DIVERSITY EQUITY COMMITTEE

WSESU/WSESD OFFICE OF DIVERSITY, EQUITY AND SOCIAL JUSTICE

WSESU/WSESD Diversity Equity Committee is comprised of teacher leaders from each school and other community members. The district-wide committee meets twice a month, and teacher leaders facilitate staff meetings at their schools once a month focused on issues of equity and social justice.

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DEC COMMITTEE MEMBERS

SARAH KALTENBAUGH, ACADEMY

Teaching kindness is not enough. Teaching justice and equity allows students to start to see themselves in the broader context of the story we are creating together, and begin to find their place in our community.

SHANNON KELLY, WSESU

Shannon Kelly (she/her) is Equity and Social Justice Coach for grades K-8 this year. Having served as a Diversity Teacher Leader for the last few years, Shannon is looking forward to this new opportunity to support staff and students in our district’s ongoing work toward equity and social justice.

ANA OCASIO, ACADEMY

As a school counselor my job is helping ensure students have the supports that they need to access their full potential. Social justice and equity are integral to this work, and consistently guide my practice as a counselor and a lifelong learner.

MIKAELA SIMMS, WSESU

Mikaela Simms has been working as WSESU Diversity Coordinator for over 10 years. She arrived in Vermont by way of the San Francisco Bay Area and Guinea West Africa; where She taught middle school with an emphasis on Social Justice. In her current role she emphasizes humanizing every situation and making connections across disciplines and other dividing lines. “Our job as educators is to be curious about every student and colleague. It is through deep inquiry that we learn about ourselves and the equitable world we wish build.”

MIKE SZOSTAK, BUHS

Mike Szostak is a restorative justice and practices educator, consultant, and mediator. After a 30-year career in corporate America, he has spent the last 20 years in the not-for-profit and public school sectors doing restorative work. This has involved working with: homeless families, people reentering our community from prison, people referred by our court system, teenagers coming to a drop-in center for help, and most recently, kids trying to adjust to middle school and high school environments. “Restorative work means finding ways to repair and build healthy relationships among individuals and with our communities. This provides the foundation for a more just, inclusive, and nurturing environment for everyone and a pathway to address income, gender, racial, and other inequities that plague us.”