Heeding the Call to Antiracism

In 2019, Shore completed an audit of its diversity, equity, and inclusion culture with Robert Greene, the principal consultant and leadership coach with Cedar & Burwell Strategic Consulting, a San Francisco-based firm specializing in culturally competent organizational development. The final report produced by Greene and his team helped to identify concrete steps that Shore could take to address the perceived delta between its aspirations for inclusion, and its actions. While Shore had historically made diversity work a priority, community members felt there was an opportunity to further embed the values of inclusion into our culture. Greene urged the Board to begin by writing a unifying vision statement and to commit to ongoing education and training in cultural competency. In other words, the first step was to shift the culture to one that prioritized ongoing training and exploration over episodic and isolated actions.

Hearing the call, the Board of Trustees immediately wove anti-bias and cultural competency training into its meetings, as did the entire employee base. The Diversity Committee of the Board became the Equity & Inclusion Committee and there was full engagement by every trustee. This May, the Board approved Shore’s new Equity and Inclusion Commitment released to the community earlier this month.

The next step will be for us as a school to look carefully at what we teach and how we teach. Shore’s aspirations for our community go beyond tolerance; we want to raise children who can make a difference in the world because they not only feel their identities are valuable, but also feel empowered to take action. We must raise them to understand the dimensions and intersection of bias, privilege and activism. In the coming year, the faculty and administration will research and test curriculums that integrate these themes and expectations into the rich educational experience for which Shore is so well known. This will build on some of the work we have already done through the Lower School sexuality program, and an Upper School review of literature and history texts. As a Head of School, I am proud to have the deep partnership of a faculty, staff, and administration that have been advocating for this at the same time as being willing to investigate and understand their own implicit biases. There is much work to be done as we continue to implement the recommendations given to us by experts like Robert Greene.

As Shore continues to define the conversation for itself, I offer the outstanding resource below, featuring Greene and his partner, Wanda Holland Greene. In 2008, Wanda and I participated in the NAIS New Heads’ Institute, having each secured our first headships. Leading The Hamlin School for Girls in San Francisco for more than a decade, Wanda’s perspective is the perfect partner to Robert’s consulting work. I share this piece with you because of the clear message it promotes around the importance of each and every one of us stepping into our obligation. Having values is not enough—it never was. We must now learn to live our values with action and accountability; we must also raise our children to do so. You will be better as a parent and a human if you take the time to watch "Heeding the Call to Antiracism." I am grateful to people like Wanda and Robert, who are willing to model tremendous leadership and inspiration through their personal and professional experience.