Ryan Dean and Peter Brown: Two Teachers That Have Taught at Menlo for Over a Decade


Sophie Fang

Menlo teachers Ryan Dean and Peter Brown have both been at Menlo for over a decade, and they’ve noticed various changes within the community throughout their careers. Staff Illustration: Sophie Fang.

Jake Lieberman, Staff Writer

Some Menlo teachers have been at Menlo longer than the number of years students have attended Menlo. Academic Support Coordinator Ryan Dean and History Teacher Peter Brown are within this group of faculty. 

Dean, who’s been in multiple departments and positions, has taught at Menlo for nearly 10 years. He’s now one of the older people in age on the staff. “I’m in the top 20 in age,” Dean said. 

Dean has been able to watch the school grow and has also grown with it. “Menlo has traditionally let staff and teachers do their best. Not every school does that,” he said. When he began his tenure at Menlo, Dean first worked in the history department, eventually becoming the department chair. After this role, he got involved in admissions, the Learning Center and the Developmental Office. He is currently an Academic Support Coordinator. Throughout his time at Menlo, Dean has enjoyed Menlo’s teacher benefits, such as on-campus childcare and retirement benefits. “Menlo protects the ability of its teachers and employees to retire in dignity and has great professional development opportunities,” Dean said.

“Menlo lets teachers be the best that they can be by constantly pushing their horizons, and Menlo takes care of you while you do that,” Dean said.

He also mentioned that Menlo is unique in the opportunities it gives teachers. “[The school] is great at letting you take risks,” Dean said. For example, teachers can try and teach different classes or work in different departments. 

Brown, who started his Menlo career in 1992, is currently in the history department, but similar to Dean, has had several different roles at Menlo. Brown has taught almost every grade at Menlo since he joined, ranging from sixth-grade humanities to sophomore US History. Brown feels fortunate to be at Menlo because he loves his colleagues. “I’ve taught English [and] history; I’ve had different leadership roles, including global programs, which I currently direct,” Brown said.

Another reason that has kept Brown at Menlo for 29 years is his relationship with students. “Students are just a sense of friendliness,” he said. Brown also admires the attitudes of students and teachers at Menlo. “There’s a real genuine concern for the state of the world, for the state of one another, and I think that’s a wonderful thing,” he said. Throughout his Menlo career, he’s continuously felt a sense of belonging. “Menlo fits me well,” he said.

Menlo has always had a progressive philosophy and is open to change to help students thrive, according to Brown. “In the 1990s, there was this sense that students got a good education at Menlo, then went to college, and they were going to be ok,” Brown said. Now, he feels it’s a little different. “Stress is sort of everywhere,” Brown said. “Our world is a different place now than it was three decades ago.” Since he joined the Menlo community, Brown has also noticed changes within the classes offered and their popularity. For example, Brown has seen a significant increase in computer science classes.