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School welcomes new head of middle school

PARTY PLANNING Diaz leads a middle school Gryphon Council meeting for the middle school party. “My favorite part of the day is when I get to interact with students.” Diaz said.
PARTY PLANNING Diaz leads a middle school Gryphon Council meeting for the middle school party. “My favorite part of the day is when I get to interact with students.” Diaz said.

Walking into the familiar halls of Greenhills, one rounds the green carpeted landscape of the all-school forum, and in the glass office off the northwest corner of the space a new face greets students. There, Mayra Diaz, the new head of middle school, works to improve her division and its learning environment by engaging students and changing the framework of their day-to-day life.

Diaz comes from Georgetown Day School in Washington, D.C, where she worked for 23 years before her new role in the middle school. She says this experience was one that contributed to her coming to the school.

“I had a really wonderful mentor who had an approach to teaching that was about teachers supporting one another in the interest of elevating students’ work,” Diaz said. “To me, that style of leadership and teaching was motivating and drew me toward Greenhills.”

Throughout the first few weeks of school, Diaz has been working on settling into her new role and finding a balance between her different responsibilities.

“Part of what I love about this job is that you are in a sense a jack of all trades, you are on the ground if you need to be, if you need to cover a class or a C&C,” Diaz said. “In my role, there are also a lot of meetings, whether it’s with parents, students, or faculty.”

Part of Diaz’s approach to being an administrator is doing hands-on work with students to foster a better understanding of their needs and challenges to ultimately create a more supportive learning environment.

“I also have the room to visit classes, so I’ve been doing a lot of classroom visits just to get to know the students, and what they’re learning,” Diaz said. “Mrs. [Bridget] Maldonado and I were talking about shadowing a student to get a sense of what it’s like to be a middle school student at Greenhills.”

Maldonado, in her role as the Middle School Dean of Students, is one of the many people that works closely with Diaz. As they have settled into the new school year, the first few weeks have been focused on finding their footing and a system that works for the middle school.

“It’s been really great having her as a partner,” Maldonado said. “The work that we do is largely around the structure and focus of the middle school. We’re looking at the middle school experience academically, socially, and through their extracurriculars and athletics.”

One of their big projects has been reworking the C&C time at the end of the day. They have been working on making it a useful time for both students and teachers and while it’s still a work in progress, they have already made big changes to the C&C structure. 

“Students now fill out a weekly survey to choose where they want to spend their C&C time.” Diaz said. “It gives them more variety and independence. They are able to self guide themselves in their decisions and allows them to learn how to manage their time.”

Diaz has also infused her personality into her work, bringing a new layer of creativity and excitement to every project she takes on.

“We have the middle school party coming up,” Maldonado said. “Ms. Diaz is very into themes and decorations, so she’s really taking on the decorating and theme part of the middle school party.”

Diaz says that some of the most enjoyable parts of her job are when she is able to be with students and interact with them. 

“Sometimes I cover lunch duty,” Diaz said. “It has been great teaching middle school students to have a routine at the end of lunch and taking care of the space and taking care of the community. It’s establishing a sense of community and respect.”

In the time she has been at the school, Diaz has made a personal impact on the students. Her values of community and respect are shown through her interactions with the middle school students.

“I’ve talked to her a few times.” Roshan Malani ‘29 said. “She’s nice, she’s kind, and she cares about the students. She wants it to be a safe and caring community for everybody.”

Diaz is focused on ensuring the happiness and prosperity of the middle schoolers through all aspects of their life.

“She is working to improve the middle school experience and make sure that each middle schooler is thriving at Greenhills,” Maldonado said. 

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