Racial diversity and equity in Westerville City Schools

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Tiyi Morris started this petition to Dr. John Kellogg and Members of the School Board

We are writing regarding the recent promotions of Timothy Dorne and Paul Hopkins to Assistant Superintendents and Steven Mazzi to Executive Director. Appointing three white men to high-ranking administrative positions – in the midst of WCSD’s supposed push for diversity – is a slap in the face to teachers and staff of color, parents and students of color, as well as all those who genuinely support diversity, equity, and inclusion. We are unsure how you or members of the school board could in good conscience make such a decision when such a decision continues to bolster white men to positions of decision-making power. Your claims of diversity and equity ring hollow and reinforce the status quo of a white male power structure. Not only do these actions violate the first principle of the district’s equity framework to “act to eliminate gaps and barriers between our mission and the policies, practices, and structures in our school system that may perpetuate systemic inequities based on race and class,” they reinforce “gatekeeping,” which ironically is identified as problematic behavior in the District’s current diversity training. These appointments strengthen a structure that perpetuates rather than hinders systemic racial inequalities.

As parents in the district, we want to ensure that Black people and other people of color are included and elevated in the next phase, and all future phases, of the district’s succession plan. Furthermore, while we expect the promotion of women, we also expect that the individuals chosen to fill positions in upper-level administration have degrees in education.

To achieve this goal, we are requesting that the process for hiring and promotion be transparent. To ensure that the process fits with the District’s equity framework, we also ask that you have a representative in place who will assure that the selection of new hires and appointments are more balanced and reflective of the District’s commitment to the principles of equity, diversity, and inclusion.  

We look forward to hearing from you regarding these matters.

Vashitta Johnson, Westerville Black Parents Association (WBPA), co-chair

Tiyi Morris, WBPA, co-chair

Cortnee Phifer, WBPA, secretary

Cynthia Hamilton, WBPA, member-at-large 

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