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Triumph Dean Nicole Graves

Triumph Academy K-3 Dean Nicole Graves spends her days working with students and teachers, but one aspect of the day is her favorite – the smiles.
“Greeting students first thing in the morning is always a fresh start to the day,” Graves said. “Students are excited and smiling, and typically happy to see me.”
Graves spent 10 years as a classroom teacher prior to stepping into the dean role, where she works to provide the best support possible to Triumph teachers.
A typical day usually begins by greeting students and teachers before she moves on to classroom observations, teacher meetings, student check-ins, lunch duty, and answering parent emails.
The dean model allows each grade level wing to have an assigned dean that act like an assistant principal. Grade level teachers have weekly meetings with their dean and parents have a contact should they have questions (in addition to the principal). It is something teachers and parents see as a benefit to enhancing school culture.
“The model helps to break up some of the responsibility, allowing teachers and students to receive more personalized support,” Graves said. “Teachers feel more supported and students know expectations and where they can go for help.”
While overseeing an entire wing can seem daunting at times, Graves makes a conscious effort to keep an open-door policy and strong relationships with her team.
“Communication is key for keeping my team engaged and connected,” Graves said. “We have weekly updates, I walk around and check-in each morning to pass along messages, and our grade-level teams work really well together for not only the betterment of their team but our larger team.”
Although the days can be busy and long, Dean Graves cannot imagine anything else.
“I enjoy being able to work with such an amazing group of people,” she said. “It is a home-away-from-home.”‚Äč