At Lawrenceville, we strive to create and nurture a community that is truly best for all. We believe in building bridges and leaning in to difficult discussions; this is where true growth and transformation occurs. Together, we can acknowledge and take ownership of our past, create a more just and equitable present, and ensure our School values endure long into the future.
 
    • Dean of Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement

      Rick Holifield

      Dean of Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement

 

Our Story

The School’s Office of Multicultural Affairs was formed in 2004 to address the needs for an increasingly diverse community to become more inclusive. Notable areas of progress in the school community can be seen in the composition of leadership both at the student and administrative levels. The school's diversity is now reflected in all areas where achievement can be both measured and recognized. In 2018, the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force was created to look more broadly at diversity, equity and inclusion across the Lawrenceville experience, and to identify areas where the School needed to especially focus its efforts to ensure that it was living up to its mission of “best for all.” As a result of the Task Force recommendations, in 2020, Rick Holifield was selected as Lawrenceville’s first Dean of Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement and is now leading the work of bringing our community together during a challenging time in our country. Today, this work is progressing with strong purpose and schoolwide engagement.
 
 
 

News

Our Work

Diversity, equity, and inclusion work is an ongoing journey. We are continually engaging our community in an effort to increase capacity and awareness, and begin to shape an institution that cultivates belonging.

Student Programming:

Implicit in our understanding of the complexities around issues of race in our nation and at our school, we know that we must create programming to meet the needs of students — programming that allows our students to unpack and process these issues in order to understand and, hopefully, to lead by becoming agents of change. This takes more than assigning reading and scheduling speakers: this takes action. Our students are active participants in the School’s diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, often leading initiatives and collaborating with the faculty, staff, and administration to advance this work.

  • DivCo: The Diversity Council (DivCo) strives to create an inclusive environment at Lawrenceville by providing students with opportunities to engage in conversations about social issues, identity, current events and culture. By engaging with these issues, Lawrentians can work towards the goal of inspiring the best in each to seek the best for all. Student leaders selected for DivCo serve as discussion facilitators at weekly Lunch and Dialogues, in addition to planning annual events each term like Community Potluck, International Night and Community Day.
  • Let's Talk About: Created and led by Fifth Formers Ije Achebe and Ava Conyers, this program seeks to provide a space for education, awareness and conversation on delicate subject matters. With oversight by The Office of Multicultural Affairs Diversity Coordinators, topics of conversation are facilitated in an environment that provides for an ease of exchange on issues of diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice. Fall sessions presented by student leaders focused on police brutality, colorism, White Privilege, and gender and sexuality. This initiative is also a feature of Lawrenceville's virtual Parents Weekend.
  • VILLEage Groups: In response to student feedback for desired spaces to get to know others outside of their Houses and Forms, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, in collaboration with the Dean of Students Office, created VILLEage Groups. Students and faculty are divided into groups of 10-12 and gather several times a term to have often-difficult discussions following particular programs and initiatives, including all-school reads, school meeting speakers, and important world events.
  • Student Diversity Leadership Training: The Office of Multicultural Affairs, in collaboration with the Dean of Students Office, secured workshops for our student leaders prior to the start of the academic year with Cultures of Dignity and The Anti-Defamation League. The two organizations worked with approximately 90 student leaders, consisting of Prefects, Student Council and Diversity Council, in an effort to prepare them for leading the remainder of the student body. They were trained in facilitation skills and anti-bias education. Additionally, Cultures of Dignity was brought back to do a virtual workshop on the aforementioned for our entire student population in October.
  • Microinequities Workshop: Dean Holifield presented a workshop to the entire student body on the hurt and harm created by microinequities and microtriggers, giving them similar language and frames of reference as the faculty workshop. Students debriefed in advisee meetings following.
  • Close Up Initiative: Eighteen students are registered to participate in an international program titled Impact 2020: Task Force for Community Engagement with students from five countries and 20 states. This is facilitated through Close Up, an organization dedicated to helping students develop the knowledge and skills they need to become informed, active, and engaged citizens. Close Up’s trained instructors will facilitate small group discussions and guide students through their project work. Over the course of nine weekly 90-minute sessions this fall, students will network with diverse peers nationwide; hear inspiring stories from young activists on strategies and models of advocacy and activism; deepen their understanding of issues and root causes in their communities; and work together to create meaningful solutions. Students will join a cohort around an issue about which they are passionate. Together, they will construct an action plan on their initiative to be presented to a panel at the end of the nine-week period.

