Get to Know PA President Brock Dunn

Jul 1, 2021 3:32:42 PM
As of July 1, 2021, Stephen "Brock" Dunn has officially begun his tenure as our new Pulaski Academy President! We are thrilled to have Mr. Dunn's enthusiasm, optimism, and passion for innovative learning as we approach the 2021-2022 school year and celebrations for PA's 50th anniversary. As Mr. Dunn explained in a welcome email to the PA community: 
"At every corner, with every challenge, with every obstacle, my family and I have been, and here is where the loss of words comes into play -- what word encapsulates honored, flattered, humbled, blessed, emotionally moved to some version of tears and joy? We are that word. We are home. We stand ready to serve the PA family with every bit of our being. We’re Bruins!"

Interested in learning more about PA's new President? Read on to find out what Brock's interests are, how he plans to get to know our school community and more in our questions for him below!

  1. What would you like to tell us about your family? 

    Jenna, my wife, and I have three beautiful daughters. Katherine is 20 years old. She attends Ohio Wesleyan University where she is studying to be a middle school English teacher. Lulu, age 19, will attend Hendrix College this Fall. She’ll take the Pre-Professional Program pathway in social work with an individual emphasis on adoption. Maggie, age 18, will be a sophomore at Vanderbilt University. Her major is Cognitive Science. 20,19,18 years old always leads to raised eyebrows and questions. Katherine is adopted from Guatemala. A few months after she came “home” we learned of her biological sister Lulu. Of course, we adopted her too! We had Maggie in between. 0 to 3 kids in something like 13 months. They are all excited to become part of the PA family.

    Brock Dunn Family
  2. What are your hobbies and interests? 

    Jenna and I love to ride our mountain bikes. As I’ve aged I’ve gotten quite a bit slower, and much less courageous, but still love the adventure and exercise of a good ride. We love to eat. We love great restaurants, yet nothing beats a home-cooked meal.
  3. What is something most people might not know about you? 

    I have two tattoos. One has great meaning, the other part of poor decision making from years ago. When you're over 50 years old it’s really hard to explain a tattoo of the Hawaiin Punch guy.

  4. What was your first impression after touring the PA campus? 

    We were moved by the kindness of the people. Southern warmth and hospitality are quite real.

  5. What has surprised you most since moving to Little Rock?

    The heat isn't as bad as we anticipated. I say that now….

  6. PA's Vision is to be the leader in innovation. What is one way you intend to focus on innovative learning?

    I remember quite clearly conversations with our football coaches about the analytics behind their decision making. I loved how research and data drove their thinking. I love how the team’s results support their innovation. What does that approach and way of thinking look like in terms of the academic program? I’m excited to ask the right questions and see where the conversation takes us. Advances in neuroscience have allowed us to better understand learners and learning. How can we use those advances and the related data to deliver a forward-thinking, research-based, academic program?

    Pulaski Academy Brock Dunn
  7. What are a few of the ways you are looking forward to connecting with the school community for PA's 50th anniversary?

    Let's have the greatest birthday party ever! Let's celebrate the first 50 years while simultaneously looking forward and planning for the next 50. Let’s connect with all of the people who've helped create this wonderful community and thank them for doing so while also inviting them to be part of the next 50.
  8. What has been one of the biggest lessons you've learned during your time in education? 

    That above all relationships must be the foundation of any great learning environment. Sure, it sounds warm and fuzzy, but the research plays out. Students are happier, more productive, more successful when they feel connected to their learning communities. We must then embrace the responsibility of making each one of our students feel known and that they are loved unconditionally.

    Pulaski Academy Brock Dunn II
  9. You have been described as a storyteller and connector. Can you tell us a little more about how you plan to engage with the school community? 

    My wife would roll her eyes. She’s heard my stories too many times! I think of it this way -- my stories are more interesting than most. When I get together with buddies from years past who have different occupations, my stories are just better, not because I’m a storyteller, but because I’m surrounded by young people who live interesting and unique lives. I’m surrounded by passionate educators who have devoted their lives to serving others. I support communities that help people grow, that are full of laughter, life lessons, successes, failures, etc. My storyboard is rich with meaningful content. If I sold widgets for a living I doubt I’d be a great storyteller. Regarding being a connector -- My wife gets her rejuvenating energy from running. Others from reading. One of my daughters creates beautiful art to recharge her battery. Her sister sings to do the same. And the third gets hers through social interaction. I’ve got friends who write to recharge. You get my point. For me, my battery is filled through connecting with others. How do I plan to engage with the PA community? Naturally! I’ll be everywhere, supporting everyone, enjoying everything, because it fills my battery and leads to great stories.

  10. PA helps guide students on their path to excellence. In what ways do you plan to lead our tradition of excellence? 

    I love your choice to use the word guide. As educators, we should be guides/ facilitators of learning rather than conduits of information. Great schools embrace the right pedagogy, emphasize connectivity, and prioritize health and wellness. It goes back to an earlier question you asked about innovation. What does the research say about the best learning environments and approaches for education? I plan to lead that conversation so that our next iteration of excellence is consistent with the world we currently live in.

Brock's Professional Summary 

Stephen “Brock” Dunn’s 27-year career as an educational leader includes roles as Assistant Head of School and Head of the Upper School of The University Liggett School in Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan. He was also Executive Director of Strategic Initiatives, Head of Middle and Upper Schools, Dean of Students, Liaison to the Parents Association, teacher, and varsity coach at the Ethel Walker School in Connecticut. Mr. Dunn has also served in various capacities at Cardigan Mountain School (NH), Williston Northampton School (MA) and The Masters School (NY). Prior to his independent school experiences, Mr. Dunn taught in Exeter, New Hampshire public schools for 10 years.

Mr. Dunn holds a BA in Communications with a Minor in Business Administration from the University of New Hampshire and an M.Ed. in Independent School Leadership from Vanderbilt University.

Connect with PA President Brock Dunn on Twitter@PA_SchoolPres


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