The work never stops, especially within DEI leadership teams dedicated to building inclusive communities, externally—enriching daily life throughout schools—and internally—within the team as well as the individuals themselves.
This summer, Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Michelle Black, alongside DEI Co-Leaders: Barbara Beachler, Upper School English teacher; Kathryn Inch, Lower School teacher; Susan Coffman-King, Business Office Associate; and Sally Ingram, Middle School Theology teacher, shared how employing a co-leadership model has benefited the team both internally and externally in their presentation “Building DEI Teams Across the Divisions” at the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools (NCGS) Virtual Conference—Girls’ Schools: Building Communities of Belonging. The team’s presentation highlighted how sharing the responsibilities has helped bridge gaps between the divisions and empowered co-leaders to be creative when developing programming, even resulting in more opportunities for student leadership.
Most importantly, the team agrees that using the co-leadership model is exemplary of Goal IV: The building of community as a Christian value. As co-leaders, each member is encouraged to participate in open discussions to share ideas and give constructive feedback. This type of interchange enables individuals to contribute more and show off complementary strengths. Ms. Coffman-King adds that her experience as a co-leader has opened her up to more collaboration throughout her work in the school, “it’s mind-expanding in that regard,” she says.
After sharing their experiences, audience members engaged in a robust Q&A and were mining the presenters for more information and resources. Presenting at NCGS also offered Ms. Black and the DEI Co-leaders the opportunity to reflect on their humble beginnings to becoming a full-fledged team. With more representation from the divisions and staff alike, the model encourages “mission building across our school,” Ms. Beachler says, “I think it’s much more inclusive and equitable.”
- Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion