Alile Eldridge will become Park’s next Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion on July 1, 2021.
The launch of Park’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Implementation Plan represents months of collaboration between administration, faculty, staff, and parents centered on ensuring that, as a community of diverse races, religions, cultures, and backgrounds united by a shared mission, we strive to meet our commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and antiracism.
The Park School Board of Trustees is actively committed to advancing the School’s work in fostering an anti-racist educational community. Among the Board’s leading priorities this year is supporting and monitoring the DEI Implementation Plan through targeted board development work and also through membership on the DEIIP Steering Committee. In addition, working with the Head of School and the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, the Board will draft and publish an equity and inclusion values statement clearly articulating the School’s commitment to anti-racism.
Park has created a Steering Committee to help support and monitor the DEI Implementation Plan and timeline, and support efforts to communicate progress. The Steering Committee is composed of members of the current campus community drawn from Park administration, faculty, staff, parents, and members of the Board of Trustees.
Suzy Akin (Faculty/Staff Representative), joined Park in July 2020 as Director of Strategic Marketing & Communications, with over two decades working in independent school education as an administrator, English teacher, and advisor. The parent of two grown sons, she brings a deep commitment to nurturing a culture of inclusion and belonging within school communities, and to working together to grow beyond the perspectives that come naturally to us, as we learn to understand each other and the world around us in new ways.
Celina Barrios-Millner (PA DEI Committee Co-Chair), parent of two current Park students, joined the Park Community in 2016. As an immigrant and a person of color, she has experienced what it’s like to navigate spaces that were not designed to include people of different backgrounds, as well as those specifically designed to exclude them. She has devoted her professional life to developing policies and programs that foster equity and inclusion at the local, state and national levels and is excited to bring this experience to the Park community.
Sarah Holden (PA DEI Committee Co-Chair), parent of two Park students, has been a member of the Park community for seven years. She has been a member of the Park Parents’s Association DEI Committee since joining the Park community and currently serves as one of its four co-chairs. Sarah has over 20 years experience working in schools and educational nonprofits, leading work that supports first generation students, students of color, and low income families to and through college degree attainment. As a white parent raising multiracial children she brings both professional and personal commitment to this important work.
Lesley Ryan Miller (Board of Trustees DEI Subcommittee Co-Chair), a Park Trustee since 2018 and the parent of a current Park student, brings to Park over 20 years of education experience both in the classroom as a teacher and as a school and district administrator. Principal of the John Pierce School, a K-8 public elementary school in Brookline Village that serves over 850 students.Thinking about Park’s work in DEI, she notes,“We must be willing to examine our values, behaviors, and policies in order to be a fully inclusive school community. This is an imperative step not just for some students and families, but for all students and families.”
Rebecca Nordhaus (Board of Trustees DEI Subcommittee Co-Chair), parent of two current Park students and one alumna, joined the Board of Trustees in 2017, and serves as a Co-Chair of the Board’s DEI Committee. Rebecca and her husband live in Brookline with their three daughters, two dogs and a guinea pig. She notes, “The data are clear that educational excellence requires that all students experience equity and a strong sense of belonging. Park’s DEI Implementation Plan is a critical step to creating a fully inclusive community where all students thrive.” Rebecca hopes to encourage engagement with the DEI conversation among all members of the Park community.
Elyse Seltzer (Faculty/Staff Representative), is Park’s Upper Division Librarian and DEI Liaison. Now in her fifth year at Park, she also teaches Grade 7 Growth Education. As an educator of color and the parent of a Black boy, Elyse is deeply invested in this antiracist work at Park. She observes, “Park has so many individuals doing great work all over and I am happy to be a part of this group that brings together all constituents to harness the power to dismantling racist systems and build a more equitable, inclusive and anti-racist community together.”
Connie Yepez (Steering Committee Co-Chair), Park’s Director of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion, is in her fifth year at Park, but her knowledge of Park and its students extends back across her years as an admission professional at Groton, Nobles, and Concord Academy. Her own experiences as a student of color and a financial aid recipient at Groton informs her approach and provides perspective. She observes, “My time as faculty at several schools has also given me a perspective about the value and power of representation - for students, families, and colleagues - of seeing a person of color in a leadership role. The work brings me joy when students know me and feel cared for by me. The DEIIP is a manifestation of the way in which I hope to lead bringing some positive change to Park.”
Scott Young (Steering Committee Co-Chair), Head of School, arrived at Park in the summer of 2018, and is the parent of a current Park PreK student. During his 20 years as an educator, diversity, equity, and inclusion have been central themes in his work. Park’s reputation and commitment to excellence in this area was one of the many attributes that drew him to Park. The critical work defined by the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Implementation plan is central to his work as Head of School, and he is grateful for the partnership of all who share in this commitment.