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Equity Task Force Members Announced

Kalamazoo Public School announced the members of its Equity Task Force at the April 22 Board of Education meeting. 

Superintendent Dr. Rita Raichoudhuri said the district was pleased to receive 125 applications for the task force, indicating an unexpectedly high interest in the work the group will undertake. 

“The responses to the application questions demonstrated that we have a truly passionate group of people in Kalamazoo committed to finding solutions to our equity challenges,” Raichoudhuri said. “Tonight, I am pleased to announce the applicants who were selected to serve on the KPS Equity Task Force. These 16 members represent a balance of stakeholder groups and diverse identities, cultures, races, genders, religions, a cross section of age groups from the 20s to 70s, and a rich variety of life and professional experiences.”

Raichoudhuri announced plans to form a task force in the summer of 2020 after the murder of George Floyd. In December, she put out a call for applications, saying the purpose of the team would be to, “eliminate and dismantle racism and other forms of intolerance and discrimination within the district’s practices, policies, goals, curriculum and culture to support positive and meaningful impact in Kalamazoo.”

The application said, “Team members should have the ability to exercise empathy and build strong trust, collaboration and communication among diverse identities and membership.”

Here is the make-up of the task force: nine out of the16 members are people of color, including members who identify as black, Latinx, Native American, Asian, and Middle Eastern/Arab. Two members identify as LGBTQ, and six identified as male and the others as female.

Stakeholder groups included KPS employees, parents, and community partners. Eight out of the 16 members indicated that they are affiliated with multiple stakeholder groups. Eight are parents, seven are community partners, and seven are KPS employees. The KPS employee group includes teachers, school staff, school leaders, and district leaders.

The members of the Equity Task Force, listed alphabetically by last name, are:

Chris Aguinaga, principal of Loy Norrix High School

Nkenge Bergan, director of Student Services and KPS parent

Dorla Coleman-Bonner, director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for the City of Kalamazoo

Patricia Carlin, mental health provider and staff at Northeastern Elementary

James Devers, executive director of Communities in School Kalamazoo and former KPS parent

Micole Dyson, principal of Woods Lake Elementary: A Center for the Arts

Angela Gross, a Kalamazoo Regional Educational Service Agency bilingual support staff, parent advocate, and KPS parent

Jen Young Heymoss, from the Kalamazoo Community Foundation, a former KPS teacher, and soon to be KPS parent

Matt McCullough, director of Curriculum, Instruction and Professional Development for KPS and KPS parent

Kawther Mohammed, a bilingual/migrant paraprofessional at Milwood Magnet School and KPS parent

Jason Morris, former KPS Board of Education trustee and KPS parent

Bridget Timmeney, researcher with The W.E. Upjohn Institute and KPS parent

Adrian Vasquez, executive director of El Concilio

Laird Walker, KRESA social emotional learning and restorative justice coach

Deb Evans, KPS teacher, Hillside Middle School

Christina Getachew, KPS parent

The work of the task force will begin on May 26 with a half day of learning about how brain psychology impacts bias. The task force is expected to work on issues of equity and inclusion in the district for the next 18 months.

equity task force

Equity Task Force members