MNPS Voices: Dr. Marina Assad

MNPS Voices: Dr. Marina Assad, Dean of Students for the Freshman Academy, Glencliff High School
Posted on 12/06/2023
Dr. Marina Assad

Dr Marina Assad

Dr. Marina Assad is bringing her background as a former AVID teacher to her current role as dean of students for the Freshman Academy at Glencliff High School to highlight the importance of mentorship.

Assad is a self-proclaimed “product of MNPS” – a graduate of Antioch High School – and credits her education experience for where she is today as she hopes to make the same impact on her students’ lives.

Assad started her career with MNPS seven years ago as an ELA teacher/reading interventionist at Wright Middle School before receiving the opportunity to become an AVID teacher. AVID, which stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination, is a college and career readiness framework used by dozens of MNPS schools.

Assad was already a fan of the system, having been an AVID student herself at Antioch. It was her AVID teacher, Elaine Plummer, who impressed upon her how life-changing mentoring can be for students who have no one else. Dr. Assad with a student

“I learned from Ms. Plummer what it truly means to serve your students. She provided every student in her classroom with a voice. She was that teacher who would show up every day and be their person,” Assad says.

“I want to embody that same spirit as an administrator and provide my students with that same kind of love. My style is ‘tough love,’ but love nonetheless.”

Assad is passionate about mentorship. She believes it is critical in education and believes every educator should be a mentor. It even became the focus of her dissertation, titled “The Effects of Mentorship Programs on At-Risk Students: A Systematic Literature Review,” for her doctorate degree in educational leadership at Trevecca Nazarene University.

Assad believes mentoring is one key way to support the district’s Every Student Known mission, because mentorship takes students who have limited interaction with adults and may not feel as seen and turns that dynamic around. The staff at Glencliff are meeting this challenge.

This year Assad started an administrator mentorship program at Glencliff. This isn’t the only mentorship program the school offers, but it is designed to focus on students who are in the middle and may not feel seen.

“We have each administrator select two students they think can most benefit from mentorship throughout the year. They meet with students on a weekly basis and, if needed, on a daily basis,” Assad says. “The point is to be intentional in seeking out students and supporting their needs.”

Next year Glencliff plans to expand the mentorship opportunities to include teachers.

Asaad immigrated with her family from Egypt as a child and started her fourth-grade year in the English Learners program at Una Elementary. She later attended Margaret Allen Middle School and graduated from Antioch High.

Assad, an English major, loves poetry and Egyptian literature – especially while on beach vacations with her husband and 1-year-old daughter.

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