Getting to know one of the newest staff members

Security Specialist Dwayne enters his new position with charisma, building relationships and making students feel seen

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Maria Fonvielle

Dwayne greets students in the halls.

Maria Fonvielle, Staff Reporter

Originally from Seattle, Ballard’s new security specialist, Dwayne Mattis, also known as Dwayne by students, has already formed meaningful connections with students and says he feels welcomed and accepted in the halls after relocating from Miami.

Mattis plans on becoming a physical education teacher, saying his preferable grades to teach are high schoolers, after previously teaching elementary schoolers.

“Elementary schoolers are not for me,” Mattis said. “They are cute individually, but a full class is too much for me.”

Mattis previously worked security for McClure Middle School for a year, making his transition to Ballard easier when seeing familiar faces from former McClure students. 

“They kind of spread the word, like, ‘hey, he’s a nice guy, [you can] talk to him’ and everyone else fell into the loop,” Mattis said. 

The spreading of this word proved to be quick and effective, as Dwayne can always be found conversing and checking in with students in his office, located in the Commons during lunch, and in passing periods.

In order to facilitate these student connections, Dwayne’s strategy is “meeting them where they’re at.” By learning what a student’s interests and passions are, Dwayne is able to have more genuine conversations with them in an attempt to create the most welcoming atmosphere possible. In the case of seniors, Mattis is excited to hear about student’s plans for the future. 

There are some really great kids here at Ballard, and I’m excited to see some of them grow to the next level.”

— Dwayne Mattis

“There are some really great kids at Ballard, and I’m excited to see some of them grow to the next level,” Mattis said. 

Whether it’s going to student’s football games, checking in with someone sitting alone at lunch, hearing about future plans, or just asking “what’s up?”, his main goal is to make all students feel seen.

This goal is based on his personal experience in school. 

“A lot of my teachers didn’t really know me,” Mattis said. “They knew my name, but they didn’t know anything about me.” 

This inspired him to try and form a connection with as many students as possible. 

And it appears to be working, according to freshman Bryce Stoner.

“It’s always fun to run into Dwayne in the halls,” Stoner said. “Talking with him is never awkward.”

Former McClure students, including Stoner, have expressed how seeing a familiar face made their transition from middle to high school easier.