New dean and new department head hired


By Jenny Lee and Ellie Shinchuk

Photo courtesy of and

On April 23 and March 26 respectively, Ted Dalicandro and Talia Etedgee Brown were announced to take over as Cutler Dean and Fine and Performing Arts department head at the start of next year. 

Current special education teacher and head football coach Dalicandro has been at South for over 20 years, serving as the football coach for the last 17 years. Earlier this year, when Principal Tamara Stras was on maternity leave, outgoing Cutler dean Josepha Blocker acted as interim principal, and Dalicandro became the interim Cutler dean.  

Dalicandro said he looks forward to working with and supporting Cutler students as their new dean.

“Teenage students need a place where they can feel safe and comfortable to come to, and for me, high school is all about learning how to grow, and I want students to feel like they have a champion in me and know that I’ll be supportive,” he said. “I’ll do everything I can to make them feel successful and safe here.” 

Dalicandro said that he embraces the notion that success takes various forms for different individuals and wants to help students embrace different kinds of goals.

“Success means one thousand different things to one thousand different students and I want students to feel that their level of success is still great,” he said. “They should feel good about themselves when they achieve what they want to achieve.”

To overcome South’s academically competitive atmosphere, Dalicandro said he hopes to encourage students to explore their interests beyond the confines of a curriculum and to look past their grades.

“We are more than what our grades tell us we are,” he said. “It’s okay to struggle, it’s okay to fail at something, and failures are nothing but lessons. So if you fail, it’s just a lesson, learn from that and move on and get better.”

Cutler student and senior Jisun Yoon said she hopes the new Cutler dean will be easy to contact and happy to help students that need it.

“They need to be ready to reach out to the students who need help because, from my experience with my dean, it felt kind of restricted to talk to her,” she said.

“When I think of a dean, they’re hard to reach out to. Some deans are very open, and they’re very friendly and really nice to talk to, but a lot of the deans are very formal, and they’re always in their office.”

Cutler student and sophomore Ashram Bhattarai said that during this time, Dalicandro proved himself a capable dean. 

“When he was dean, I missed one win block and had to go see him. Honestly, I think he handled the situation pretty well. He talked to me and talked to the teacher I was supposed to be with, and things got resolved pretty fast,” he said.

In addition to a new Cutler dean, Talia Etedgee Brown will be taking over as the Fine and Performing Arts department head. Brown is currently a theater teacher and the supervisor of Fine Arts at Orchard Gardens, an elementary school in Roxbury, Mass.

Visual arts teacher Amy Nichols said that the entire art department works closely with the department head — with the incoming position change, she said she hopes that Brown will first get to know the teachers’ methods before implementing changes.

“I’m sure she has a vision for the art department and I’m interested and excited to hear what that vision is, but I hope that she’ll see what’s here before she tries to change it,” she said.

Freshman class officer and member of South’s choir Aleeza Amitan said that she hopes Brown will help to solve the music department’s staffing issue.

“Something that’s necessary is hiring more teachers for the music department specifically because there are a lot of music classes and there is talk about how they stopped doing some because there are not enough teachers,” she said.

Yoon also said that improvements can be made in the supply of materials in the classroom.

“From my high school experience, we lacked materials and the art teachers were challenged to be on the budget,” she said. “I hope the new art department head could figure out that issue with the district.”

 Nichols said she hopes that Brown will encourage her teaching by preserving South’s positive learning environment. 

“One of the things that make me want to come to work every day is that I’m with a bunch of people who can find something funny every day,” Nichols said. “We have our frustration[s]…, but there’s a general sense of joy here and that’s really valuable.”

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