DEI, Vulnerability/Risk-Taking

Do it Afraid…

In June 2019, Superintendent Light announced a strategic move to continue ABRSD’s efforts to increase our focus on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), where I would shift my current role as Assistant Superintendent for Student Services to Assistant Superintendent for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. The goal for this new position is to provide continued leadership and support to create more equitable and inclusive schools within the District.

So the first thing we wrestled with was creating the job description for this position. What would it entail? How does it interface with central office leaders, building principals, and educators? What opportunities might shining a light on these three areas- Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)– provide for the District as we move forward? While the job description is technically “final” (for now, anyhow), the answers to these questions will be ones we seek to answer in the months and years ahead. In the words of Theoharis et al., I will have to, “Do it afraid. There is no manual.”

Early this summer, I had the privilege of attending a literacy/equity retreat with four of our district’s educators. Here, I met the amazing author and educator Cornelius Minor, who shared the following thought, “There is great inertia generated in a culture where people are afraid to make mistakes.” Personally, I often feel extremely constrained to “get it right” in a community like ours that holds incredibly high standards for its school system. As I have interacted with many of our educators and building leaders over the last three years, I hear them express this same worry, also. So the question I am grappling with is how do we build classrooms and schools that are equitable and inclusive for our students if we are afraid to make mistakes? And for me, there is a clear answer to this big question- we do it afraid, and we do it together.