Compassion is Key

An interview with Mr. Weaver, Prairie Ridge dean

Compassion is Key

Mr. Weaver, new dean at Prairie Ridge High School, has an impressive résumé. A graduate from The University of Iowa with a Bachelor’s in Psychology, Mr. Weaver has been a part of the three graduate programs. At Northern Illinois University he received a Masters in Education with an emphasis on Special Education and another that endorsed him as a reading teacher. At Northeastern, he received a degree in School Leadership. However, his credibility come not from his degrees, but his life experience.

Listening to Mr. Weaver speak, it is hard not to feel inspired. When asked why he chose to take over the role of Dean of Students, it was not surprising to hear Mr. Weaver say that the position was the next “opportunity… to help young people through difficult circumstances.”

Helping people through difficult circumstances was always a passion for Mr. Weaver, and he experienced the first opportunity to use his passion as a career when he began working for the Department of Children and Family Services in a group home, Maryville Academy. The children inspired Mr. Weaver. “On say, Christmas morning . . . . any gift in the world didn’t replace the idea they were away from their family.” Yet, even in these circumstances Mr. Weaver saw kids showing true resilience. “They make the best of [a bad] situation and become successful.” Through the children he met at his first job out of college, Mr. Weaver learned to move forward through difficult times, and gave him the inspiration to become a Special Education teacher.

As a special education teacher, Mr. Weaver provided life experience to his students. Mr. Weaver recalled his goal was to “bring some of the experiences [from Maryville] to the classroom.” He found great success teaching with life experiences. Mr. Weaver explained “there was hope for anybody.” The years spent as a special ed teacher helped Mr the Weaver “solidify the idea that [he] was doing the right thing,” working to help students make the best of their situations.

From his work at Maryville to Central, and Central to Prairie Ridge, Mr. Weaver has learned many life lessons; however, one ranks above all else: “Be compassionate.” Through his years working with young people, Mr. Weaver has learned that while each student may have his or her own niche, “everybody has the ability to show compassion; everybody has the ability to care for one another; everybody has the ability… to put others before him or herself.” Above all, as the students of Prairie Ridge move through their daily lives and prepare for their futures, Mr. Weaver leaves one key piece of advice: “Be known for your compassion.”