Andi Giesen hit the ground running in February as Newman University’s new interim dean of students. She even announced the homecoming king and queen for Newman just a couple days into the role.
“It’s exciting to get to meet and know young adult students who seek connection and wisdom from the faculty and staff around them,” Giesen said. “It is equally amazing to realize what an influence I might be able to be while our students themselves are transforming right before our eyes as they prepare to set out and transform society, as Newman promises.”
Giesen — who graduated from Wichita State University with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, a master’s degree in education administration and supervision, and a doctorate in education leadership — began her career as a sign language interpreter before shifting to an elementary reading specialist for Kansas public schools.
“I have been a public education administrator since 2001, including as a principal, an athletic and activities director, a superintendent for a small rural school district and a district administrator for the largest urban district in Kansas,” she explained.
She initially chose to pursue a career in education because her first job as a sign language interpreter was for first-grade students.
“I was amazed at the connections that happen between a teacher and students,” Giesen said. “Those students stole my heart back then … and they kept it.”
Now as Newman’s interim dean of students, Giesen feels the skills she’s built as a PK-12 administrator directly apply.
“The skillset required for relationship building, collaboration and problem-solving is quite similar,” she said. “It is a delight to be able to interact with Newman students and discuss their current realities and their foreseeable futures. The students I have met have all been truly inspiring to me.”
Giesen added that when she first began to announce to friends and colleagues that she was headed to Newman, those who had experienced the university already had a distinct sparkle in their eyes when they told her it was something special.
“I see now how right they were,” she said.
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