Faculty & Staff Professional Development:

We need to prepare our community, and specifically our teaching faculty, with language to help them navigate through race and to address the racist incidents brought to our attention by the Black@Lawrenceville Instagram account. We also know that training in certain areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion will improve our understanding of ways to minimize unintended harm.

  • Workshop on Microinequities: Faculty and staff completed training on anti-racism and microinequities and microaggressions during the in-service days in advance of the academic year, using the @blackatlawrenceville Instagram account as a guiding platform. While often unintended, microinequities cause significant harm. Through training, faculty and staff learn to recognize microinequities they may have perpetrated, witnessed, or experienced and — perhaps more importantly — learn how to be allies and upstanders. Once we understand microinequities and microaggressions, we can govern ourselves because we have a common understanding and ideology around what an inclusive community looks like.
  • Workshop on Difficult Conversations on Race: Faculty and staff engaged in readings of Ijeoma Oluo’s “So You Want to Talk About Race” and James Baldwin’s “The Fire Next Time” as part of their summer reading. The workshop was implemented to prepare the faculty and staff for navigating the complexities of race conversations, while also developing an understanding of the issues faced by many marginalized and minoritized community members. In addition to annual check-ins for teaching faculty by the Dean of Faculty, Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Community Engagement Rick Holifield will work directly with faculty and department chairs as individuals or in affinity groups to provide support and help ensure progress toward the goals they established during the workshop.
  • Implicit Bias & Cultural Competency Training: Dr. Bryant Marks, Professor at Morehouse College and Executive Director of the National Institute on Race and Equity, will conduct half-day workshops on Implicit Bias and on Culturally Responsive Teaching on our in-service training day, currently scheduled for January 4. The latter is in response to a recommendation by the newly formed Classroom Language Task Force, as we look to address dehumanizing language in the curriculum and in the classroom.
  • Classroom Language Taskforce: This group, co-chaired by Head of School Steve Murray and Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Community Engagement Rick Holifield, is examining dehumanizing language in the School’s curriculum and developing associated policies and practices. The task force created an interim policy around the use of the “n” word in speech and in writing, and is continuing to conduct culturally responsive teaching training for faculty.
  • Building Antiracist White Educators (BARWE): 
The School has made BARWE available to faculty and staff in an effort to build culturally competent anti-racist educators. The organization operates under the principle that White educators must be responsible for dismantling White supremacy. Through unconscious bias training, and building solidarity with Black, Brown, and Indigenous students and faculty, BARWE seeks to create more inclusive and trusting learning spaces. Some of the key topics for study include, but are not limited to: 


    • Why White teachers need to talk about race
    • How to identify and challenge implicit bias in our own practice
    • How to support colleagues of color and build anti-racist work environments
    • How curriculum can challenge dominant and oppressive ideologies
    • How to have conversations with White students about anti-racism

    Several Lawrenceville faculty participated in BARWE over the summer, working with educators across the country, delving into readings, listening to podcasts, and sharing tips and strategies for making their classrooms more equitable places for all, most notably BIPOC students, while also aligning themselves as allies with BIPOC colleagues. Our faculty wrote a curriculum for future workshops, and are sharing the initiative with their fellow colleagues.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council:

The newly formed DEI Council is dedicated to overseeing the implementation and outcomes of our early action steps, reporting to our community on progress, and engaging in a longer-term process of strategic planning for DEI at Lawrenceville. The group’s initial charge is to review the three diversity action plans that have been presented to the School: the original plan by our DEI Task Force approved in 2019; a plan conceived of by members of the Board of Trustees and submitted in June of 2020; and the plan from the Lawrenceville Black Alumni Association (LBAA), submitted in July of 2020. Together, these plans constitute 219 recommendations. The plans have been consolidated and categorized, and will provide an important basis for a more focused strategic plan that will cover overarching priorities, including:

  • Enhancing student life through training, handbook revisions, diverse speakers and anti-racism resources, and anti-bias reporting;
  • Increasing faculty impact through training, handbook revisions, accountability measures, and recruitment and retention;
  • Elevating education through professional development and curriculum review; and
  • Achieving equitable outcomes through a climate survey and equity audit and resulting enhancements to the School community.

