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Returning to Student Life Alyse Ruiz ’05, the new director of student life, brings insights into the student experience from her own days at CA. “It was unexpected,” says Alyse Ruiz ’05, who became director of student life at Concord Academy this fall, “but I knew I was coming back to a place I care deeply about.” Having grown up in central Florida, she was looking for work farther south. But Ruiz had kept in touch with faculty and staff at CA, and it had become a running joke for them to ask if she was ready to return yet. The last time it came up, she said the timing might actually be right. “It was a chance to come back at a really exciting time. There was a willingness to examine student life and create new things together,” she says. “That opportunity is what drew me

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the most.” At CA, Ruiz is spending some of her time supporting other departments, including the College Counseling Office and the Wilcox Fellows program. Her interest in curriculum development has also led to her teaching in the Health and Wellness program. “From the very beginning, people were coming to me collaboratively,” she says. Prior to returning to CA as a staff member, Ruiz spent four years as the dean of residential life at CITYterm, a semester-away program in New York. It was a newly created position, and she describes the fast pace of running two fourmonth programs back to back. “For staff, it was like fitting in two school years in one,” she says. “It was a great chance to keep responding and innovating.” Before joining CITYterm, Ruiz taught English for five years at a charter high school in Miami, where she was also the English department chair. “At CITYterm, I was reminded of how much it means to have an adult care about you, and that’s what drew me back to the boarding school environment,” she says. Ruiz loved being a boarder at CA; she fondly recalls the “very warm, supportive environment” of the school and getting to know peers and faculty by living together. She was never an athlete, but she valued an environment that let her casually try playing basketball or squash. What she remembers most are simple things — “spending time in each other’s common rooms,” she says, “the house faculty on duty welcoming us into their homes and making us snacks.” Ruiz now lives on campus in Phelps House — the first boarding house she lived in as a CA student, followed by Haines and Wheeler. The flow of the building, when she arrived in August, struck her as deeply familiar, as had the feeling of walking into announcements in the Performing Arts Center when she had visited as a candidate. CA Labs, on the other hand, felt entirely new. That’s as it should be, Ruiz says: “It’s a nice balance.”

“It was a chance to come back at a really exciting time. There was a willingness to examine student life and create new things together.” A LYS E RU I Z ’0 5 Director of Stuent Life

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Profile for Concord Academy

CA Magazine Fall 2018 Issue  

In the fall 2018 CA Magazine, the focus is on passion — for art, for change, and for shaping the future of Concord Academy. This issue intro...

CA Magazine Fall 2018 Issue  

In the fall 2018 CA Magazine, the focus is on passion — for art, for change, and for shaping the future of Concord Academy. This issue intro...

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