After 3 years at the helm Rick Duque looks towards the future with his decision to step down from WSC Dean of Students

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Sydney Mildon

Rick Duque, WSC Dean of Students, poses in front of his office. Dean Duque works hard every day and loves being part of the community. He has decided to make some changes in his part at Webb after this year.

Recently at a WSC assembly, Rick Duque, WSC Dean of Students, announced his plan to step down from his position as Dean of Students at the end of the 22-23 school year. As someone adored by the students for his fun and caring personality, and ability to make people feel comfortable and welcome at Webb, Dean Duque’s announcement brought shock, confusion, and sadness to many students and faculty. 

“It really makes me sad,” Aaden Mozia (‘26) said. I’ve only gotten to know him for a year but from what I’ve seen he’s an amazing Dean of Students and he has helped me through a lot of stuff, he’s also introduced me to a lot of teachers, and he even got me into his jerky business. So, I really appreciate Dean Duque and he’s an amazing person. It’s sad to see him go.”  

“I’ve always loved working with Dean Duque,” said Dr. Mark Dzula, Director of Teaching and Learning Resources. “Especially during the pandemic, he did a lot to keep people together. I particularly appreciate his ability to connect with people. He’ll do the work of a dean, and he will come up and join you at Jubilee on stage and dance.” 

Another hanging question that the community is yearning to hear the answer to is why Dean Duque decided to step down from his position. 

“As we all know, Webb is becoming one school, and the Dean of Student’s office will be reorganized,” said Dean Duque. “There will be a dean of students, a Dean of Campus Life, and a Dean of Residential life. Anytime I take a job, I look whether I will truly enjoy it. Looking at those, I didn’t feel like they were the right fit for me,” said Dean Duque. “I have always been a teacher and a coach and Webb is kind enough to allow me to go back to that job.”  

Although Dean Duque did not take up the offer that Webb gave to him, he explained that he really enjoyed the binary school system and wants to see if there are other potential schools to continue working at.  

He also talks about wanting to try new things and exploring what else he can do.  

“I know what I have here at Webb, which is really good, but I also want to see what else is out there,” Dean Duque said. “I didn’t know what boarding school was, but I have really embraced it. For me to leave, it has to be a perfect situation for everyone. There are lots of aspects for everyone.”  

He also mentioned his excitement about continuing his new jerky business, Hammered Foods, with Ken Rosenfeld, the Dean of Student Life.  

“Hammered foods would be exciting as well,” Dean Duque said. “Who knows what the future holds.”  

He expressed that his stepping down as a dean is a big part of the transition for The Webb Schools to become just one co-ed school on campus 

“Next year, Dr. Smith wants to have the leadership in place, so it gives the individuals in those positions a full year before we actually become one school in 24-25,” Dean Duque said. “Obviously, the Dean of Student’s office is all about the students and how we can transition from two separate schools to one, knowing that there are a lot of exciting opportunities, while realizing that change is difficult. The switch from two schools to one is gradual, so my stepping down is part of this transition.” Finally, Dean Duque believes that his decision can help bring diversity to the Administration of Webb. 

“Webb has made a great commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion so maybe bring in someone who reflects the diversity of students that we have Webb,” Dean Duque said. 

Although everybody in the Webb community is very upset and shocked by this big announcement and Dean Duque himself is sad to leave Webb, he looks forward to new opportunities in his future and watching how a new Dean will hopefully help Webb transform for the better.  

 

Note: Dr. Dzula is the co-adviser for the Webb Canyon Chronicle