Task Force on Diversity Recruitment and Retention

The Task Force on Diversity Recruitment and Retention focuses on enhancing the diversity within our community, while supporting professional growth and leadership of faculty and staff of color. In addition to a cross-section of faculty and staff, the Task Force will include Teressa Moore Griffin of Spirit of Purpose as a thought partner and resource.

The Task Force will develop key elements of a strategy to broaden our sources and networks for recruitment and retention. In addition, the group will consider and present recommendations to Head of School Steve Murray, including goals for diversifying the faculty and staff, measurement of progress over time, and a system for tracking the early opportunities of advancement and professional development.


Restorative Practice:

This proven framework is an option for healing our community with a focus on accountability, making amends, and facilitated meetings between all parties involved in a situation that caused hurt or harm. Senior Staff members were led in a summer restorative practice exercise, and the School is developing plans to implement this more widely in an intentional way.

Strategic Partnerships:

Anti-Defamation League and Cultures of Dignity
Prior to the start of the fall term, the Anti-Defamation League ran an anti-bias training for student leaders focusing on language and identity, while Cultures of Dignity presented “Dignity and Allyship at Lawrenceville.” This work was extended to the full student community in mid-October.

National Center for Civil and Human Rights
The School is an affiliate partner of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, a museum that seeks to inspire ongoing dialogue about human rights throughout communities. In addition to access to resources and experts provided by the museum, the partnership program also provides professional development workshops led by Center staff on contemporary pedagogical methods and techniques that align with human and civil rights curriculum.

Additional Partnerships
The School has also received expert counsel from the Equal Justice Initiative, HiTOPS Adolescent Health & Wellbeing, the Stanley King Institute, and others. As the work and climate evolves, and as the perspectives, needs, and priorities of our community become more clear, we will continue to seek partners who can best assist us in building a stronger culture of belonging.

Expertise:

To best provide all students with the support needed to carry out equitable and optimal lived experiences, three new Diversity Coordinators have been appointed to the Office of Multicultural Affairs: Dr. Nuri Friedlander, Kelly Wise, and Beth Foulk. These dynamic faculty members will serve alongside Sam Washington, Director of Multicultural Affairs, and Rick Holifield, Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Community Engagement.

Involvement:

As we establish our leadership structure for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, the Board of Trustees has formed a working group to ensure clear communication and trustee engagement. The group will be composed of Head of School Murray, Dean Holifield, the chairs of key Board committees, and other senior staff and faculty members, and they will periodically report to joint sessions of the Board's Academic and Faculty Affairs and Student Affairs Committees. A Faculty Diversity Council, DEI Curriculum Committee, Alumni Diversity Council, and a DEI arm of the Alumni Association Executive Committee, will help advance this work throughout all aspects of the Lawrenceville experience.

Communications:

We are committed to keeping our community informed of our diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. Please click below to read recent messages to our community.

October 2020: Answering the Call: Moving Forward

October 2020: Reopening Update

September 2020: Welcome & Thank You from the Board President and Head of School

August 2020: Call to Action Sessions

July 2020: Building on Our Commitments

June 2020: Outlining 13 Key Commitments
 
 
 

L10 News Special
Say Their Names: The View, The Grit, The Action



 
 
 

Programs

List of 6 items.

  • Student Affinity Groups and Clubs

    Lawrenceville offers a wide range of support and education for students, parents, faculty, and staff around issues of diversity, inclusion, and equity. The Office of Multicultural Affairs supports a dozen or more student affinity groups including the Alliance of Black Cultures, Latinos Unidos, Asian Student Organization, Gender and Sexuality Alliance, Jewish Students Organization, and the Muslim Student Organization.
  • Diversity Council

    The Diversity Council (DivCo) strives to create an inclusive environment at Lawrenceville by providing students with opportunities to engage in conversations about social issues, identity, current events and culture. By engaging with these issues, Lawrentians can work towards the goal of inspiring the best in each to seek the best for all. Student leaders selected for DivCo serve as discussion facilitators at weekly Lunch and Dialogues, in addition to planning annual events each term like Community Potluck, International Night and Community Day.
  • Religious Life Council

