Get to Know Lawrenceville’s Newest Administration Members

Effective July 1, 2021, the Lawrenceville School will be installing three new Deans: Alison Easterling P’20 will assume the role of Dean of Academics, Devondra McMillan will take on Dean of Students, and Emilie Kosoff H’88 ‘96 ‘00 ‘18 P’19 will fill the role of Dean of Faculty.

Effective July 1, 2021, the Lawrenceville School will be installing three new Deans: Alison Easterling P’20 will assume the role of Dean of Academics, Devondra McMillan will take on Dean of Students, and Emilie Kosoff H’88 ‘96 ‘00 ‘18 P’19 will fill the role of Dean of Faculty.

Dean of Academics - Alison Easterling P’20: Since 2005, Easterling has been a vital part of Lawrenceville’s campus. Her extensive experience ranges from teacher, coach, Duty Associate to Head of House, Chair of the History Department, and Assistant Dean of Faculty. Her announcement as the new Dean of Academics on February 14, 2021, came after hours of grueling interviews, case study presentations, and conversations with many members of the Lawrenceville community, including groups of students.

David Laws, P’21 ’23, the current Dean of Academics and whom Easterling will replace, will continue to teach science at Lawrenceville, and Easterling will work closely with him at the start of her tenure. As for her own goals as Dean, Easterling hopes to “steward the academic program at Lawrenceville in a direction that is mission-aligned and moves forward in innovative ways.”

In terms of dealing with the current pandemic, Easterling prefers to frame the question as “finding our next” and “to what extent can we go back?” instead of “when will we return back to normal?” With the fate of the future clouded in uncertainty, “[Her] goal is to contribute to that work here at Lawrenceville, with a particular focus on the academic program,” she will be in charge of determining a multitude of semantics for the new year, including whether or not Lawrenceville will continue using the current class schedule.

Her new responsibilities as Dean include “academic oversight and, in collaboration with the department chairs and the director of teaching and learning, curricular leadership, student support, overseeing the academic calendar and schedule, and student records” among other job requirements. In addition to these various responsibilities, Easterling will continue to teach at least one class per term, coach track alongside [Chair of Mathematics Department Melissa Clore H’02], and serve as a member of the Duty Team in the Cleve House.

Easterling aims to uphold Lawrenceville’s mission statement: “Challenge a diverse community of promising young people to lead lives of learning, integrity, and high purpose; and to inspire the best in each to seek the best for all.”

Dean of Students - Devondra McMillan: While McMillan moved to The Walker School last year, she had previously been with Lawrenceville for 16 years, holding various positions including II Form Level Director and Language Department Chair. She believes that both her experiences at Lawrenceville and as Assistant Head of the Upper School at The Walker School will help her to fulfill her goals as the new Dean of Students.

As McMillan steps into her new position, she looks forward to building on the work of the current Dean of Students Blake Eldridge ’96 H’12. According to McMillan, Eldridge “worked really hard to be a thoughtful and proactive leader as opposed to a reactive one,” and she hopes to continue “his vision” for the School in the years to come.

On her own mission statement and vision, McMillan aims to “empower students to have a transformative process of four-year self-discovery.” As Dean, her goal is to increase transparency in the student discipline process to destigmatize the process as well as create a learning opportunity for those involved. McMillan wants to prioritize students’ wellbeing and help them “take the time to figure out the situation they are in and who they want to [become] moving forward.” According to McMillan, students must have strong connections with administration members, especially the Dean of Students, in order to facilitate and encourage important dialogue and honest communication.

When it comes to students’ health, McMillan noted that she often had to “[convince] kids that spending four extra hours on homework wasn’t going to make them experts at Latin. Give it a try and then go to bed.” McMillan also hopes to work with students to build better time management skills, maintain healthy habits, and continue important conversations regarding mental health—all of which she believes will help minimize student burnout.

“It’s going to be nice to reconnect with people and see familiar faces. Lawrenceville is an amazing community, and I’m excited to come back and work with such spectacular faculty and such amazing students,” McMillan said.

Dean of Faculty - Emilie Kosoff H’88 ’96 ’00 ’18 P’19: Assistant Dean of Students, former Crescent Level Director, and Head of House at all levels, Kosoff looks forward to embarking on a new journey as Dean of Faculty. During the transition period, Kosoff will continue to work closely with the current Dean of Faculty Chris Cunningham, Ph.D. P’14 ’18, especially during the decennial reaccreditation process. Kosoff will also turn to the women in leadership roles who came before her, whom she considers to be trailblazers, hoping to “model their leadership” as she steps into a new position.

As the new Dean of Faculty, Kosoff’s overarching goal is to create the “best School experience for all students and faculty,” from the classroom and House to the athletic field and stage. Having held various senior-level positions at Lawrenceville, Kosoff empathizes with faculty members noting that their schedules “can be a bit stressful at times, as is the case with students.” She added, “It’s part of my job to see what worked this year for the community and [to] see if those are [endeavors] we want to continue. I’m thinking a lot about a post-pandemic Lawrenceville, because while everyone says ‘let’s go back to normal,’ what was normal for some was not a good normal for others,” she explained.

According to Kosoff, her responsibilities include: hiring new faculty members, supporting faculty in their various endeavors, evaluating their progress, and checking in with department chairs, mentor teachers, teaching fellows, and the office of multicultural affairs.

Kosoff aims to continue building an atmosphere in which teachers genuinely feel committed to their students and their growth. “The faculty mirror the students at Lawrenceville,” she said. “We’re looking for gentle pushers who will challenge and encourage students to be the best they can be.”


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