Moving Forward Together
Dear NSA Students, Families, Alumni, Faculty and Staff,
As a result of a heartfelt letter we recently received that was signed by alumni and others in the community, we have been actively listening and engaging in conversations with alumni, parents, faculty, staff, students as well as current and past trustees regarding diversity, equity and inclusion. I want to sincerely thank everyone who has shared insights, thoughts and suggestions with the goal of making Nansemond-Suffolk Academy a leader, not only in secondary education but also ensuring that we continue working to build and maintain a warm, safe environment where all students feel valued, appreciated and challenged.
All across America, independent and public schools, including NSA, are being challenged to move beyond their historical boundaries to ensure an atmosphere of justice and inclusion that is free of any form of racism or discrimination. While we cannot ignore our history, the NSA of today and tomorrow will be decidedly different than that of yesteryear.
Although we have made progress toward diversity, equity and inclusion, we realized that we have not communicated some of this progress with our community. In the last 10 years, our students of color have nearly doubled, increasing to 23% (or 206 students), with 24% of the Class of 2020 being students of color. During the same time period, the percent of faculty members of color has also increased from 2% to 8%, and our Trustees of color have also increased from 7% to 17%. While we have made progress, we realize there is still much work to be done to further attract students, faculty and trustees of color and to make them feel welcomed, valued and supported.
In order to develop a plan of action versus simply words, the Board of Trustees has established a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, led by Trustee Dr. Dimi Barot ’93. In addition, the school has appointed Mrs. Serena Bush as the director of diversity, equity and inclusion. Along with her new responsibilities, Mrs. Bush will continue to serve as the head of lower school at the Harbour View Campus with additional support from faculty members. Furthermore, NSA is exploring partnerships with various resources to develop a process that will continue to lead to meaningful dialogue, engagement and action, including assessing our curriculum through the lens of diversity, equity and inclusion as well as providing training for our students and professional development for the faculty and staff. As we move forward with our work, we will communicate our progress to the NSA community.
This is an institutional priority for NSA that will be measured in years, not weeks, and we must be prepared to engage in critical and courageous conversations to move forward in a positive manner for justice and human dignity for all.