    The Religious Life Council (RLC) aims to nurture spiritual and religious life at Lawrenceville by providing visibility for its strength and diversity, and to cultivate understanding and respect among religious traditions. The RLC accomplishes this through regular meetings and lively exchanges, the very successful “What Matters To Me and Why” program, field trips, and co-sponsorships with other clubs and councils. The RLC works closely with the Diversity Council to design Explorations and has regular conversations with the Gay Straight Alliance. The RLC is convened by the School Chaplain and has student representatives from all the religious traditions and members-at-large. All students are welcome.
  • Lunch and Dialogue

    Lunch and Dialogue is a weekly opportunities for students to watch a film or documentary about a relevant current event or social issue and then have a discussion facilitated by student leaders in the Diversity Council. Lunch and Dialogue aims to build upon the culture of Harkness though learning about others beyond the academic classroom. Recent topics have included climate change, Islamophobia, social media, race, women’s reproductive rights and LGBTQ youth.
  • Community Day

    Community Day is an annual schoolwide gathering where students and faculty come together to discuss important social issues that affect their lives both inside and outside Lawrenceville. Each year, Community Day has a theme and Lawrentians hear from keynote speakers, and then participate in workshops generated by students, faculty, parents and community based organizations. Past themes have included Reflections on Representation, Fulfilling the Promises of the American Dream, Global Citizenship and Healthy Relationships.
  • Multicultural Parent Committee

    The Multicultural Parent Committee (MCPC) is one of the subsets of Parents at Lawrenceville (P@L). The MCPC sponsors several events each year to inform, educate and promote dialogue among parents on issues of diversity, equity and inclusion. All parents at Lawrenceville are welcomed and encouraged to participate in these important discussions.

Meet the Team

Contact information

List of 5 members.

  • Photo of Rick Holifield

    Rick Holifield 

    Dean of Diversity, Inclusion, and, Community Engagement
  • Photo of Samuel Washington '81 H'04 P'14 '17

    Samuel Washington '81 H'04 P'14 '17 

    Director of Multicultural Affairs; Senior Associate Dean of Admission
  • Photo of Beth Guzzo Foulk

    Beth Guzzo Foulk 

    Associate Director of College Counseling
  • Photo of Nuri Friedlander

    Nuri Friedlander 

    Religion & Philosophy Teacher
  • Photo of Kelly Wise

    Kelly Wise 

    Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach
 
 
 

List of 5 frequently asked questions.

  • Rick Holifield

    Dean of Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement

    As Dean of Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement, Holifield will provide strategic vision and direction to enhance Lawrenceville’s inclusive campus community. He will partner in this work with the School's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee and the Office of Multicultural Affairs, as well as the Multicultural Parent Committee and student-led diversity council and affinity group.

    Holifield brings to Lawrenceville more than two decades of expertise in diversity, inclusion, and community engagement issues in education at the local, regional, and national levels. He currently serves as the Assistant Head of Upper School and Director of Community Life at The Walker School in Marietta, Ga., and, before that, was the Director of Diversity at Pace Academy in Atlanta.

    Holifield has served on
    The National Center for Civil and Human Rights Advisory Board and as a member of the National Association of Independent Schools People of Color Conference Planning Committee. He chaired both the Commission on Diversity for the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools and the Atlanta Area Association of Independent School’s Diversity Consortium. Additionally, Holifield is a Certified Mediator for the Georgia Supreme Court.

    Holifield holds a bachelor’s degree in Theology from the Life Christian University and a master’s degree in Ministry-Christian Counseling from the Jacksonville Theological Seminary. He attended the Harvard Graduate School of Education Principals' Center, and is now completing his studies as a National Association of Independent Schools Aspiring Heads Fellow.
  • Sam Washington '81 H'04 P'14 '17

