New schoolwide faculty committee strives to create a more inclusive TAS community

+The+JEDI+Committee+hosted+a+%E2%80%9CSafe+Space+Dialogue%E2%80%9D+for+seniors+on+Oct.+12.++%5BSABRINA+CHANG%2FTHE+BLUE+%26+GOLD%5D

The JEDI Committee hosted a “Safe Space Dialogue” for seniors on Oct. 12. [SABRINA CHANG/THE BLUE & GOLD]

Sabrina C. ('21)

The Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) faculty committee is a newly formed initiative that focuses on serving as a platform to create change and improvement throughout TAS to foster a more inclusive community. 

With increasing attention drawn to incidents of racial violence in the United States along with the expression of heightened concerns of  social issues at TAS, members of the administration and faculty were prompted to create a group to battle possible issues of oppression and prejudice TAS and help educate people on these topics. 

Many faculty members volunteered to be part of the program across all school divisions. The committee has already had a series of meetings, featuring divisional check-ins, collaborative conversations between the task force and TAS administration. 

“If you are going to make the whole school inclusive, you need voices and representation from all divisions,” said Upper School History Teacher and Representative of the JEDI Committee Dr. Erika Soublet. “Everybody needs to work together.” 

Improving the overall community and curriculum is a large task to tackle, thus the committee is still solidifying their mission. “Before you can make any plans for anything, you have to figure out what the issues are,” said Dr. Soublet. “What I am focusing on right now is collecting data to understand what concerns people may have right now.”

Dr. Soublet and JEDI are in the process of creating and sending out surveys to different parts of the TAS community to gain insight into which issues are deemed the most urgent and important. 

Mr. Ryan Haynes and Mr. Jaami Franklin, upper school representatives of JEDI, facilitated an open dialogue discussion for seniors in October. “I was pleased that people felt safe and comfortable in that setting to speak up on a variety of topics,” Director of Upper School Academic and Personal Counseling Mr. Haynes said. 

The seniors that attended were very passionate about their thoughts on issues such as racial slurs and the minimal sex education program at TAS. “It was a great opportunity to widen topics beyond what we talk about in classes and advisory,” said Sofia L. (‘21), one of the seniors who attended. “Hearing everyone’s opinions really captivated me.” 

Leaders of the JEDI Committee have hosted an informational discussion similar to this with TAS parents as well, and they hope to expand conversations to other parts of the community in the near future.

The committee looks forward to bringing changes to TAS to ensure that the institution continues to foster academic exploration and growth, but in a safer and more inclusive environment.

JEDI Committee Members: 

JEDI Organizers:

Nathan Smith 

(Administrator, TAS Parent and US Teacher)

Ryan Haynes 

(US Counselor and TAS Parent)

Keva Bui 

(Alumnus, Class of 2012)

Gwendolyn Harris 

(TAS Parent and Community Member)

Lower School Representatives:

Jennifer Fisher

Brianna Pannell

Maria Peters

Ben Thompson

Middle School Representatives: 

Aaron Sorenson

Anisha Vinod

Savanna Kuisle

Chrisanne Roseleip Fossouo

Upper School Representatives: 

Melanie Hamre

Jaami Franklin

Erika Soublet

Chase Williams

Cross-Divisional: 

Connie Ma: Alumni Office

TK Edwards: 6-12

Jess Huang: KA-12

Resource Consultant:

Richard Arnold

Upper School Divisional Team:

Anthony Ives

Beth Clarke

Brett Barrus

Chase Williams

Cheryl Lagerquist

Darby Sinclair

David Matlock

Dave Montgomery

Erika Soublet

Jaami Franklin

Joan Pipkin

Kevin Held

Melanie Hamre

Michelle Kao

Richard Arnold

Ryan Haynes

Sanders McMillan

Sarah Peters

Shanice Kok

Stephanie Chiang

Find out more about JEDI online via the TAS Parent, Faculty and Student Portals.