Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Justice, and Accessibility

Commitment to DEIJA

As a white man, I understand the importance of seeking perspectives of those whose lived experiences differ from mine. As a queer-identifying person, I understand the importance of providing safe spaces for LGBTQ+ people to be their authentic selves. Whether in an executive management, board, or staff capacity, I fiercely advocate with an equity lens and active inclusion of BIPOC individuals across genders and abilities who have not traditionally been part of decision-making spaces monopolized by white people, and mostly cisgender men.

My own lived experiences have shaped who I am today. I grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin – one of the most segregated cities in the United States of America, yet was fortunate to attend public schools with a predominant Black/African American population. Most of my teachers, kindergarten through eighth grade were Black women, who incorporated much of their own rich heritage into the classroom, where I was regularly immersed in Black history and traditions. When I returned to teach at my alma mater, my own lived experiences as well as a focus on culturally responsive and relevant teaching were key to fostering engagement and success in my students. This was especially embraced in the International Baccalaureate program in which I taught, where incorporating myriad cultures into curriculum was central to the program's philosophy.

I spent a semester teaching in the People's Republic of China, immersing myself in a culture and place vastly different from my own experiences. I needed to practice cultural competence in my daily life, as well as in the classroom, again, to promote meaningful learning outcomes in my students.

As a gay man, I understand the importance of safe spaces and providing visibility as an out-educator and nonprofit leader. I have had students disclose their LGBTQ+ identities to me, so I could help them find the best resources for affirming their authentic selves, while navigating the often complicated circumstances of hiding their identities in their personal lives.

Finally, as someone who is neurodivergent, I understand the importance of overcoming mental and emotional health obstacles and fostering accessibility.