Faculty in residence

Instructor Ellee Dean '01 on faculty life in New Hall.

November 1, 2022
A mother, father and two sons

Scenes from a faculty apartment.

Ellee Dean ’01 is still settling into her home on the second floor of Exeter’s newest residence hall. “We’ve had two all-dorm meetings so far, and I think the vibe seems really playful,” she says. “The kids and adults are all talking about this being a historic moment … and a real opportunity to create something fresh.”

An instructor in English and one of five resident faculty members taking charge of New Hall, Dean shares the apartment with her husband, Porter Hayes, a regional director of major gifts in Exeter’s Office of Institutional Advancement; their sons Bode, 10, and Wyatt, 8; and the family’s dog, Bruno. It’s one of five faculty residences in New Hall, including at least one on each floor of student living space.

All feature hardwood floors, spacious open-plan kitchens and living areas, and air conditioning, in addition to separate faculty entrances, dedicated parking spaces and two shared patios. 

Wyatt Hayes with a copter in his new bedroom.

“We’ve talked about how nice it’s going to be to have our dorm team meeting and sit outside,” Dean says. “I’m also so excited about the bigger common spaces for the students. … I think having that big outdoor space in front of the dorm is going to be incredible. I can already imagine the kids having picnics out there.”

Dean’s apartment, like the other faculty residences, has a study that opens directly into the student hallway. The setup is ideal for dorm duty and fosters strong ties between resident faculty and students. Dean’s study contains a table with four chairs and a roll of kraft paper mounted on the wall, perfect for students — and kids — in the mood for a writing or drawing session.

Elle Dean '01 and her son, Wyatt Hayes.

Wyatt Hayes kicking back.

Dean has more experience than most with dorm life at Exeter. A resident of Amen Hall during her student years, she has lived in Webster Hall and Merrill Hall since joining the Academy as a faculty member in 2013. As a parent, she admits that living in a dorm has its perks. “There are always a ton of kids volunteering to babysit,” Dean says. Bode and Wyatt have also taken piano and chess lessons from student members of the Exeter Student Service Organization.

For their part, her children seem relatively unfazed by their new surroundings. Bode likes living closer to his elementary school, and to the adjacent fields where he plays baseball and lacrosse. Although Wyatt’s bedroom has a stunning view of the Academy Building’s bell tower, he’s far more excited to show off the LED lights his parents installed and his collection of Boston Celtics gear.

Wyatt does muster some enthusiasm for seeing familiar students and meeting new ones as the school year begins — particularly if those meetings involve the dorm’s basement game room. “I might play some Ping-Pong,” he says hopefully, before rushing down the hall to join his family.


Editor's Note: This interview first appeared in the fall 2022 issue of The Exeter Bulletin.

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