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Know Your Pelicans

Meet John Daves (he/him)

Head of Equity and Inclusion

Know Your Pelicans

Why did you choose to work at Packer?

Packer felt like a school where people really wanted to do the work of understanding who they are with a sense of dignity, purpose, and sense of care. And that really is the ethos of how you empower from a place of joy.

Tell us about your education.

I earned a BA in Political Science from Susquehanna University, a Masters of Arts and Teaching in English Literature from Colgate University, and a Doctorate in American Studies from the University of Maryland, College Park.

What work have you done prior to joining Packer?

I have taught English Literature and American Studies at Dickinson College and Phillips Exeter Academy, and I served as Dean of Faculty at The Pennington School and Director of Community and Equity Affairs at St. Mark's School. 

What are your impressions of Packer? Our students? Your colleagues?

Packer is full of bright and caring faculty, and thoughtful and eager students! The community does a remarkable job not just at communicating our mission, vision, and values, but forming the means of engagement through a very intentional approach. We aren't just meeting students where they are and helping them learn how to communicate, but actually using learning experiences to create transformative opportunities for students. They are taught to understand what it means to be empathetic through engagement, from learning how to talk—not at each other, not just to regurgitate information—but more importantly, to know how to form ideas together.

Besides your subject, what's something you hope to teach your students?

We're all trying to get to the space where we know what it means to be empathetic, to have a sense of self in relation to others. This creates self-aware engagement in learning and leading. This is really what it's about, being part of this community: if you're an adult, to create space where you're ensuring students feel seen and heard, and if you're a student, to leave with self-aware engagement, learning, and leading skills that are preparing you for life beyond Packer.

What are the strengths of your department?

My department possesses strong self-awareness skills, and a dedication to supporting the Packer community.

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