KiKi Davis, Director of Institutional Equity and Diversity
Who you become is more important than what you become.
Come As You Are
It is that simple. We want you just the way you are. We invite students of all backgrounds to be part of our community, and in keeping with our Episcopal identity, we respect everyone, affirming not only their value as people—and as members of our community—but also the value of their diverse backgrounds, experiences, and beliefs. This creates a culture of dialogue and raises the level of discourse, helping to form citizens of the world who can work collaboratively to address complex challenges. People who are educated in a community based on understanding and respect have the sensitivity and cultural competency to successfully engage with a wide range of people.
There is a place for you at our table.
The qualitative and quantitative approach to inclusive communities means creating a school environment that not only reflects our community and our world through the diversity of ethnicities, cultures, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, perspectives, and beliefs, but also ensures there is a place at the table and a voice in the conversation. The work to create a community that is culturally competent and practices respectful discourse is at the center of our work in diversity and equity.
For over a decade KiKi Davis has led our all-school DEIB efforts. Guided by our mission to celebrate diversity and ensure that each member of our community is valued as a child of God, Ms. Davis has promoted the importance of open, constructive discourse in our community. Over her tenure, she has developed a comprehensive professional development program for our faculty and staff, led the creation of student affinity groups across all three divisions, created workshops, conferences, and forums both for our students and members of the broader community, and has helped humanities teachers to integrate cultural competency skills into their curriculum. Ms. Davis has been and remains a constant resource and support system for our students, faculty, staff and families.
Understanding the need to develop more programming to support students, faculty, staff, alumni, and families and to deepen our commitment to DEIB work at SSSAS, we created the position of Associate Director of Equity and Diversity. After an extensive search we are pleased to share that Joe Wenger, longtime Upper School English teacher and current Upper School Equity and Diversity Coordinator, has been selected for this position. As DEIB work is a deep passion of his, Mr. Wenger has participated in ongoing professional development in this area over the past five years. He has also distinguished himself as a leader both inside and outside of the Saints community, having led SSSAS faculty professional development workshops and presented at the National Association of Episcopal Schools Diversity and Inclusion Conference. He will support KiKi’s work to better serve the community across all three campuses.
Longtime teacher and coach Bernard Joseph formally assumed the role of DEIB Program Assistant during the fall of 2020. He focuses on student and parent affinity group programming, serves as a liaison between our alumni and students, and continues as a mentor for faculty of color in years 2-5 at SSSAS. In the past five years, Bernard has worked passionately to assist in the building and sustaining of an inclusive school community. He was instrumental in the development of the Lower School Affinity groups and has presented at the Upper School Colloquium for the Common Good “The Reemergence of the Athlete Activist." Bernard has participated in the following professional development opportunities related to Diversity Equity and Inclusion: “The National Diversity and Practitioners Institute (NDPI)," “My Brothers’ Keeper Retreat for Men of Color in Education," “The White Privilege Institute,” and several “People Of Color Conferences.”
Rooted in our mission to inspire a passion for learning and to celebrate diversity, St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes School affirms the unique value of each member of our community as a child of God. We seek to provide opportunities to practice the virtue of goodness.
Respectful discourse is the practice of people with differing perspectives engaging in active listening and the exchange of ideas to seek mutual understanding and personal growth.
Our school’s mission and the mission of the Episcopal Church call us to uphold respectful discourse as a way of recognizing the diversity of God’s creation and as a means of bridging ideological gaps, leading to relational reconciliation and transformation.
