At the school’s second Moving Forward meeting, President Rick Commons announced that Associate Director of Admission Janine Jones will be immediately taking the position of Interim Directory of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in addition to her current position.
“The HW community should expect more tangible and visible efforts surrounding DEI,” Jones said. “Some changes will be immediate, but others will be more long term.”
As Director of DEI, Jones will assess the school’s needs based off of the February DEI climate assessment and conversations with students, faculty and staff as the school initiates a search to find a permanent person for the position.
“I should add that the original intention in waiting until 2018-2019 for a Director of DEI was to make sure that our DEI work would be fully supported by the community before bringing in a Director,” President Rick Commons said in an email to faculty.
“However, the many conversations taking place at school these days (DEI lunches, community forums, discussions of recent disciplinary events, to name a few) have convinced me that we are ready for leadership now.”
Commons said that Jones has already been performing much of the duties of her new position.
“She’s the one who orchestrated the hiring education conference on how to hire a more diverse faculty,” Commons said. “She’s been doing this kind of work, despite the fact that she hasn’t had the title.”
Jones, married to Upper School Dean Christopher Jones and mother of Taylor Jones ’18, is also a member of Parents of African American Harvard Westlake Students.
After graduating from Spelman College with a B.A. in French and a J.D. from Howard University School of Law, Jones became a lawyer, specializing in labor law and human resources, and she served as an adviser for former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland.
“My hope is that the changes will not only be lasting but also far reaching,” Jones said. “It will also be interesting to see what the results would be should be school decide to do another assessment in 10 years as that would be a metric by which to measure success.”