Rasheda is Wildwood School’s Director of Equity and Inclusion, is a highly sought-after facilitator, and Co-Chair of the National Association of Independent School’s 2017 People of Color Conference Conference. She coordinates Wildwood’s numerous affinity groups and the school’s K-12 Multicultural Leadership Team.
Rasheda sees that students who understand themselves are more likely to thrive. “At Wildwood, we’ve shifted away from only focusing on multicultural lessons about ‘the other’ to teaching and learning about our own identities and our relationship to that category.” That approach works, Rasheda says, because for students, examining their own background, values, and experiences is a natural focus and the best place to start. “Consider yourself, and from there, you can start to look at others and begin to better understand people around you.”
Rasheda leads the Multicultural Leadership Team of faculty and administrators, dedicated to sustaining an inclusive community at Wildwood. The ongoing professional development for faculty and staff shows up on campus and in classrooms, where teachers actively integrate diversity-related themes into advisory and class curriculum.
Each year, Rasheda travels with Wildwood upper schoolers to the NAIS Student Diversity Leadership Conference. The trip inspires their work toward the annual Wildwood Multicultural Symposium, a full-day communitywide event feature speakers, workshops, and performances.
At Wildwood, student affinity groups meet monthly, and Rasheda believes that keeping the conversation open has inspired students to advocate for themselves and one another. One example is a student of color peer mentor program.
“I am from an interracial and nontraditional family structure myself and needed to learn how to navigate that effectively,” Rasheda says. “I now appreciate the opportunity to support others as they develop a sense of their own identity and learn how to make connections across differences.”