Meet PC's New Director of DEIB

Meet PC's New Director of DEIB

On Wednesday, May 29, 2024, Head of School Karen Warren Coleman shared with the PC community news of the next director of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging, Ashley Augustin.

Following an extensive search process, I am delighted to share that Ashley Augustin has been appointed Penn Charter’s new director of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging, effective July 1. Ashley will draw from her years of experience as a teacher and strategic leader to help ensure a welcoming and inclusive campus for all PC community members. 

Currently the chief diversity officer at The Loomis Chaffee School in Windsor, Connecticut, Ashley’s educational career has included curricular development, teaching and institutional research. A consistent throughline has been her focus on the transformative impact of diverse and inclusive communities. Beginning with her tenure at Teach for America (Chicago), where her focus was fourfold – classroom literacy, curricular development, vision and goal-setting, and data analysis – Ashley revamped the secondary math curriculum through a multicultural lens and conducted workshops and training for teachers on parent/caregiver relationships, bias, the impact of microaggressions, empathetic listening and culturally relevant pedagogy.

At the Spence School, she served as a math teacher, middle school advisor and robotics coach, leading the middle school robotics team to qualify for the FIRST LEGO League Finals.

During her time at Loomis Chaffee, Ashley has cultivated data-driven and proactive programming for faculty based on their needs in equity-based teaching and pedagogy; led the implementation of the school’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, a partnership among students, faculty, families and the Board of Trustees that produced a five-year DEI plan; and supported hiring committees to ensure an equity, inclusion and justice lens.

In describing Ashley, Fiona Mills, assistant director of DEI curricular and pedagogical development at Loomis Chaffee shared, "Given her experience as a skilled DEI practitioner, she is an invaluable presence during challenging conversations, and I can always count on her to diplomatically listen to all perspectives as she provides measured guidance and input allowing our school to successfully navigate complex issues involving faculty, staff and students. I tremendously value Ashley’s perspective and opinion and regularly turn to her for advice and support in my DEI work as she expertly acts as a resource for all involved." 

While on PC's campus, those who met her also described Ashley as a person who listened deeply. She created spaces to welcome others into the conversation, listened, and was able to distill the messages being shared. She offered tangible ways to move the work forward and focused on Penn Charter’s mission and Quaker values as a guidepost for conversation. 

Head of School Sheila Culbert shared that during her time at Loomis Chaffee, “Ashley has elevated the school’s work around diversity, equity and inclusion. She cares passionately about this work and is an engaging and effective presenter on complicated and difficult issues. She has been especially effective in helping us to inaugurate the Center for DEI, in leading the school in its creation of bias incident protocols, and in collaborating with others in our DEI curricular audit, among other initiatives. We are grateful for her contributions and her professionalism.”

Penn Charter, in part through this key role, demonstrates its ongoing commitment toward building a more inclusive environment where all community members feel a sense of belonging and are respected, regardless of their race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation or socioeconomic status, as well as other aspects of identity. Identifying and addressing issues of diversity, equity and inclusion involves overcoming both micro- and macro-level challenges and requires a school-wide commitment. When she joins us here at PC, Ashley will be in conversation with students, parents and caregivers, faculty, staff and OPCs in honest and crucial dialogues on issues the school embraces.

An outstanding and accomplished independent school leader who rose from a national pool of qualified candidates, Ashley brings a wealth of diverse experiences and knowledge to Penn Charter. She earned her bachelor’s in mathematics from Dartmouth College, a masters degree in Secondary Education with a Concentration in Mathematics from Johns Hopkins University, and a masters in Private School Leadership from The Klingenstein Center, Teachers College, Columbia University. She received her teaching certificate from Dominican University, and is conversant in Haitian-Creole and Spanish. She will make immeasurable contributions to the Penn Charter community and will become an invaluable leader for our students, faculty and staff, parents and caregivers, and OPCs.

In anticipation of her new role, Ashley shared, “I am excited to join Penn Charter, where every individual is recognized for their Inner Light and potential. I eagerly look forward to partnering with colleagues to continue fostering an environment of self-reflection, growth and inclusivity. By creating brave spaces for faculty to reflect, we encourage ourselves to become better leaders for our students, furthering Penn Charter’s mission to inspire students to be thinkers, collaborators, innovators and leaders. I am truly grateful and I can’t wait to get started.”

As we welcome Ashley, we share enormous appreciation for Naté Hall, our director of enrollment management who served as interim director of diversity, equity and inclusion as we undertook this comprehensive search. In this capacity and in collaboration with many faculty and staff members, students, and parents and caregivers, Naté helped keep this work moving forward during a time of transition, and her contributions have been invaluable. 

We look forward to welcoming Ashley and her family when she joins us here on School House Lane this summer. 

Karen Warren Coleman
Head of School


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