Prior to coming to Webster Groves School District, Dr. Shane Williamson was the chief diversity officer at Lindenwood University. Now, she’s excited to try new things in a similar, brand new position at Webster.
As the first person to hold the title of director of diversity, equity and inclusion, Williamson hopes to “shape and mold the position to what the school district needs.”
Williamson plans to accomplish this through a variety of tasks within her first year, one of which she has recently completed.
“One of my goals for this year was to help make the anti-bias anti-racism [policies] official, which was passed and approved by the board of education on Jan. 28, 2021,” Williamson said.
These policies have since been made official and implemented in the school district. The need for official anti-racism policies and promoting diversity has been becoming clear; in a blog post on the U.S. Department of Education website “Homeroom,” U.S. Department of Education classroom teaching ambassador fellow Patrick Kelly emphasizes the importance of classroom diversity.
Notable colleges, scholars and educators have echoed the sentiment that anti-racism and classroom diversity are important- Drexel University’s website states, “Not only does creating greater multicultural awareness and inclusion help students with different backgrounds and needs succeed, but it encourages acceptance and helps prepare students to thrive in an exponentially diverse world.”
Webster is joining a growing number of schools that have put official policies such as this in place; New York University, Dartmouth and Wheaton College and some U.S. high schools are just a few examples.
While these new policies have been made official, there is still a continued need for someone in Williamson’s position.
Superintendent Dr. John Simpson said last year, “She [Williamson] will be successful in the varied roles and responsibilities she’ll have here, including supporting district stakeholders in creating more equitable structures and systems.”
In addition to the work she looks forward to continuing, Williamson is eager to start work with students in the district.
“I am excited when I will be able to go into the classrooms and directly interact with all of the students,” Williamson said.
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