Your palms become sweaty, your heart starts beating faster and you immediately look back on the past few days and wonder what you did wrong. As you approach the door you start imagining calls to your parents, expulsions and suspensions and the question of how is this meeting going to go.
But then you’re surprised when you walk in and see a new smiling face. It is a young face with slight wrinkles, telling you of the hard work he’s put into his life. It is a face that connects with you and a voice that seems completely genuine: Nathan Reinking.
Nathan Reinking is a new addition; he’s become the Academic Dean. He strives to help students who are struggling in school, for any reason, get help and be able to succeed. “I really wanted to be able to help student and my experience as a teacher was that there are a lot of students who are really struggling and I think it’s a tragedy that decisions you make when you are 16 or 17 affect you for the rest of your life,” Reinking said solemnly.
Reinking was moved from his teaching job at Escondido High School to Orange Glen, when he applied for the dean position, with the hope that he will be able to give struggling students the extra attention they need. Before he had worked as a choir and guitar teacher. This was his first job as Academic Dean.
“I was a little nervous when I showed up,” he said, thinking about his first day, “There’s a different vibe here. It’s just different. The students here are nicer than at my old school.”
But Reinking has one specific set of skills that he brings to the table that is different from most administration workers; his innate authenticity and his ability to laugh at himself. “I’m a grizzled old man, chewed up by the system — that was a joke, make sure you write that,” Reinking quipped.
Reinking not only has ideas on how to help students, he also has a way of connecting with them. “On you all?” he questioned when confronted with a questions of how he felt about the Musket staff, “Oh, you’re horrible,” he said, chuckling to himself and inciting laughter from the class. “I know I come off as a really cool guy but I was into really nerdy choir music,” Reinking said.“ I have a degree in singing so I’m pretty good at that. No, you can’t afford my singing,” Reinking said, chuckling slightly.
He’s is not afraid to be a real person in front of students and laugh at himself, a quality that shows students he can be trusted. “I liked Algebra so much I took it twice. I liked Geometry so much I took it twice,” Reinking said, sounding completely serious, “I know they gave me an F the first time but they knew I really liked it,” he said with a big smile on his face.
Not only can he make connections with students, he continues to be himself around other administrators, such as the other Academic Deans in the Escondido Union High School District, and isn’t afraid to joke around with them. “We call ourselves the dean team,” Reinking said, on the verge of laughter, “And I always say working with them is a dean come true.”
His energy and passion for students is electric. Just listening to his voice gives you an insight into his personality. But overall, Reinking is excited at the prospect of being a Patriot, especially because of the new colors he has a chance to wear. “I like red, white and blue,” Reinking said, his voice wry, “I always felt weird dressed in orange, like I was a traffic cone. My mom says I look better in blue than in orange.”