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New head of Dunn School selected to start next academic year

New head of Dunn School selected to start next academic year

From the What you need to know: This week's top headlines series
102020 Dunn School Kalyan Balaven

Kalyan Balaven will assume the role as head of school starting next academic school year, replacing Mike Beck who has been serving as the head of Dunn School since 2008.

Dunn School has announced that effective July 1, Kalyan Balaven will succeed 13-year Head of School Mike Beck, who will finish the current school year and work to assure a smooth transition for his successor. 

Balaven, who holds a bachelor's in history from UC Berkeley and a doctorate from UC Davis, has served in various capacities in education that include a 13-year career at The Athenian School in Danville, where he has held the role of humanities instructor, dean of equity and inclusion, acting head of school, and currently, director of teaching and learning.

He also is responsible for creating the Inclusion Dashboard Consortium, a group of over 85 schools, recognized by the National Association of Independent Schools, that are building inclusion dashboards designed by him.

Born in India and raised in California, Balaven practiced law for a brief time before finding his calling in education.

"I became an educator to help prepare students to do good in the world, and I'm overjoyed in carrying on this work in service to the mission at Dunn, where the journey of a student is as valued as the end result and the end is articulated as 'responsible leadership in society,'" Balaven said.

Acting chairman of Dunn School Board of Trustees, Jay Conger, explained that the school's Head Search Committee began its one-year recruiting process in search for "the strongest and best-matched candidate" from across the country.

After an extensive due diligence process that included students, faculty, staff, parents and alumni, Conger said, between three final candidates and recommended by unanimous vote, Balaven was recognized as the best choice for reasons of demonstrated hands-on and leadership experience, philosophical perspective, alignment with Dunn’s mission and "contagious positive energy that will guide Dunn School into its future as the leader in whole student education."

Balaven will be joined on campus by his wife Fatemeh, an elementary school teacher, and his two children, Husna, 11, and son Matin, 7.

Lisa André covers local news and lifestyles for Santa Ynez Valley News. 

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