Next school year, in the fall of 2016, Lick-Wilmerding will welcome Tamisha Williams as the Dean of Adult Equity and Inclusion. Williams will look closely at the recruitment and retention of staff of color, as well as working to ensure a strong sense of equity and inclusion throughout the adult community.
The addition of this new position is meant to push Lick-Wilmerding towards the forefront of independent school education. Williams will be working closely with Christy Godinez, the Director of Diversity. Godinez will focus largely on the issue of student inclusion and civic engagement, while Williams’ work will be geared towards the adult community. While Lick-Wilmerding has always been successful in its recruitment of a diverse array of faculty and staff, Williams will do important work that is geared towards retaining faculty and staff members from “all walks of life.”
Lick’s Head of School, Eric Temple, chose Williams after conferring with stakeholders in the Lick community including faculty and staff, students, parents, and members of the school board.
For the past three years, Williams was the Director of Diversity Initiatives and Assistant Director of College Counseling at the Bosque School in Albuquerque, New Mexico. At Bosque, she was hired to build a similar position that resembled the Dean at Lick from scratch. This fact was important to the Lick community in considering her as a candidate, as Lick will be asking her to do essentially the same thing here.
Williams holds a M.Ed. in Family and Marriage Counseling from the College of William and Mary. Randy Barnett, the Assistant Head of School, who headed the faculty hiring advisory committee, emphasized that, “Having [counseling] credentials is very important because you can bring that into the school and hit the ground running — it adds a new dimension to the position. That supports me and my work with faculty because the job’s going to involve some mediating faculty or parents and students having hard moments.”
Many teachers and faculty are excited about the addition of Williams to the school. Building a stronger sense of equity and inclusion, especially among adults, speaks largely to the heart of Lick’s mission statement — in both the adult and student sectors. Several faculty members expressed their views that when issues such as those regarding equity and inclusion are left for everyone to work on individually at a smaller scale, the work that gets done is not necessarily effective. Because of her background and experience, Williams is in a positive position to unify the efforts of the adults at Lick towards a common goal. Her record at the Bosque School shows that she has the ability to assist in achieving these objectives.
Chinh Nguyen, the Dean of Academic Services, who, little beknownst to the majority of Lick students, spends a lot of time working with the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), mentioned that Williams reminds him of people whom he works with at the national level. He says, “She has a lot of energy. She’s willing to talk to different people and she has ideas to share but also wants to learn.” Barnett, who also actively works to ensure the general well-being of the adult community, describes Williams similarly, “We felt like she just had such a vibrant personality, was very positive and powerful in a way that said, ‘I’m going to get stuff done, but I’m not going to step all over you to do it. Everybody has to come to the table, but also you’re invited and I value you.’”
Williams will join us in the fall of 2016 after she makes her move from Albuquerque to San Francisco. As well as being excited to begin exploring the city, she describes herself as being, “ecstatic that the hiring committee saw me as a fit for this position.”