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The Virtual Hub for the Media of the The Benjamin School's Upper School

The Pharcyte

The Virtual Hub for the Media of the The Benjamin School's Upper School

The Pharcyte

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Upper School Academic Dean Announces Departure

Mrs.Guzman+smiles+for+the+camera+with+the+JV+soccer+team.+
Mrs.Guzman smiles for the camera with the JV soccer team.

After five-years as a member of the Benjamin School community, Upper School Academic Dean Mrs. Caroline Guzman is set to embark on a new chapter. When she departs South Florida and returns closer to her roots in Massachusetts this summer, she’ll be leaving behind a lasting impact on students, colleagues, and the school community.

It was not long ago that, on a whim, while teaching civics at Indian River Middle School, Guzman decided to email requesting an interview for an open social studies position at Benjamin. Within an hour she heard back, and soon after began her tenured time at Benjamin as a world history teacher. 

When Mr. Didsbury announced his retirement a year later, Head of Upper School Mr. Fletcher Carr and a faculty committee tapped Mrs. Guzman to become the Upper School’s Academic Dean. 

She remembers her time at Benjamin fondly, grateful for her role as Academic Dean and the noticeable accomplishments she has made. Her time in the classroom was ultimately her favorite part of teaching at Benjamin.

“When I first came to Benjamin I worked in the history department and there was no AP World History because freshmen started in APHUG (Human Geography). I am most proud of implementing AP World into the curriculum and teaching a majority of the AP history courses,” said Guzman. 

Students often reminisce about the captivating lessons and the enthusiasm Mrs Guzman brings to the subject. 

“She was a great history teacher and I truly learned a lot. She helped me do way better than I thought I could have done on my AP exam,” shared sophomore London Allen. 

Freshman Sierra McKinney is very sad to see Mrs. Guzman leave. 

“I’ve only had her for a semester but she is truly an amazing person and teacher. I appreciate how much she does for each and every student and I am going to miss her a lot,” said McKinney

Colleagues fondly look on Mrs. Guzman as not just an administrator, but as a mentor who readily lends a listening ear and offers guidance. Mrs. Rizzitano, the Upper School Learning Specialist, has already started to think about the departure of Mrs. Guzman. Mrs. Rizzitano noted the palpable changes Mrs. Guzman has made as Dean.

“I really like the direction she’s brought into my department and the rest of the Upper School. She is terrific with kids, parents, teachers, and everyone in between. She is never ruffled; she is always calm, listens, and then thinks about the best way to solve problems for all parties involved. She is very fair in her decision-making,” said Mrs. Rizzitano. 

Mrs. Guzman plans to continue working in education, possibly at a boarding school in the northeast. 

“I love working directly with my students and really getting to know them. I feel like at a boarding school I’d get to develop more personal relationships with students like I have here at Benjamin,” said Mrs. Guzman. 

Mrs. Guzman’s departure will likely require a search for a social studies teacher who can teach Introduction to Law and AP World History, a Mock Trial advisor, Life Skills club sponsor, and a JV soccer coach. 

“I feel that everyone in the social studies department is capable of teaching the AP World class, and Ms. Franzen and Ms. Misselhorn will continue coaching JV soccer. We are looking for a Mock Trial coach and possible Introduction to Law teacher, and have high hopes for an outstanding Dean,” explained Guzman.

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About the Contributor
Finley Strauss, Staff Writer
Finley Strauss is a staff writer and editor of the Pharcyde. It is her first year at the Benjamin School. Finley is excited to start working on The Pharcyde, especially on opinion pieces. She is in the honor council, JSA, debate, and mock trial. In her free time she enjoys running, spending time with friends, and going to the beach. She plans to become an attorney.

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