DEIB Affiliations and Organizations
Independent School Faculty/Staff/Administrator of Color in the DMV Group
National Association of Independent School People of Color Conference
Judith Heumann, Internationally recognized disabilities activist and author
James Megessto, Lawyer and Indigenous Rights Advocate, speaker and member of the Onondaga Nation
Schuyler Bailar, First Openly Transgender Division I Swimmer - Assembly Speaker (2021)
Richard Blanco, Presidential Inaugural Poet - SSSAS Poet in Residence (2018)
John Chapman, SSSAS Graduate and Alexandria City Council Member-Upper School Assembly Speaker and 5th Grade Leadership Series Speaker
Marcia Chatelain, Professor of History and African American Studies at Georgetown University - Colloquium Keynote Speaker (2019)
Elizabeth Eckford, Member of the Little Rock Nine - Assembly Speaker (2019)
Alysia Harris, SSSAS Graduate and Professional Poet - Chapel Speaker and Poet in Residence 2018, 2019
Chris Newman, SSSAS Graduate and Organic Farmer/Activist - Keynote Speaker, Colloquium for the Common Good
Vishavjit Singh, “Being Sikh after 911 - Racial Implications” - Assembly Speaker in MS/US (2018)
Committees and Groups
Faculty and Student Affinity Groups (LS, MS, US):
AAMATE (Black/African American males)
ACT (Asians Coming Together group of Asian American Students)
Boys of Color Affinity Group (MS)
Girls of Color Affinity Group (MS)
Juntos (Latino Students)
Jewish Affinity Group (JAG)
Sisterhood (Black/African American females)
Women Affinity Group
Young Boys of Color (LS)
Young Girls of Color (LS)
Student Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Groups
Alphabet Alliance (MS)
Student Committee on Racial Equity-S.C.O.R.E. (US)
Faculty of Color Affinity Group
LGBTQIA+ Affinity Group
Steering Committee on Anti-Racist Programming
Mentor program for Faculty in Color in Years 2-5
Parent Affinity Groups (All School)
Faculty and Staff Professional Development
Professional development speakers have included: Howard Stevenson, Constance Clayborn professor of Urban Education at University of Pennsylvania and author of "Promoting Racial Literacy in Schools (2019); Peggy McIntosh, former Associate Director of the Wellesley Center for Women, co-founder of SEED, and author of "Unpacking the Invisible Backpack of White Privilege" (2016); Andre Robert Lee, Screening of film “Prep School Negro," professional development session with faculty, spoke with students of color about Black independent school experience (2012).
Required training session by division of how to handle specific scenarios around race. (Fall 2018)
Gender identity workshop by Ted Lewis, Executive Director of Side by Side. (2017)
Donna Ryan Faculty and Administrator Multicultural Seminar for all new employees. (This has been a contractually-required program for over 15 years.)
Cultural Competency training for all staff.
Annual coaches workshop on anti-bias and inclusive practices.
SEED (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity) Monthly Dinners and Discussions (2014-present)
Faculty/Staff Examining Whiteness Group (meets 7 times per year since the fall of 2018)
Steering Committee for Anti-Racist Programming (group of faculty members JK-12 that looks at curriculum development from an anti-racist lens (2019))
Anti-bias training for hiring managers
Professional development speakers have included: Howard Stevenson, Constance Clayborn professor of Urban Education at University of Pennsylvania and author of "Promoting Racial Literacy in Schools (2019); Peggy McIntosh, former Associate Director of the Wellesley Center for Women, co-founder of SEED, and author of "Unpacking the Invisible Backpack of White Privilege" (2016); Debby Irving, author of "Waking Up White" (will be rescheduled this year); Andre Robert Lee, Screening of film “Prep School Negro," professional development session with faculty, spoke with students of color about Black independent school experience (2012).
Recent Faculty/Staff Reading and Listening:
"So You Want To Talk About Race" by Ijeoma Olou
"Waking Up White" by Debby Irving
"How To Be An Antiracist" by Ibram X. Kendi
"Between the World and Me" by Ta-Nehisi Coates
"Real American" by Julie Lythcott-Haims
"The Fire Next Time" by James Baldwin
Scene on Radio, Season 2 (Seeing White)
Hiring a Diverse Faculty
SSSAS has developed a hiring handbook that integrates equitable and inclusive practices throughout the hiring process.
All hiring managers were trained on equitable hiring practices and the role of unconscious bias in hiring decisions.
The current faculty is 22% faculty of color, and the percentage of faculty of color hired during the past three years is:
2018-2019- 37% 2019-2020- 24% 2020-2021- 37%
During the 2019-2020 school year members of the SSSAS faculty and administration attended the following hiring fairs: