Kane Willis ’11 Named New Upper School Dean at Poly Prep
Kane Willis ’11 is the new Upper School Dean at Poly Prep Country Day, an independent school in Brooklyn, New York. Founded in 1854, Poly Prep has over 1,100 students, with 528 enrolled in the Upper School. “I’m really looking forward to creating strong relationships with the students. At Haverford where I served as Assistant Director of Admissions and Access and Diversity Initiatives, I was hardly on campus enough to form strong relationships with the students. Obviously, the pandemic has put a slight wrench in this, but even though we don’t get to interact in person, students and parents have been very responsive to my team and it’s been a positive outcome in spite of the current situation. When I was at Webb, I was in the unique position of being one of very few Black and Brown students at a time where we had no Black or Brown teachers or administration on campus. At Poly Prep (where 39% of the students identify as persons of color), I want to help students and their parents navigate a predominantly white institution (PWI) and learn to claim space and find their voice. I’ve been navigating PWI’s for 12 years now and I hope to pass down the knowledge I’ve gained to help underrepresented students learn and see that they belong at these institutions and help them create institutional change so that they are fully supported. This – and the advanced organizational skills that I learned at Webb (and still use today) – are the things I hope to bring to Poly.” Kane was, and continues to be, an active member of the Webb community. As a student, he was ASB Vice President and served as captain of the WSC basketball team, earning All-CIF honors in his junior year. He also competed in tennis and water polo. As an alumnus, he has been a class agent, a Teaching Fellow in Webb’s Summer Programs, a guest speaker for an Affiliates young alumni panel, an alumni mentor in the Webb@Work program, and a member of the Hastings Society. Kane went on to earn a B.A. from Amherst College with a double major in English and Political Science with concentrations in psychoanalysis and international studies. He also received an M.S. in Education from Johns Hopkins University with concentrations in Social Policy, Secondary Education and Science Education. Prior to his time at Haverford he served in the Teach for America program, working as an educator and college counselor in Hawai’i. He is the founder of the Holomua Scholars program, which supports underrepresented students on their journey to college. Since the program’s inception a few years ago, it has helped students attain millions of dollars in scholarship money to attend college. Click here to read more about Kane’s appointment at Poly Prep.