    Director of Multicultural Affairs
    Senior Associate Dean of Admission

    B.A., Communications, Boston College

    Sam Washington, a 1981 Lawrenceville graduate and past A Better Chance Scholar, has been an educator in independent schools for the past 30 years, the last 22 of which have been at The Lawrenceville School. His career in independent schools includes experience as a Dean of Students, math teacher, boys’ and girls’ varsity basketball coach, advisor, and Head of House. Washington has also served as an advisor to the Albert G. Oliver, NJ SEEDS and Inspiring Young Minds programs. He has been a frequent workshop presenter at conferences such as the NAIS People of Color Conference, the Enrollment Management Association’s annual conference and New Jersey Association of Independent School’s annual conference. From 1992 through 1996, Washington served as a national spokesperson for the Big Brothers program.
  • Beth Guzzo Foulk

    Diversity Coordinator
    Associate Director of College Counseling

    M.Ed. in Counseling and Human Services, Lehigh University; B.A.s in English and Spanish, Lehigh University

    Beth Guzzo Foulk joined The Lawrenceville School College Counseling office in 2016. She arrived from Lehigh University’s Admissions Department, where she served as the Senior Assistant Director, Admissions and Diversity Recruitment. While at Lehigh, she created the University’s recruitment strategy for Latin America, co-led planning and execution of the Diversity Achievers Program, and collaborated on the organization of Diversity Life Weekend. Foulk led the admissions team in strategic outreach and collaboration with college access organizations. This included overseeing recruitment travel to include college access organizations (nationally and internationally), creating new on-campus programs that welcomed first-generation students, and forming partnerships with organizations to best support recruited and admitted students.

    Before joining Lehigh’s admissions team, Foulk was an intern with the Muhlenberg College Counseling Services, where she conducted individual counseling sessions and facilitated alcohol awareness and prevention for students. She was also a Career Counselor at Lehigh University, supporting students with resumes, cover letters, job and internship searches, interviews, and personality assessments.

    At Lawrenceville, Foulk is affiliated with McClellan House. She is the head coach of both the girls’ junior varsity basketball and volleyball teams and serves as faculty advisor for the Rugby Club.
  • Nuri Friedlander

    Diversity Coordinator
    Religion & Philosophy Teacher

    Ph.D. the Study of Religion, with a focus on Islamic Studies, Harvard University; M.S.W., Simmons College; M.A. in Arabic Language and Literature, American University in Cairo; B.A. in English and Comparative Literature, American University in Cairo

    Nuri Friedlander joined the Lawrenceville Religion and Philosophy faculty in 2019, coming from Phillips Exeter Academy, where he taught in the Religion department for the previous four years. While a doctoral student at Harvard, Friedlander served as an adjunct instructor, developing and teaching a master’s level course at Harvard Divinity School titled, "Spiritual Care and Counseling in Muslim Communities." He also taught Arabic and served as chaplain for the Harvard Islamic Society.

    At Lawrenceville, Friedlander is associated with Cleve House and he is an advisor to the Muslim Student Organization on campus as well as the Philosophy Society. He previously worked with students on the Big Red Farm.
  • Kelly Wise

    Diversity Coordinator
    Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach

    M.A.T. in Education and Sport Pedagogy, Manhattanville College; B.S. in Exercise Science and Sports Science Studies, minors in Strength and Conditioning and Coaching Science, University of Delaware

    Kelly Wise has spent more than a decade working with student-athletes as a strength and conditioning coach, beginning her career at Manhattanville College before moving on to Villanova University, and The College of New Jersey. She joined Lawrenceville in 2010 as a part-time instructor and became a full faculty member in 2017, now the School’s Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach. She is currently working to enhance the diversity, equity, and inclusion education available to Lawrentians in the School’s Personal Development seminars.

    Since 2016, Wise has directed the Lawrenceville School Camp, which has provided a two-week, summer camp experience for underserved youth for more than a century. She was Head of the Kinnan House from 2017-2019 and is currently the Assistant Head for Cleve House.

    Wise has been an annual guest lecturer at Drexel University (discussing strength and conditioning) since 2009 and has addressed sports performance and nutrition at the USA Ice Hockey Developmental District Camp three times. Her professional certifications include Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Sports Nutritionist, Water Safety Instructor/Lifeguard, Functional Movement Screen, and Camp Director.
Through House and Harkness, Lawrenceville challenges a diverse community of promising young people to lead lives of learning, integrity, and high purpose.  Our mission is to inspire the best in each to seek the best for all.