Access, Equity and Belonging

We are not all the same, and we like it that way

St. Catherine’s School brings together girls and their families, faculty and staff from a diverse mix of backgrounds, nationalities, experiences and perspectives. We are committed to building a welcoming community within and beyond the School through teaching social responsibility and inclusiveness, and we recognize the unique gifts and potential of each person and recognize the strength that comes from our differences.

Our girl-centered education includes the active partnership with our brother school, St. Christopher’s School, to continue building our inclusive community.

Our Diversity Statement

St. Catherine’s School is committed to providing an inclusive educational environment. We actively engage students, families, faculty and staff from diverse backgrounds and experiences. Our school community respects the differences in ethnicity, race, religion, sexual orientation and socioeconomic status. Consistent with the School’s mission, St. Catherine’s fosters in our students, and expects from all others, respect for the dignity and wholeness of every person.

St. Catherine's is on a journey to be a part of dismantling systemic racism. Black lives matter, and we stand in solidarity with our Black students, families, faculty, staff, and alumnae. 

Our Path Forward Plan focuses on four pillars: 

1. Listening and Learning
2. Curricular and Community Education
3. Representation
4. Equitable and Inclusive Campus Climate

Our Path Forward Communications:
May 18, 2021 A Message from the Chair of the Board 
April 28, 2021 DEI Update
February 16, 2021 New Director of DEI Announcement
September 17, 2020 DEI Update
June 9, 2020 Our Path Forward Plan

List of 6 items.

  • Our Episcopal Identity

    welcomes all faith traditions
  • 20% Students of Color

  • 102 New Students

    21% Students of Color
  • Our girls come from

    53 ZIP Codes
  • 25% of Students

    receive financial assistance
  • $3.2 million

    total assistance awarded

We weave cultural competencies into every day

As we advance our diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, we focus on various cultural identifiers including age, ability, ethnicity, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation and socioeconomic status. To further ensure we uphold this focus, various leadership groups work collaboratively to weave mutual respect into every facet of school life and into the academic curriculum. We actively strengthen our work extensive community connections, collaborations and service partnerships. To learn more about our Global Education program, click here.

Resources and Tools

St. Catherine’s School has a growing list of resources and tools for educators, parents, and those interested in furthering their understanding of topics related to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. Highlighted below are clickable links to begin your exploration. We will update the list periodically. If you are interested in learning more please contact Tish Canady, Director of Access, Equity, & Belonging.

Partners and Programming

Successful diversity, equity and inclusion practices require community support as well as the opportunity to hear and learn from experts in the field. Highlighted below are examples of St. Catherine’s DEI organizations, guest speakers, conferences and learning opportunities. 

List of 5 items.

  • Black Alumnae Alliance

    Our Black Alumnae Alliance provides the opportunity for Black and African American alumnae to reconnect, to deepen the understanding of the Black experience at St. Catherine’s and to offer mentorship to current students. This is one way that the School provides intentional spaces for community members to gather and unpack systematic racism and its effects on our communities. 

    Alumnae Leadership
    Christa Balom '99
    Ronda Lawrence Bernstein ’87
    Andrea Byrd ’06
    Eryn Carlisle ’17
    Lori Friend ’16
    Leona Harris ’91
    Taylor Jasper ’13
    Tiffany Jones ’06
    Alex McEachin ’13
    Liza Mickens ’15
    Helene Sims ’03
    Jackie Parker Taylor ’94

    Faculty/Staff Leadership
    Laura Spratley Birdsey '96
    Andrea Byrd '06

    If you have a proposal for another alumnae affinity group, please contact Laura Spratley Birdsey ’96, Director of Alumnae Affairs.
  • Community Partners & Faculty Professional Development

    • St. Catherine’s is a leader school in the Virginia Diversity Network with faculty members often serving on the Executive Committee. 
    • St. Catherine’s is an active member school in Global Education Benchmark Group sharing the mission to promote the development of global citizens by expanding their knowledge and skills, and empathic orientation required to understand multiple perspectives and to thrive in increasingly interconnected world systems.
    • Our school leads professional development workshops and programs throughout the school year that include training, activities and speakers that address inclusion, community and global engagement topics.
  • DEI Board of Governors Committee

    St. Catherine’s Board of Governors has a specific committee dedicated to diversity, equity and inclusion. Representation includes board members, alumnae, parents, school administration, faculty and staff. 

