Special Assistant to the Head for Inclusive Communities Leila Bailey-Stewart joined the school’s leadership team in July, filling a position Head of School Dr. Jennifer Price created in March to evaluate the school’s work around diversity.
In her first year, Ms. Bailey-Stewart will be responsible for assessing both diversity in the faculty and student body as well as the school’s current steps to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion. That assessment will culminate in early 2019 with a presentation to the school’s leadership team and board of trustees, during which she will recommend possible diversity initiatives to improve the existing system.
While her initial work will focus on assessing the school, Ms. Bailey-Stewart may stay in the position beyond the 2018-2019 school year to help implement any new programs or structure, Dr. Price said.
Dr. Price said she created the position because she wanted an evaluation of the student and faculty experience around issues of race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, and gender identity before deciding which measures, if any, the school should take moving forward.
“Issues of diversity and inclusion are incredibly important to me, but I know in my first year as head of school I’m going to have a lot of things to look at, and I didn’t feel I was going to have the ability to spend as much time as I wanted on these issues,” Dr. Price said.
“There’s a lot of good work being done around diversity and inclusion already,” she added, “but I think we need to assess how we’re connecting that work across all three campuses, how we can build a structure to make sure the priorities of diversity and inclusion are supported, and how we make sure it’s not just individuals doing this job but it’s a school-wide commitment.”
Ms. Bailey-Stewart comes to the position with 15 years of experience at City Year, a national non-profit organization dedicated to helping public school students graduate through tutoring, mentorship, and counseling programs, according to its website. She has worked with City Year in New York, Arkansas, and, most recently, Boston, where she was the vice president of leadership development and helped improve diversity, inclusion, and equity in local schools.
“I engaged in work that asked not only how we serve our students, in terms of diversity in the curriculum and the admissions process, but also how we select our core members in a way that’s both meaningful and respectful,” Ms. Bailey-Stewart said. “We also have to think about who the people we put in front of our young people are.”
The school began the selection process for the position by employing Carney Sandoe & Associates (CSA), a consulting firm that recruits administrators and faculty members from across the globe. CSA presented 18 candidates, all of whom underwent an initial round of interviews by a panel of 20 people, including faculty, staff, administrators, and board members, in April.
Charlie Ruopp, who organized the search and oversaw all matters related to Dr. Price’s transition into the head of school position this past year, said Ms. Bailey-Stewart’s work will help the school assess how diversity initiatives in different areas, such as admissions and the curriculum, across all three campuses can fit together.
“This position was really a way of unifying the external connections BB&N has in terms of diversity work and global education,” said Mr. Ruopp.
The interview and selection process included input from Director of Global Education Karina Baum and Director of Multicultural Services Lewis Bryant, as well as many others, Mr. Ruopp said.
The panel chose three finalists who then toured the school, met with Dr. Price, and completed a performance task involving a 30-minute presentation addressing how they would plan to assess the school before reporting back to leadership.
Ms. Bailey-Stewart said she would spend the first few months engaging the school community with no formal structure by speaking to faculty and staff across all three campuses and observing and conversing with students. After this initial phase, she plans to gather more technical information in the form of surveys and data analysis.
Mr. Bryant, who will be working with Ms. Bailey-Stewart this year, said she stood out as the best candidate because of her local connections and ability to contribute a new perspective.
“Her previous position was reliant on making connections with other schools and organizations in Boston, and that bodes really well in terms of her being a resource for us,” he said. “I also like that she is not from an independent school background because she can really bring in a different lens to study our school.”
Ms. Bailey-Stewart added that meeting members of the school community who were interested in creating a more inclusive environment drew her to the position.
“What solidified my interest in [BB&N] was realizing it was a perfect match between the type of work I love and the type of people I want to work with,” she said. “At the end of the day, what I’m really trying to achieve is being a partner to the school community to make sure that we have a place where we all feel empowered to engage while being our authentic selves.”