The school seeks a Director of Inclusion and Community Life to assume the role in July 2021. The Director will work with the administration, faculty, and students to ensure that diversity, equity, and inclusion are integrated throughout every aspect of the community and curriculum. In alignment with the school’s mission, Strategic Plan for Inclusion, and 2020-2021 Action Plan to Strengthen Equity, Inclusion, and Campus Culture, the Director will plan and execute on new and existing organizational-wide DEI initiatives, professional development sessions, policies, and systems to foster inclusivity, diversity, and equity across campus. As a member of the administrative team, the Director must be passionate about DEI work and be a strategic leader who will work to strengthen and build holistic DEI strategy for Deerfield.
Deerfield Academy is an independent, coeducational boarding and day school for 648 students in grades 9-12 (and offering a post-graduate year). Deerfield is widely recognized for its rigorous academic programs, its vast array of co-curricular opportunities, and its rich campus life, where traditions and togetherness are embedded in the school community. As a result, the Academy attracts a highly motivated student body; graduates go on to thrive at many of the world’s finest colleges and universities.
Across all parts of the student experience, Deerfield strives to create a “community of character” in which students practice the qualities of conscientious leadership, citizenship, and self-reflection. Set in an historic village in Western Massachusetts that is bounded by river, hills, and farms, Deerfield inspires reflection, study and play, abiding friendships, and a defining school spirit. A vibrant, ethical community that embraces diversity, the Academy prepares students for leadership in a rapidly changing world that requires global understanding, environmental stewardship, and dedication to service.
Boarding & day students: 577 and 70, respectively
Students of color: 42%
Total faculty: 136
Faculty of color: 19%
Faculty with advanced degrees: 70%
Student/teacher ratio: 5:1
Financial aid budget: $12M
Student receiving aid: 37%
In 1797, Massachusetts Governor Samuel Adams signed an “act for establishing an Academy in the Town of Deerfield by the name of Deerfield Academy,” which charged the Academy with “the instruction of youth, and the promotion of piety, religion, and morality.” For over a hundred years the Academy served the local community. However, by the turn of the 19th century, enrollment had slowed to an all-time low.
In 1902, Frank L. Boyden was named headmaster. During his 66-year tenure, Mr. Boyden, along with his wife, Helen Childs Boyden, recruited students and an excellent faculty, grew the curriculum, expanded the school’s athletics program, and transformed the campus—building a gymnasium, dining hall, library, numerous dormitories and classroom buildings, and the iconic Main School Building. In the decades following Mr. Boyden’s unique tenure, Deerfield navigated through a multitude of changes: balancing macro-environment issues with enhancing the Deerfield Experience for students, including the transition to coeducation, strengthening the Academy’s financial position, and investing in significant improvements to key campus facilities. Today, under the leadership of its 56th Head of School, Dr. John P.N. Austin, the Academy is committed to creating and sustaining vibrant educational communities that honor student initiative, creativity, and wellness; and to school cultures that foster supportive, caring relationships between adults and young people within a culture of respect, clear values, diversity, inclusion, and educational opportunity.
Deerfield students represent 35 states and 47 countries. Fourteen percent of the student body hails from outside the United States, while 70 day students come to the Academy from nearby areas. Forty-two percent of the student body identify as students of color, and diversity and inclusion are a core part of the school’s vision. Deerfield considers cultural competency essential to the pursuit of excellence and success, both on campus and beyond. Financial aid amounts to almost a quarter of the school’s total annual revenue, fully or partially supporting 37% of enrolled students.
Deerfield has been described as “a medium-sized school running a big-school program, striving to preserve a small-school feel,” a balance supported by the Academy’s outstanding faculty and staff members, whose hard work provides learning opportunities for students in and out of the classroom. A student-faculty ratio of 5:1 not only guarantees small class sizes but also allows for quality interactions around the dining table, in the dormitory, and on the playing fields. Of Deerfield’s 136 faculty, 70 percent hold advanced degrees and 19 percent identify as people of color.
