Humans of Baldwin: Chemistry, Leadership, and Education

Mrs. Davis enlightens the minds of Baldwin students through her chemistry class and duties as Junior Dean.


Photo courtesy of Allie Shephard '23

Mrs. Davis poses in front of the periodic table in her chemistry room.

Mrs. Davis teaches 10th grade and AT Chemistry in the Upper School, where she is known for her organization, efficiency, and engaging lessons. While many students expect that teachers will respond to emails within a few days, Mrs. Davis responds within minutes no matter the time of day.  Mrs. Davis also serves as Junior Class Dean, planning various events such as Prom and Junior/Senior Exchange. She plays a critical role in preparing students to be successful upperclassmen. 

Knowing how busy Mrs. Davis is teaching five classes, it is incredible how she finds time to be so active in the Baldwin community. In the interview below, Mrs. Davis discusses the benefits and struggles of being both a teacher and a dean. 


What do you love about being a chemistry teacher for 10th grade and a dean for 11th grade?

I love knowing pretty much everyone who graduates from Baldwin. It’s really fun to see students grow up. They know me really well before I become their dean so they know how I run things and it gives me great insight into their academic side and their personality. There’s rarely a “getting-to-know-you” phase. But when I’m a dean for a student that comes to Baldwin late and has never had chemistry, I don’t get to know them as well. I really feel, “Oh, they’re the one or two in the graduating class I don’t know.” And for most teachers, that’s common, [but] for me, that’s very uncommon. 


What are some of the challenges that you face being a dean and a teacher?

This year I teach 92 students, and to be honest, this is the first year I’ve had to say to some students, “I have zero time to meet with you,” or, “You just have to email me, I’m so sorry, I’m booked.” Being a dean, I have so many meetings, typically during g-block, and that takes away the time that I can see my students. Some days I feel like I’m doing more for being a dean than I am for actually teaching chemistry. Because my time is so limited and I have to use all my free time to meet with students, I have to do a lot of grading at home. In previous years, I haven’t had to do as much of that.


What is your favorite event to help plan or attend? 

I would say my favorite event to plan is prom. It’s been a really good challenge for me because I got married really young, when I was 23, and my mom did a lot of the planning [for the wedding] since it was in Miami and I wasn’t living there. I’d never really planned an event [before prom]. It was a learning curve, but now, oh, let me tell you, I can whip out proms and weddings! I like dressing up and I like seeing everyone else dressed up, so prom is really fun.


What is some advice that you would give to current Baldwin students?

Respect your teachers, but also ask for the same respect in return. Do what they ask you to do. Turn in stuff on time. Follow the rules. So much work is placed upon teachers and deans and advisors to follow up with students that aren’t following the rules. The amount of meetings and paperwork that go into dealing with that is enormous. 

And just enjoy your day-to-day lives! Try not to get super stressed out over one grade. It’s one grade. One grade has never kept anybody out of a college or a job. Don’t bog yourself down so much in your academics that you can’t enjoy your social life. You’ll never get this time back.