Randolph-Macon hires new dean

Tess Hegedus

FRONT ROYAL — Randolph-Macon Academy has hired a new dean, after it promoted its previous dean to the newly created position of vice president.

On Jan. 8, Jonathan Ezell officially became vice president for the school, and Tess Hegedus became Randolph-Macon’s dean of instructional leadership and innovation. In his new position, Ezell will deal largely with alumni in an effort to raise donor money.

Hegedus comes from a background as a teacher, working at a number of public and private schools. She most recently taught undergraduate and graduate classes as an assistant professor at High Point University in North Carolina.

But, she said, “something was missing.”

“I didn’t feel like I was able to make the difference that I wanted to make,” Hegedus said.

So Hegedus applied for an opening as a dean at Randolph-Macon Academy. She said that she particularly liked that the school was looking for creative changes to its curriculum.

“They were looking for the future, they were looking for ways to differentiate themselves,” Hegedus said.

As the new dean, Hegedus is in charge of designing the curriculum at the school.

Hegedus said that she wants to see the school develop a program at its upper school that is similar to the recent middle school innovation lab. In that program, students learn some computer programming, working on Scratch software, which is designed to help people learn how to write code.

Students also work on programming robotics in the program.

“It’s sort of exploring different languages and looking at algorithmic thinking,” Hegedus said. “How do we think in different ways?”

Hegedus is hoping that the school will design a high school program that builds off what students learn in middle school.

But currently, Hegedus is spending most of her time delving into what the school is offering now. She is visiting classes and talking with people in the school to learn more about how she might change its curriculum.

“It’s hard to come up with innovative ideas unless you do groundwork,” Hegedus said. “So I’m doing that groundwork now.”