Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Embracing light, truth and belonging.
At Western Reserve Academy, we believe diversity, equity and inclusion are imperative and over-arching. These are critical lenses that help us understand the complexity and nuances of our students’ experiences, maximize the potential of each student, strengthen our ability to equip our students with the tools they need to succeed, and create an environment where every student's perspective and voice is valued and heard.
We understand that diversity of thought and experience is critical to sustaining and strengthening our institutional values. We are committed to fostering experiences in all aspects of life at Reserve — programmatic, academic, residential and more — in support of this. In doing this, we hope every student feels a profound and sincere sense of belonging and knows without doubt that here, they can flourish.
We recognize there is a gap between what we aspire to do and our current state. Together, we are working to bridge that gap. Institutionally, we approach this work from a place of humility; as we make progress, we realize we will likely make mistakes and constantly learn. Given our passion and steadfast commitment, we are confident our words and actions will and indeed must continue to evolve. This is an ever-important journey, another step forward with hope and purpose ever top of mind.
Read a letter from Head of School Suzanne Walker Buck and Dean of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Dr. James Greenwood, sent on April 27, 2021.
- Read our Anti-Harassment/Anti-Violence Policy in WRA's 2020-2021 Student Handbook (page 21)
- Read our LGBTQIA+ Inclusion Policy in WRA's 2020-2021 Student Handbook (page 24)
- Read our Anti-Bullying Policy in WRA's 2020-2021 Student Handbook (page 25)
- Learn more about Bias Reporting in WRA's 2020-21 Student Handbook (page 25)
Recent DEI Progress in 2020-21
- ESTABLISHED WRA'S DEI OFFICE
- ORGANIZED DEI STUDENT ORIENTATION AND FACULTY PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
- Enhanced WRA Affinity and Identity-Based Groups
- INCREASED DIVERSITY IN FACULTY, STAFF AND TRUSTEES
- WELCOMED DR. LISA SIMS TO COUNSELING STAFF
- DEVELOPED SYSTEM FOR REPORTING BIAS INCIDENTS
- LED IN PROFESSIONAL LEARNING & INDUSTRY INSIGHTS
- increased opportunities for professional development
- ESTABLISHED TASKFORCE ON CIVIL DISCOURSE
- PARTNERED WITH HUDSON COMMUNITY & BEYOND
- INTRODUCED MLK WEEK & FOCUSED ON CELEBRATING HERITAGE MONTHS
Dean of Diversity, Equity & InclusionWestern Reserve Academy is excited to announced the appointment of Dr. James Greenwood as Dean of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at Western Reserve Academy. Dr. Greenwood brings a deep and rich history working in independent schools. Most recently, he served as the Dean of Equity and Inclusion at St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire. Born and raised in Cleveland, Dr. Greenwood graduated from Kenyon College with a BA in American Studies with a concentration in African and African American Studies. He currently serves on Kenyon's alumni board. He holds a Master of Arts in teaching from Brown University and a Masters of Education from Columbia University.
Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
This year, Western Reserve Academy English Department faculty member Brandi Wheeler has also served as the Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. A gifted moderator, balanced voice and consensus builder, Brandi brings her many skills and infectious charisma to her position and will help WRA bring key issues to the forefront with grit, grace -- and with our appreciation. She will also continue to teach her electives, African American Fiction and African American Nonfiction, in Seymour Hall's English wing.
Frederick Douglass Fellow
We are very excited to announce that Iiyannaa Graham-Siphanoum will be the first Frederick Douglass Fellow at Western Reserve Academy! A boarding school alum herself, Iiyannaa graduated from Northfield Mount Hermon School in Gill, MA where she was heavily involved in DEI work at the school. She has also worked as assistant program director for the SOAR program at NMH (a program for incoming students of color) and as an AmeriCorps Member for the NMH chapter of Upward Bound. As a Douglass Fellow, Ms. Graham-Siphanoum will work closely with Dr. Greenwood in supporting WRA's DEI programs and initiatives.
The DEI Committee is dedicated to ensuring respect, appreciation and celebration of the composition of our community. Reserve's student population is incredibly diverse — not just in terms of race — and our DEI Committee is committed to working with members of the WRA community to make sure we examine how all aspects of Reserve function through a DEI lens, informing how we teach, how we resolve conflicts and more.
The Student DEI Committee is an engaged and committed group of students who work to facilitate communication between students and school, as well as advise and offer personal perspective on DEI decisions. As members of the Student DEI Committee, they receive training in DEI work so that they may act as a liaison between students and faculty to share questions, concerns and issues.
Programs and InitiativesRace Space was founded by History Chair Dr. Lisabeth Robinson and is an invitation to all students to attend and participate in an open and honest discussion about race. Through Race Space, students have met to discuss relevant and pressing topics such as race and language, racial violence, racism in sports and more.
WRA's Lean In Chapter is an active and supportive organization that invites students to come together to share and discuss knowledge, wisdom, concerns and stor
Below you'll find our student-led affinity groups, who host events, spread awareness and create an inclusive and celebratory environment in support of diversity. Part of the Reserve experience is learning about new customs, traditions and various holidays, either from the efforts of our students groups or other community members. There is always opportunity for our students to broaden our offerings with new ideas, events and organizations. Please feel free contact the DEI Committee at email@example.com if you have any new ideas, new events or new affinity groups you'd like to see on campus.
++ MEET WESTERN RESERVE ACADEMY'S AFFINITY GROUPS ++