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Branching Out Pays Off for Dean of Excellence Winner

Megan Weissman always saw herself as a teacher, likening it to being a second parent as far back as when she was a camp counselor in middle school.

After spending two years as a second grade teacher at Brooklyn Excelsior Charter School, there was an opening for an interim dean position to oversee and coach kindergarten to second grade teachers. She was apprehensive about making the move, but five years later it’s clear that it has paid off.

Weissman is in her seventh year at BECS
Megan Weissman is in her seventh year at Brooklyn Excelsior.
Weissman, now the dean of lower elementary, won the Dean of Excellence award as part of the National Heritage Academies (NHA) Excellence Awards – a program that honors educators, deans, and administrative teams across the NHA network. Each year, a select group is recognized by their leaders and peers for extraordinary performance.

For Weissman, the reach she has as a dean and the ability to support other teachers has made the switch especially fulfilling.

“Just knowing how much of an impact we can have on teachers and then in turn the impact that they have on students is just such a powerful position to be in,” she said. “There’s so much weight that this position carries to have such positive impact in a school setting. I loved being a teacher. I loved working with my 20 to 25 kids, but now in this position being able to help 250 students, your reach is just so much bigger.”

Other administrators at Brooklyn Excelsior, including Principal Sally Girouard, advocated for Weissman to fill the dean void, in part because of her supportive personality and ability as a problem solver.

Weissman was a 2021-22 school year Dean of Excellence finalist.
Megan Weissman also was a Dean of Excellence finalist for the 2021-22 school year.

“I think the absence of having a dean gave me the opportunity to step up a little more and start supporting my teammates,” she said. “I liked working with the other second grade teachers and helping them and problem solving with them. People will come to me and I’m immediately trying to think of different solutions and different ways to support them.”

Brooklyn Excelsior has outperformed the district for 15 years, and in Weissman’s time as a dean, students have exhibited growth, particularly in aimsweb and numeracy. Teachers have augmented the growth by using data digs to reteach students who are not proficient in a certain standard or are struggling with a certain letter sound or phonics rule.

“That intentional planning is what’s getting us the success that we’re having on our wing data,” Weissman said. “That’s only possible because we’re reteaching skills every week so that we’re closing the gaps that we’re seeing on their fall assessments and their checkups. Every time we take the assessment, we’re getting closer and closer to that goal.”

With each year Weissman grows more comfortable as a dean the data in the K-2 wing gets stronger, helped by the continuity of her and her team. The motto they adhere to is “be excellent on purpose,” reminding them that student success doesn’t come by accident. It involves coaching teachers, listening to feedback, and trying new methods with a goal of improving student growth and proficiency.

Weissman with other school staff
Megan Weissman, middle, dressed as the dragon from the book “Dragon’s Love Tacos” for character day at Brooklyn Excelsior along with Principal Sally Girouard and Dean of Middle School Angela Utsey.

“Megan’s story exemplifies not only a trajectory of personal and professional growth but also the transformative power of a passionate educator dedicated to fostering excellence within the educational community she serves,” Girouard said.
Keep up the excellent work, Ms. Weissman!
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About Brooklyn Excelsior Charter School
Brooklyn Excelsior Charter School is a tuition-free, public charter school in Brooklyn, New York, serving students in kindergarten through eighth grade. It is part of the National Heritage Academies network, which includes more than 100 tuition-free, public charter schools serving more than 65,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade across nine states. For more information, visit

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