Deerfield is committed to the highest standards of scholarship, citizenship, and personal responsibility. Through a rigorous liberal arts curriculum, extensive co-curricular program, and supportive residential environment, Deerfield encourages each student to develop an inquisitive and creative mind, strong moral character, and sound body. At Deerfield, “EQ”—emotional intelligence—is as valued as “IQ,” and the development of both serves graduates well in college and beyond.
Working at Deerfield is a lifestyle unto its own, characterized by a deep commitment to students both in and out of the classroom. Faculty are fully engaged in every aspect of students’ lives, and meaningful and trusting relationships between faculty and students are a defining principle of the Deerfield Experience. Through School Meetings, seated family-style meals, the advisory program, and the low faculty to student ratio in the dormitories, caring and deeply supportive relationships are prioritized and constantly reinforced. With state-of-the art facilities and a robust endowment, Deerfield is able to offer its students the depth and breadth of “big school” programs with “small school” individual attention.
INCLUSION & COMMUNITY LIFE
Deerfield considers cultural competency essential to the pursuit of excellence and success, both on campus and beyond. The Office of Inclusion and Community Life works to ensure that the Academy encourages acceptance and understanding of differences at all institutional levels. Through trainings, lectures, special programs, and short- and long-term strategic goals, the office collaborates with all departments to support a campus-wide conversation and effort leading to the development of institutional priorities for sustaining diversity work.
Creating a fully inclusive and supportive school culture that embraces and honors the individuality of each student is central at Deerfield and is the focus of the school’s first Strategic Plan for Inclusion, first approved in 2016. This plan prioritizes student support; provides enhanced professional learning opportunities for staff, faculty, and trustees; and affirms equity and inclusion as essential to the pursuit of excellence.
Like all educational institutions, Deerfield can evolve, improve, and build on the accomplishments of the past. The Academy’s 2020-2021 Action Plan to Strengthen Equity, Inclusion, and Campus Culture outlines initial action steps the school is taking to address the recent concerns from students and alumni regarding racial equity and justice. These include promoting a Senior Staff member to Assistant Head of School to lead strategic initiatives, including the Action plan; filling four new, key positions, including a Dean of Inclusive Teaching and Learning, an Assistant Admission Director of Multicultural, an Associate Dean of Faculty to strengthen efforts to hire a diverse a diverse faculty, and the Director of Inclusion and Community Life; appointing a task force to review Deerfield’s disciplinary processes; and formalizing the “Deerfield Forum” as a means to provide regular, sustained opportunities for listening and the exchange of diverse views and conversation. The plan also includes steps to review the curriculum, handbook policies, and the financial aid program, as well as to engage alumni as a resource.
Deerfield’s academic program is both broad and deep: with over 170 courses in its catalog, students can explore a wide variety of topics and interests—from ethics to Arabic to experimental neurology. Small class sizes allow for discussion-based courses, and opportunities for individual research, off-campus travel, and directed and alternate study propel students to take their learning to the next level. With Advanced Placement (AP) courses, many “post-AP” courses, and numerous interdisciplinary offerings, Deerfield’s curriculum challenges students to think critically and creatively across subject areas. By the time they graduate, all students have completed a rigorous program that bridges the humanities and STEM areas.
Deerfield students study English, history, modern and classical languages, philosophy, and religion with an eye toward understanding the human condition. Through the humanities, including English classes, students become careful readers, responsible thinkers, and clear and precise communicators. In the languages, Deerfield students master Arabic, Chinese, French, Latin, or Spanish, building skills and deepening their understanding of other cultures. Meanwhile, through the school’s history curriculum, Deerfield encourages students to be informed, perceptive, and engaged citizens of the world. All students take a one-term course in philosophy or religion. Public speaking is a key part of the Academy experience, which culminates in the composition and delivery of original meditations by Deerfield seniors.
