Director of Diversity, Equity and Engagement Search

This spring, DA engaged in a national search process for the Director of Diversity, Equity and Engagement to succeed Kemi Nonez. The search committee interviewed 13 semifinalist candidates culled from a pool of 115 applicants. More than 80 students, parents, faculty, staff, administrators and trustees then interviewed three candidates during on-campus finalist visits.

After reference checking and patient discussion and reflection, Head of School Michael Ulku-Steiner decided not to hire any of the finalist candidates. This decision was difficult (as each finalist had compelling characteristics) but the right one for the school. The search committee, Administrative Team and DEE coordinator team all endorsed the decision, recognizing that none of the three finalists had the full constellation of skills, traits and experience to help DA surge forward with DEE initiatives.

In July, DA will relaunch the DEE director search in conjunction with an experienced national search and placement firm. “I am confident that we are making the right decision not to hurry the process or settle for a leader who has not won our total confidence,” Ulku-Steiner said. “We will broaden the time and geographic scope of the search and engage the head-hunting networks of an experienced firm, and we will construct an interim leadership solution that allows us to accelerate our progress, not pause it.”

For the 2021–2022 school year, a small “ensemble cast” of proven internal leaders will advance DA’s DEE work. DA is lucky to have committed, talented faculty who have distinguished themselves as capable of leading DEE initiatives and raised their hands for more responsibility next year. Among them:

  • College Counseling Dean/Upper School DEE Coordinator Jazmin Garcia Smith will represent the DEE team on the schoolwide Administrative Team and collaborate with DA parent Selena Keegan to lead the board’s DEE committee.

  • Upper School history teacher/DEE Coordinator Paul Slack and learning specialist/Middle School DEE Coordinator Dr. Cindy Moore will join Garcia Smith in launching parent affinity groups.

  • Preschool/Lower School librarian/DEE Coordinator Michelle Rosen, Upper School Chinese teacher Bonnie Wang (Middle School/Upper School) and Assistant Head of School Kristen Klein (pre-k through 12) will lead our work with curriculum mapping and improvement 

  • Upper School history teacher/DEE Coordinator Kelly Teagarden will facilitate communication and collaboration of the DEE coordinator team across divisions

  • Extended Day Director/Lower School DEE Coordinator Dan Gilson and Garcia Smith will coordinate our faculty/staff affinity groups

  • As part of her new work with institutional research, Director of Strategic Initiatives Victoria Muradi will help define relevant DEE metrics — building a dashboard to track and communicate progress internally and externally.

DA is grateful to the search committee below for their dozens of thoughtful hours of service to the school:

  • Christian Hairston-Randleman, Preschool Director, Middle School parent, parent of alumni

  • Rashaunte Hinnant Mitchell, DEE representative to the Parents Association, Lower/Middle School parent

  • Jazmin Garcia Smith, Dean of College Counseling, Lower School parent

  • Selena Keegan, Chair of the DEE Board Committee, Lower/Middle School parent

  • Kristen Klein, Assistant Head of School

  • Crawford Leavoy, Director of Speech and Debate and Global Programs Coordinator

  • Victoria Muradi, Director of Enrollment Management, Preschool/Lower School parent

  • Edwin Poston, Board of Trustees Treasurer, Lower/Middle School parent, parent of alumna

  • Jesús Sánchez, Middle School Spanish teacher

  • Bonnie Wang, Upper School Chinese teacher, ACTFL D&I Task Force, Board Member of FLANC and SCOLT