. A dean may also verify that students meet academic and conduct standards necessary for participation. In some cases, the dean of students oversees the safety of school events and initiates leadership development for the student body.

School Policies

Serving as a dean of students requires the ability to develop and maintain school policies. The dean also has the opportunity to use school policies to help students with career and vocational development. For example, if a student wanted to work off-campus or job shadow in a local business, the dean would issue a work permit to make this possible. Related to school policy development is working with staff to create ethical standards for employment and student relationships. Ethical principles speak to the integrity of the educational process that fosters a safe and positive learning environment for all.


Student rights and responsibilities are at the core of a positive educational environment. The dean of students has primary oversight for the system that addresses behavioral issues. For example, if a student displays repeated, inappropriate classroom behavior, the dean of students would respond. Working with students who are having academic difficulty and attendance problems is also a part of a dean’s portfolio. This requires the ability to help students, teachers and parents work together to help students grow and develop.

Communication Conduit

Strong communication skills are critical to success in this position. A dean often works with the Parent Teacher Association to plan events and review school needs. Another main task of this position is to communicate with parents about key information such as school schedules, meetings and events. Finally, the dean must be able to meet with parents to address issues and problems. Maintaining open communication lines demonstrates a commitment to excellence and student success.

About the Author

Dr. Kelly S. Meier is a professor and college administrator for a large public institution in Minnesota. She received her undergraduate degree from Western Illinois University and her master's degree and doctorate from Minnesota State University, Mankato. She has published more than 15 books on education, group development and diversity.

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