Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at NSA
Dear NSA Community,
Amid the reopening of school, I’d like to take a moment to introduce myself. My name is Serena Bush, and I’m delighted to assume the position of director of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) at Nansemond-Suffolk Academy. Throughout my tenure at NSA, I’ve made positive contributions, and I’m fully committed to leading our efforts in making NSA more diverse, inclusive and equitable for all. The brave voices within our community have been heard, and we are moving forward with compassion, courage and conviction. Nansemond-Suffolk Academy stands with those affected by injustices, and we welcome this opportunity to reflect on our systems, practices and programs. This is an institutional priority for us.
With the approval and support of the Board of Trustees, I’ve worked closely with administrators, faculty and staff to initiate a proposal that supports our diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. Our work is far from complete, but we have made substantial progress in a short period of time. We have sought to make Nansemond-Suffolk Academy more inclusive and equitable in the following ways:
A committee of the Board of Trustees was developed to support the school’s diversity, equity and inclusion work and to secure the funding for those initiatives
Our faculty and staff have participated in numerous hours of high-quality professional development throughout the summer
An anti-racism and discrimination policy was approved by the Board of Trustees and added to all student and parent handbooks
An accountability plan was developed to allow for reporting and resolving incidences of racism, discrimination and bullying
Last but not least, I’m pleased to announce that we’ve been engaged in extensive conversations with thoughtful donors who are interested in funding both operational expenses for our DEI program as well as a new endowment fund to support our DEI efforts. While we plan to announce additional information about these transformational gifts once they are finalized, we are excited that early donations to support this effort will allow us to begin conducting more formal DEI assessments to guide our work.
In addition, we will have the ability to provide ongoing cultural competency training for faculty, staff and students led by experts in the field. Thus, teachers will gain a better understanding of relevant curricula and instructional practices that includes and lifts the voices of diverse backgrounds of students. As we seek to prepare students to lead in a multicultural society, student leadership programs will also be promoted.
The aforementioned details are the first steps in supporting our dedication to diversity, equity and inclusion. I’m thrilled about this opportunity to make a difference at Nansemond-Suffolk Academy and in our greater community. I’m absolutely committed to being the change, and I invite you to join me as we move forward together!