STEM at Deerfield centers on an inquiry-based program that cultivates independent problem-solving. A physics-chemistry-biology core sequence prepares young scientists for more advanced studies in upper-level courses such as Anatomy & Physiology and Orthopedic Biomechanics, and an annual science symposium allows students to showcase independent research projects that have resulted in published works. Every Deerfield student completes at least three years of math and a newly expanded computer science program places an emphasis on problem and project-based learning.
In all subject areas, juniors and seniors may opt for advanced directed studies, working one-on-one with faculty members to pursue passions and talents, while the Academy’s alternate study program facilitates ambitious projects on and off campus.
ART AND ATHLETICS
At Deerfield, dozens of different arts classes allow students at all levels of experience to cultivate confidence, resilience, collaboration, discipline, and creativity through artistic expression. In the visual arts, students experiment across a variety of media, styles, and techniques, striving to communicate deeply-felt work rich with narrative content. Performing arts are integral to the Deerfield Experience with more than 100 students working with the Theater Program as actors and technicians in four annual theatrical productions. Deerfield dancers may undertake training in modern, jazz, ballet, pointe, hip-hop, and contemporary dance techniques. Student musicians play in various instrumental ensembles, take advantage of opportunities for solo study, and hone their technical understanding in courses on composition and music theory. Across disciplines, Deerfield’s artists benefit from outstanding facilities, including the Elizabeth Wachsman Concert Hall and the Hess Center for the Arts.
With 69 interscholastic team offerings, from basketball and lacrosse to rowing, water polo, and alpine skiing, as well as a broad range of recreational activities, Deerfield’s athletic program provides attractive options for all students. The Academy values excellent coaching, high levels of participation, and sportsmanship, regardless of the level of play. A member of the Eight Schools Association, Deerfield also regularly competes against a variety of other New England schools, with interscholastic teams playing at the Class A or Division I level in the New England Prep School Athletic Conference competitions.
Life at Deerfield is full and dynamic. In addition to academic responsibilities, each student participates in a cocurricular activity every term, choosing from interscholastic sports, dance, community service, theater, outdoor skills, and many others. Wednesday and Saturday afternoons are reserved for games, rehearsals, or extended activities, while free time might be devoted to clubs. On weekend evenings, Deerfield students congregate at “the Greer”—a campus snack bar and hangout—enjoy down-time in the dorms, or leave campus for a movie or other activity. Through all this, the Deerfield Experience is shaped by the school’s rich traditions—from hikes to “the Rock” to the annual Choate Day bonfire. Throughout the school year, weekly gatherings such as School Meetings, dorm “feeds,” and sit-down meals foster community and connection. The Dining Hall is host to seven family-style meals each week, with groups of nine students and one faculty member sitting down around a table to share in food (often locally sourced, including from the Academy’s own greenhouse) and conversation.
Through Deerfield’s Center for Service and Global Citizenship (CSGC), students participate in service programs, serving as mentors to local elementary school children, helping at a shelter for transient populations, building homes for Habitat for Humanity, visiting nursing home residents, helping at the local Food Bank, and serving as Big Brothers and Big Sisters in the Franklin County Big Brother/Big Sister Program.
In addition, the CSGC supports student efforts to promote environmental sustainability and fosters international understanding through the Global Studies Travel Program, overseeing faculty-led trips that place students in contact with new perspectives and new cultures. Deerfield groups study marine ecology in the Bahamas, build houses in the Dominican Republic, and experience the arts in London. Other programs extend across an entire term or school year, as students attend the School of Ethics and Global Leadership in Washington, DC, the Maine Coast Semester at Chewonki, or participate in School Year Abroad in Italy, Spain, France or China, exposing themselves to new environments, challenges, and opportunities for growth.
Deerfield’s campus consists of 343 acres with 16 dormitories, a dining hall, library, and academic buildings, alongside state-of-the-art athletics and arts facilities. In the last ten years, the school has undertaken eight major building and renovation projects, including a new health and wellness center, which was completed in 2019.
