Devondra McMillan will be closer to her family and feels like she’s coming home to Walker. “The interview process at Walker made it really clear that it’s a tight-knit community and that it feels very much like a family,” she said.
The Walker School is excited to welcome Devondra McMillan as the new Assistant Head of Upper School. McMillan will collaborate in the leadership of the Upper School and be responsible for continuing and developing a vibrant student life program.
McMillan, who grew up in Cobb County, spent the past 16 years at Lawrenceville School in New Jersey where she was the Language Department Chair, Grade Level Dean for the Ninth Grade and taught Latin.
McMillan said she was looking for a new opportunity to be a dean of students and to facilitate community. Coming to Walker enables her to be back with her family.
McMillan said she knew Walker was a good fit when she interviewed: “The interview process at Walker made it really clear that it’s a tight-knit community and that it feels very much like a family. That really sold it for me.”
McMillan holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Classics from Yale University and a pending Master of Arts in Classical Languages from the University of Georgia. She has been awarded a Fulbright grant from the Department of State twice and received numerous teaching awards in her time at Lawrenceville, including most recently the Floyd C. Harwood Distinguished Teaching Chair in 2018.
Michael Arjona, Assistant Head of School for Academics said: “Devondra brings a student-centered approach, a wealth of experience and a clear enthusiasm for building connections with and between students.”
Starting a new job in the middle of a global pandemic can be daunting, especially when meeting with families and faculty in person is not possible. Despite that, McMillan says “the warmth and love at Walker is really, really obvious.”
McMillan said she looks forward to continuing to strengthen the sense of community at Walker.
“I would like us to be deliberate in our community forming and reflective in what it means to be part of this community,” she said. “My hope, and goal, is that there is room for us to talk about ideas, disagree about ideas but to still love one another.”
Another aspect of McMillan’s job will be student discipline, which she says is one of her favorite parts of her job.
“Sorry parents, but [teenagers’] job is to mess up,” she says. “That’s what they’re supposed to be doing for all of these years, so my job as a disciplinarian is to make sure that each of those mistakes becomes a really valuable learning experience.”
McMillan said she knows there will be some tough conversations, which she welcomes: “I know the most important conversations are going to be when we talk about a misstep or a mistake and you learn how to be a better person through that pain and discomfort.”