    2021-2022 DEI Board Committee Members:
    Ashley Taylor, Chair
    Peter Durette
    Trishana Glover-Hassell  M.D.
    Freddie Gray
    Carol Brown Harris
    Michael Lacy
    Lane Sanderson
    Sherrie Scott
    Chrystal Telfian
    Elizabeth Valentine '94

    Cindy Trask, Head of School
    David Charlton,  Ed.D., CSDV
    Macon Clarkson '96
    Anne Kenny-Urban '83

    Community Members:
    Taruna Aurora, M.D.
    ReRe Bernstein ’87
    Tiffany Jones ’06
    Liza Mickens ’15
    Yiota Souras '88
    Jackie Taylor ’94

    Faculty/Staff Members:
    Tish Canady
    Andrea Byrd '06
    Jennifer Cullinan
    Kefu Dorion
    Frances Doyle '85
    Annie Kapetanis, Ed.D.
    Lara Wulff, Ph.D.
  • Guest Speakers

    St. Catherine's brings guest speakers and visiting experts to campus to share their experiences with our students. They represent a diverse array of perspectives and passions including:
    • Minnijean Brown-Trickey, member of Little Rock Nine
    • Axana Sultan, Founder and CEO of Enhancing Children’s Lives
    • Sarah Lenti Policy Consultant and Board Member for the National Immigration Forum
    • Angela Luna, founder and CEO of ADIFF
    • Mae Shields, Civil Rights activist
    • Ellen Stofan, Ph.D., Chief Scientist of NASA
    • Shiza Shahid, Co-Founder and Global Ambassador of the Malala Fund
    • Maggie Doyne, 2015 CNN Hero of the Year and founder of Kopila Valley School and Home in Nepal
    • Fr. Nabil Haddad, Melkite Catholic founder and director of the Jordanian Interfaith Coexistence Research Center in Amman, Jordan
    • Tucker Carrington, Director of the Mississippi Innocence Project
  • Student Conferences and Clubs

    • Each year the School provides an opportunity for students to attend a variety of inclusion/diversity conferences and workshops such as the NAIS Student Diversity Leadership Conference, which is held in conjunction with the People of Color Conference for educators; the Prejudice Awareness Summit, sponsored by the Upper School Diversity Conference, led by the Virginia Diversity Network.
    • The Lower School Inclusion Club meets weekly to participate in age-appropriate activities related to broadening their understanding and appreciation of diversity as it relates to different perspectives, cultures, and religions.
    • Through our partnership with the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities, Middle Schoolers attend the Prejudice Awareness Summit and the Middle School Diversity Conference hosted by St. Stephen's and St. Agnes' School. Upper School students attend the Connections Institute to understand how stereotypes, bigotry and prejudice can negatively affect their schools.
    • Our students are passionate about collaboration as demonstrated by the many clubs on campus including several devoted to inclusion topics such as Community Service League, Feminism Club, Gay/Straight Alliance (GSA), Enye Club, Latin Club, Medley Club, Model Judiciary, Model UN, Political Awareness Club (PAC), Saturday Academy, Speak Up Mental Health Club, Spanish Club and Unity Club.


List of 2 members.

  • Photo of Tish Canady

    Tish Canady 

    Director of Access, Equity, and Belonging
    Murray State University - BA
    Murray State University - MA
  • Photo of Gina Friend

    Gina Friend 

    Assistant Head of Lower School, Lower School AEB Coordinator
    James Madison University - B. A.
    • Private Girls Elementary School: St. Catherine's School
6001 Grove Avenue, Richmond, Virginia 23226 | 804-288-2804
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