Dear Commonwealth Community,
We write to share news of exciting developments.
InCommon and Bill Wharton are thrilled to announce Commonwealth's new Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), Lisa Palmero McGrath. Lisa comes to Commonwealth with two decades of experience at independent schools as a teacher and administrator. For the last decade, she has served in a number of DEI roles. For four years, she served as Director of Diversity and Assistant Director of Admissions at Hopkins School in New Haven. Since 2014, she has been at Westminster School in Simsbury, Connecticut, serving as the Director of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs and Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
Lisa is known as an attentive listener. She has worked successfully with faculty and students—her colleagues see her as a terrific resource, and students see her as a thoughtful, reliable ally. She is equally comfortable partnering with boards and school leaders in planning and in outreach. Lisa is also deeply respected by fellow DEI practitioners in Connecticut: she served as Vice Chair on the Commission on Diversity in Independent Schools for the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools. Lisa will start her new role on August 1.
We have also begun the National Association of Independent Schools Assessment of Inclusion and Multiculturalism (NAIS AIM), first announced by InCommon. On April 16, discovery committees will convene to complete a self-assessment, and next week an online survey of all constituents (current students and parents, faculty and staff, administration, Board members, and alumni/ae from the past five years) will open. The purpose of NAIS AIM is to engage the entire community in qualitative and quantitative information gathering to provide deeper insights into a school's climate and culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion. The survey will help us affirm what we're doing well, identify areas of improvement, and articulate next steps. InCommon Too (David Hodgkins, Don Conolly, Jessica Tomer, Mónica Schilder, Rebecca Jackman, and Sophia Meas) is serving as the AIM steering committee. We will provide a full report to our incoming Head of School Jennifer Borman and our Director of DEI Lisa Palmero McGrath this summer as they begin their work. We anticipate findings will be shared with the Commonwealth community by the start of the 2021–2022 school year.
In addition, plans are underway for this year's Diversity Day, which will be held on Tuesday, May 25. Students will work with faculty members to design and run student-facilitated workshops and activities for the student body.
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or thoughts.
Janique Parrott-Gaffney '04, Mónica Schilder, Sophia Meas, Rebecca Jackman, John Dowd