Debbie Taylor starts as the school's first Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
By Hania Raza
As the newly appointed Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), Debbie Taylor has recently taken charge of a very important mission.
Taylor implements programs for the students and provides training for the staff to promote diversity and fairness. These are vital values to have in all educational institutions, and they are crucial for the advancement and improvement of a civilized society.
“North Cross is a school that produces future leaders, teachers, politicians, doctors and lawyers,” said Taylor. “Having diversity and inclusion at a place like North Cross helps to make our next generation better than the present and the last.”
Before coming to North Cross, Taylor went to Johnson C. Smith University and then worked for 15 years at the John Crosland School in Charlotte, NC, an independent school for students with learning differences. She also worked at Brookstone Christian Schools for four years and James Martin Middle School for four years. She started her work in the DEI program at her last school, but she has been passionate about it for the majority of her life. She expressed that it has always been a big part of her life.
“Once you realize you are being treated unfairly, differently and excluded you become passionate about being treated fairly. I have taught my students that everyone is equal. That everyone should be treated fair and with kindness and respect,” said Taylor. “I knew that Diversity, Equity and Inclusion was something I have always done and something I wanted to continue to do.”
After relocating to Virginia this past April, Taylor came to North Cross because it was highly recommended.
“After hearing about North Cross, interviewing, and being on campus,” Taylor said, “I felt it would be a great school to work for.”
During her time at North Cross, Taylor said that she wants to provide a safe space for students, where everyone will feel respected and part of the school.
“I see North Cross as an institution that will embrace different cultures, religions, races, economic status and sexual orientation,” Taylor said, “A place where everyone is comfortable, acknowledged and celebrated.”
Taylor continued by saying that she wants to “increase awareness about biases and stereotypes that many do not know that they have and display.”
So far, Taylor has already made a positive impact on the school by involving the students in Hispanic Heritage Month.
She recently announced that she will be giving out a gift card to the person who can name the most influential Hispanic People.
Stephen Belderes, the director of the upper school, said that he is highly impressed with Taylor’s ability to make a difference at North Cross.
“I think she has already brought a positive change, just in the relationships that she has already established in the last three weeks,” Belderes said. “I’ve actually been really impressed with that.”
“I want everyone to understand we can not fix problems we do not acknowledge,” Taylor said. “Talking and learning about Diversity, Equity and Inclusion does not cause division, it brings awareness.”
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