Dear St. George’s Community,
St. George’s strives to embody perseverance, integrity, compassion and respect. With our mission in mind, as Chair of the Board of Trustees, I am happy to announce our support of the ongoing Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) work at St. George’s. This work flows naturally from the school’s Episcopal identity as the Episcopal Church in the United States has long had a commitment to the work of increasing justice and equity in our society. To launch our engagement this year at our annual board retreat in September, board members participated in a JEDI workshop led by the local nonprofit group Beloved Community. Additionally, the Board has unanimously voted to establish a JEDI Trustee Task Force as part of the school’s strategic planning. The task force is chaired by Veronica Gillispie-Bell, MD; Jonathan Leit, Anne Michaels, and Cathy Schieffelin serve as committee members.
The JEDI work is being accomplished by several committees that touch all facets of St. George’s—the JEDI Trustee Task Force, The JEDI Faculty/Staff Committee and the forthcoming JEDI Parents Group. The work of the JEDI Trustee Task Force will be to ensure the governance work of the Board is done through a lens of equity, a focus that is inline with the school’s overall mission.
The Faculty/Staff JEDI Committee, formed in April, has been working to improve their JEDI skills and the school’s. Their initial work from spring to summer brought a partnership with the nonprofit organization Overcoming Racism. This organization led the full faculty and staff through two days of intensive seminars in August, and the work continues with sessions this winter and spring. Additionally, this week, six faculty and staff members are attending the People of Color Conference, NAIS’s flagship diversity, equity and inclusion professional development programming. The JEDI Committee’s broader scope is to offer recommendations on the “four p’s” of their focus: school policy, practice, programs, and people.
JEDI Parent outreach has begun with the first meeting in late October and fireside chats to begin later this month.
In addition, we have engaged a nationally-renowned educator and institutional equity practitioner, Rebecca Hong, as a consultant this year. She is advising Dr. Kreutziger, the trustee task force, and key members of our leadership team, including JEDI members. She will also engage our faculty in professional development.
With all that is already underway, the work of building justice, equity, diversity and inclusion into the foundation of St. George’s is longitudinal and will take time. As Chair of the Board, and with full support of the Board, we are fiercely committed to this work. We cannot live out the mission of our school without this commitment. Through this work we will infuse JEDI directly into our community and our daily lives as a school. You should expect occasional updates from the different task forces about their progress. To begin, I am announcing the launch of our JEDI Corner on the school’s website, expected in January, that will include different resources on how you can support this work. I do hope all of you will join as the school engages in this important part of its mission.
Alex Breckinridge '95