Deerfield athletes practice and play on 90 acres of fields, 21 tennis courts (including six covered), two gymnasiums with three basketball courts, two synthetic turf fields, an eight-lane track, and in the Dewey Squash Center and Koch Pool. Rowers benefit from the 5,900 square-foot boathouse, located on the nearby Connecticut River. The Academy’s new Athletics Complex opened in 2018. It features a hockey rink, fieldhouse with elevated track, crew tanks, exercise rooms, and more.
Deerfield Academy sits amidst meadows and farmland, with the Pocumtuck Range to the east and the Deerfield River to the west. Located in the heart of Western Massachusetts, Deerfield enjoys four scenic seasons and is home to just over 5,000 residents. With Greenfield to the north, and the “Five Colleges” of Amherst, Smith, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, and UMass 20 minutes to the south, the area is rich with cultural and intellectual resources, offering galleries, bookstores, restaurants, coffee houses, movie theaters, and a unique collection of shops.
The village of Deerfield itself is a historic landmark with an outdoor museum and 12 carefully preserved antique houses, where visitors may immerse themselves in the history and culture of the area. Two junior boarding schools are within walking distance of Deerfield: the coeducational Bement School and the all-boys Eaglebrook School.
ABOUT THIS POSITION:
Reporting to the Assistant Head of School for Student Life, the Director of Inclusion and Community Life fosters an inclusive community that embraces and affirms difference. The Director also works with the Student Life Office to design, implement, and support student programs, school-wide events, and Alliances in order to strengthen inclusion and build cultural competency. Additionally, working with members of the Dean of Faculty’s Office and Academic Affairs, this Director will help support inclusive hiring practices and the development of an inclusive curricular program.
Primary Duties and responsibilities:
- Develop, monitor, and oversee student-facing inclusion-related education and programs within the Office of Inclusion and Community Life.
- Collaborate closely with the Associate Dean of Faculty and the Dean of Inclusive Teaching and Learning to advance the goals outlined in the Strategic Plan for Inclusion and the Head of School’s Action Plan.
- Oversee efforts to develop and embed cultural competency skills: effective communication and productive work with all community members.
- Oversee student Alliances. Train employees to serve as advisors for student Alliances, in collaboration with the Dean of Faculty.
- Develop and implement training programs for student groups (e.g., clubs and Alliances) and employees.
- Support individual students one-on-one on a case-by-case basis.
Opportunities and Challenges
- Supporting the work of community and inclusion as part of a new organizational team.
- Working collaboratively to problem solve complex community challenges related to difference, belonging, and justice.
- Bringing diverse thought communities together for constructive conversations that require enthusiastic discourse.
- Joining a school community that has deepened its commitment to equity, inclusion, and belonging.
- Collaborating with a new cohort of inclusion professionals in teaching and learning as well as admissions.
- Living at a school with generous resources to support the work of community, equity, and inclusion.
Desired Qualities and Qualifications
- A deep knowledge of best practices in equity and inclusion work and a demonstrated experience in presenting and leading such work.
- An empathic, self-assured, and strong leadership style with an ability to work with broad constituencies in an approachable and optimistic manner.
- An ability to balance the sense of tradition from Deerfield’s 200+ year history, while helping it grow, innovate, and become the school it aspires to be in the 21st
- A system-thinker with excellent organizational skills, strong attention to detail, and great follow-through.
- A confidence and humility to encourage dialogue while engaging in challenging conversation with grace.
- An enthusiasm for and experience with working with a high achieving, diverse, and dynamic group of students.
- A “teacher at heart” with a particular passion for teaching about issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
- An understanding of an appreciation for boarding school communities.
Interested and qualified candidates should submit electronically in one email and as separate documents (preferably PDFs) the following materials by January 29, 2021:
- A cover letter expressing interest in this particular position and potential match;
- A current and comprehensive resume;
- A list of five professional references with name, relationship, phone number, and email address of each (references will not be contacted without the candidate’s permission) to: