Interviewing Mr. Dean and Dr. Quam

Annika Binstadt, Staff Writer

In an effort to introduce new faculty to students and welcome them to MPA, I have been sitting down with new teachers and staff and asking them some questions about themselves, MPA, and their interests. Some of these newer faces were those of Jay Dean and Justin Quam, who were gracious enough to let me interview them. Get to know them a little bit better! If you want to say hello in person, Mr. Dean’s office is in the Upper School Office, while Dr. Quam’s is in the College Counseling Office. 

The first responses come from Mr. Dean, while the second responses come from Mr. Quam. 

Q: What are your name and pronouns, your position at MPA, and what you would like to be called by students? 

A: My name is Jay Dean, and my preferred pronouns are he, him, his. I am the Upper School Assistant Director. Students can call me Mr. Dean. 

 A: My name is Justin Quam. I use he/him. Students can call me Mr. Quam, and I am a college counselor. 

 Q: Where were you working/living before joining MPA? 

A: Prior to joining the MPA community I was at The Blake School in Hopkins for 11 years where I served most recently as the Middle School Director. Before that, I worked as a middle school English and Screenwriting teacher and Middle School at Crossroads School for Arts & Sciences in Santa Monica, CA. 

A: I was working at the Saint Paul schools (just north of Baltimore), and I was doing college counseling but also teaching German and global politics. 

Q: What made you decide to come to MPA? 

A: I am drawn to the school’s mission and its focus on the whole child, and I wanted to work at a smaller school in which the entire PreK-12 community shared the same campus. 

A: I’ve been in education for years. I have actually wanted to work with kids since my first summer as a camp counselor. I came to MPA because I wanted to be closer to my family. My brother and sister both live in St. Paul, and so does my 2-month-old niece. 

Q: What is your favorite part of MPA so far? 

A: In my short time here, I’d say the highlight was being at the Senior Sunrise on the first day of school. I’m excited about this Senior class. 

A: I love that my office is right next to the recital hall. It seems cliché to say, but the community has been incredibly welcoming, people have really gone out of their way to greet me by name and ask how things are going, and you really don’t see that everywhere. 

 Q: Do you have any kids/pets/partners?  

A: I live in St. Louis Park with my wife Karen and our two kids: Lucas, 12, and Isla, 9. We do not have any pets but my kids, especially Isla, have been begging us for a mini Goldendoodle non-stop for the last two years. Maybe this is the year. 

 A: I live alone with my books and my origami! 

Q: What is your favorite sport (to play or watch)? 

A: I used to be a year-round competitive soccer player but now my focus is on long-distance running. I am currently training for a trail half-marathon. I am a die-hard fan of the Boston Red Sox and Boston Celtics. I also love March Madness and watching the World Cup every four years. 

 A: I run, and if I ever do watch something with my family, it would be tennis. 

 Q: What is your favorite thing you did over the summer? 

A: I have two. First, I traveled to southeastern Massachusetts to visit family and then my wife and I traveled to Santa Barbara, CA for a college friend’s wedding.  

 A: I was working at Concordia Language Villages co-directing their German program. I have worked out there for years, but this was my first time as co-dean. It was terrifying but very rewarding, and I felt very lucky to be working with that team of teachers and colleagues. 

 Q: Is there anything else you would like students to know about you? 

A: Nothing for me! 

A: I look forward to meeting all of the students! If you have any questions about the college application process, please feel free to make a meeting with me whenever you like. I am focusing on giving feedback on college essays and giving mock interviews, if anyone has an interview coming up that they would like to prep for. I am open to talking to anyone about anything college-search related though! 

Many thanks to Mr. Dean and Mr. Quam for the interviews!