Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

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 focuses on four pillars: 

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

You can read more about OUR PATH FORWARD communication. 

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.
 

List of 1 items.

  • Our Differences

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.

Programming

List of 8 items.

  • Advising and Mentoring Programs

    • The Virtues Program in the Lower School teaches the girls understanding and compassion at a young age with a 2-year cycle of monthly virtues that are explored in the classroom, in chapel and across grade levels.
    • In addition to the Middle School advisory program, girls across grade levels come together in our Strong Circles Program to explore themes of honor, friendship, inclusion and service. They work on special projects throughout the year in which each girl’s voice is heard and celebrated.
    • In the Upper School, junior and senior peer advisors actively engage with freshmen to help them transition into Upper School life and work together on numerous projects and activities that center around themes of building community.
  • 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. 

    2020-2021 DEI Board Committee Members:
    Ashley Taylor, Chair
    Trishana Glover-Hassell  M.D.
    Freddie Gray
    Carol Brown Harris
    Cal Jennison 
    Donnan O’Keefe
    Chrystal Telfian
    Michael Thorne-Begland
    Elizabeth Valentine

    Ex-Officio:
    Lila Lohr, Interim Head of School
    David Charlton,  Ed.D., CSDV
    Macon Clarkson
    Anne Kenny-Urban

    Non-voting Members:
    Taruna Aurora, M.D.
    ReRe Bernstein ’87
    Tiffany Jones ’06
    Jackie Taylor ’94
    Liza Mickens ’15

    Faculty/Staff Members:
    Sue Baldwin
    Andrea Byrd
    Jennifer Cullinan
    Kefu Dorion
    Frances Doyle 
    Annie Kapetanis, Ed.D.
    Anamaria Scozzaro
    Bianca Spurlock
    Lara Wulff, Ph.D. 
  • Recruitment of Diverse Faculty and Staff

    We actively recruit, hire and retain talented faculty and staff of diverse backgrounds. Some of our activities include participating in diversity career fairs, partnering with community organizations and collaborating with career development offices at colleges and universities. 
  • Chapel Program

    We value each girl’s spiritual journey and we make time for prayer, reflection and matters of the heart. Our Episcopal identity guides us to embrace all faith traditions. Chapel speakers of all ages and walks of life share their experiences in relatable ways. Chapel services are held several times a week in each division.
  • 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. In addition, St. Catherine’s is a proud supporter of the annual Virginia Independent Schools Diversity Fair.
    • 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.
    • St. Catherine's is a member of the Workplace Inclusion Network (WIN), sponsored by the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities. Through this partnership, our faculty and staff participate in ongoing best practices training and workshops devoted to topics such as migroaggressions, difficult conversations, creating an upstander culture and more.  
    • 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.
  • Experiential Learning

    We know that girls greatly benefit from hands-on learning and experiences which allow them to explore, connect and grow. Our teaching and learning extends beyond the classroom with unique student-led activities, service trips, exchanges with  partner schools and a host of X-term cohorts that place inclusion and service to others at the center of their work.
  • Student Conferences and Clubs

    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.
  • 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

Contacts

List of 6 members.

  • Photo of Sue Baldwin

    Sue Baldwin 

    Assistant Head of School and Chair of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
    804-288-2804 x3038
    Longwood College - B.M.E
  • Photo of Gina Friend

    Gina Friend 

    Assistant Director of Lower School, Lower School Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Coordinator
    804-288-2804 ext. 3090
    James Madison University - B. A.
  • Photo of Taryn Chesshire

    Taryn Chesshire 

    Teacher, Middle School English; MS Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Coordinator
  • Photo of Allison Felton

    Allison Felton 

    Teacher, Middle School Spanish, Diversity Coordinator for Hispanic Education
    VCU - M.Ed
  • Photo of Andrea Byrd

    Ms. Andrea Byrd 06

    Assistant to the Dean of Students; US Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Coordinator
    Roanoke College - BA
  • Photo of Chris Carlisle

    Chris Carlisle 

    Assistant Director of Admissions, Middle School (Gr. 5-8); VA Diversity Network Rep.
    804-288-2804 x3022
    Virginia Commonwealth University - B.A.
    George Washington University - M.A.