Q&A: Doug McCallister, Dean of Students

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Mr. Doug McCallister, Dean of Students, is sitting at his new desk in the office. This year he began his new position as Dean of Students.

Emily Mannino

Q:  How long have you been working here at Lake Central?

A:  Since 2005, so I think this is my eleventh year.  

Q:  How do you feel about your new position as a dean?

A:  It’s challenging. It’s different every day, so that is kind of unique. We are trying to convince kids that we are the ones that deal with consequences.  We really are here to help kids and help them understand that high school is just a small part of who they are going to become.

Q:  How is it different compared to being in a classroom?

A:  If you came to me for help, I would help you with math. If you come to me for help here, I can help you with more than math, or I can point you in the right direction. As a teacher you can help people in your subject area, and as a principal you help them solve other problems. Whether that’s going to see a counselor, lining them up for tutoring, or whatever else comes our way. As a teacher, you are probably more restricted on how much you can help.

Q:  What do you miss most about teaching in a classroom?

A:  Seeing the person’s look in their eyes when they finally get it.

Q:  What made you want to apply to be a dean?

A:  I think we’re always looking for new challenges. I’ve been in education for over 25 years. I thought that I could help the administration that we have here.

Q:  What are some new responsibilities you have now versus before?

A:  Well, we all have certain letters of the alphabet. We all have certain subject areas. I have bus duty.  I’ve never done bus duty before. Early on that was kind of overwhelming, but I’ve gotten used to that, and the bus drivers have been great to work with. I have two lunchroom supervisions a day, so that’s been a little different.  With this job, you never know what’s coming, so you just kind of adapt and help out as best you can.  Sometimes the assistant principals need help, sometimes the guidance department needs help, sometimes Mr. Begley or the student resource officers needs some help.  I just kind of get myself in the direction where I can help somebody out.

Q:  What are some challenges you’ve faced so far this year?

A:  A lot of times I deal with sharing bad news. I have to call parents, so that’s a challenge. I will say that  95% of the phone calls I make, the parents are gracious and appreciative. When you have 3300 kids, that is a challenge in itself because we’re trying to get all of you through this place and moving on with your lives. The challenge is that this is a big place that has small problems and sometimes big problems every day. Meeting the needs of our students is probably our biggest challenge.  

Q:  What are some of your favorite things about your job?
A:  Well, I’ve been hanging out in a high school for over 25 years. This is my element. I love hanging out with kids. My son is a sophomore at Crown Point, so I learn things as a dad just on how I handle things here. I just think Lake Central is an awesome place because it’s huge and it provides opportunity for everybody if they choose to take advantage of it. The other thing that I really like about this place is the fact that I think we have really strong teachers in the classroom. What kids need to realize is those teachers are willing to help.  If they would ever learn that, they would probably be even more successful than what they are already.