Kindness bulletin board at Founders

In the spring of 2023, the School Board approved the addition of two Dean of Restorative Behavior positions to support Founders and Gwendolyn Brooks Elementary schools, beginning with the start of the fall 2024 semester. Surray Williams, M.A. (Founders) and DeLandon Mason, M.A. (Gwendolyn Brooks) are entering their second semesters as Deans of Restorative Behaviors. Both note that they are seeing many positive changes due to the dedicated efforts they can bring to their respective schools, such as students better understanding the impact of their behaviors and how to properly express their frustration instead of resorting to anger or other forms of misconduct.
The purpose of the positions is to support the process by which children develop fundamental emotional and social competencies and experiences. Williams and Mason work with their building leadership teams and the district’s social-emotional learning coordinator, Sara Bates, to provide oversight of restorative practices to improve student behavior. They also work to establish effective rapport with students and families to develop the attitudes and knowledge needed for a safe and orderly school environment.  

Principal Connie Rohlman with Surray Williams

Founders Principal Connie Rohlman with Surray Williams, Dean of Restorative Practices.


“I look at every student at Founders as a little garden,’ said Williams. “We have been given the honor to plant good seeds in these little gardens, knowing that our work will not be in vain, but at the right time and in the right season, our wonderful students will flourish into good, mature citizens of our community.”
Implementing restorative practices supports student behavior plans by helping individual students understand the consequences of their actions, address challenging issues, and resolve conflict with respect. Restorative practices include a variety of tactics, such as active listening, affective statements, team building, setting classroom agreements, small impromptu conferencing, and community-building circles where students can openly express their frustrations and promote healthy, respectful dialogue. These strategies are facets of social-emotional learning that focus on building relationships and repairing harm rather than simply punishing students for misbehavior.
The Deans also consult with staff regarding students’ needs, regularly lead parent education meetings, and collaborate on building threat assessment procedures. With required job training and professional growth opportunities to enhance these essential job functions, the Deans are equipped to manage classrooms effectively and assist with implementing goals and objectives for school improvement plans.  

DeLandon Mason, Dean of Restorative Practices at Gwendolyn Brooks Elementary

DeLandon Mason, Dean of Restorative Practices at Gwendolyn Brooks Elementary


“I cherish the opportunity to help students develop skills that will aid them in resolving conflict and taking ownership of their actions,” said Mason. “I feel that helping students hone these skills at the elementary level will facilitate personal growth and lifelong success. I also appreciate collaborating with a dedicated team that works hard to build and maintain a school environment that is conducive to learning.” 
About Surray Williams

Surray Williams earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Northern Illinois University in 2014 and a Master of Arts in Special Education from Grand Canyon University in 2011. Williams began her journey as an educator in the district in December of 2014 as an instructional assistant at Malta Elementary School. In addition to her previously held position at Malta, Williams has also held the position of Literacy Assistant at Founders and Special Education Teacher at Dekalb High School, where she found her passion for student safety and student discipline services. 
She believes that compassion holds the key to touching the hearts and minds of others and that she is privileged to be in a position that allows her to tailor to the needs of the students at Founders. 
About DeLandon Mason 

DeLandon Mason began his education career in DeKalb CUSD 428 in 2015, starting as an assistant, working as a substitute, and then transitioning to a fifth-grade teacher. Mason holds a bachelor’s degree in music and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Northern Illinois University. He is currently pursuing a Master of Education for Principalship at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and is working toward a certificate in School Justice Reform at Loyola University Chicago. 

Mason sees his position as Dean of Restorative Practices as an opportunity to equip the students at Brooks with the means to be responsible adults someday. 


Comments are closed