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Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Timeline of Efforts

Read below about the ongoing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion work at Hackley over the last several years.


Hackley announced the appointment of the Assistant Head of School for Community and Inclusivity, effective July 1, 2021. Cyndy Jean, currently the Director of the Middle School and Chair of the DEI Coordinators Team, will oversee the school’s ongoing efforts related to diversity, equity, and inclusion in the budget process. She will continue to serve as a member of Hackley’s Leadership Team, reporting to the Head of School.

Dr. Derrick Gay will work directly with students and parents in an ongoing series, building capacity and understanding around diversity, equity, and inclusion and echoing the early work with faculty, staff, administrators, and trustees.

Each division is creating advisory groups comprised of students, faculty, deans, and parents, all with different perspectives. The intention of these groups is to provide a sounding board for division directors as they lead faculty and students through discussions on race, informed by ongoing work with Dr. Gay.

Dr. Gay will help Hackley conduct a climate assessment to better understand the experiences of students and adults in the community.

Hackley will implement the Pollyanna racial literacy curriculum K-8. 


Hackley developed a required summer reading program for faculty and staff that included 10 diversity, equity, and inclusion-themed texts. The adult community read these texts and discussed them in small groups once school resumed.

In August, Dr. Derrick Gay conducted the first in a series of ongoing professional development workshops for faculty, staff, and administrators in an effort to build capacity and understanding related to diversity, equity, and inclusion. He returned in February for the second session; the third session in June was postponed due to COVID-19.

Hackley’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) statement of purpose was presented to and endorsed by the Board of Trustees, underscoring Hackley’s broad institutional commitment to DEI work.

In multiple sessions over the course of the year, Dr. Gay worked with the Admissions and Financial Aid team to build a deeper understanding of race and class, supporting this team in its efforts to work to recruit and admit a diverse student body.

Dr. Gay led the Board of Trustees through a full-day retreat to explore the topic of diversity and its importance in schools and leadership.

The hiring system was further updated to mitigate biases during resume screening and interviews.

Anti-bias training for the hiring team was scheduled for March 2020 and subsequently postponed due to COVID-19. This session is targeted for early fall 2020, prior to hiring season.

The Executive Diversity Committee developed a rubric for visits to other schools, allowing for targeted visits to better learn from other schools’ curriculum, policies, practices, and programming related to diversity, equity, and inclusivity.

The English and History Departments are reviewing their curricula to map the perspectives and viewpoints present throughout. This work will serve as the basis for continued exploration and broadening of perspectives.


Led by Dr. Derrick Gay, a leading practitioner and consultant in areas of diversity, inclusion, and global citizenship in schools, business, and non-profits, Hackley’s Leadership Team engaged in professional development to model the work that would later come for faculty, staff, and other administrators. These efforts kicked off Dr. Gay’s multi-year and on-going relationship with Hackley.

Dr. Gay partnered with key administrators and those faculty that served on the Task Force on Community and Inclusivity as they developed a Statement of Purpose for diversity, equity, and inclusion work in the school. K-12 faculty, parents, and students were later included in the process to create this vision for Hackley.

Division directors and those who participate in the hiring of faculty took a critical look at hiring practices in an effort to broaden the funnel to include candidates from underrepresented backgrounds. The school advertised in different places and attended new hiring fairs in an effort to recruit a more diverse population of employees to Hackley.

A senior administrator presented and several faculty attended the NYSAIS Diversity Conference.


Michael Wirtz changed the title of Headmaster to Head of School.

Professional development policies were changed to recognize the importance of affinity-based professional development, especially for educators of color. These opportunities no longer are counted in an individual’s allotted professional development funding, providing increased access.

The professional development system was revised to emphasize and catalog DEI-related offerings.

K-12 faculty developed Hackley's Portrait of a Graduate with input from parents, alumni, and students. This aspirational document informs future looking work and incorporates insights from the the Task Force on Community and Inclusivity. It was presented to the Board of Trustees in June 2018 and informed the development of the strategic plan.


Hackley’s Board of Trustees established the Task Force on Community and Inclusion, comprised of trustees, faculty, staff, administrators, and alumni.  This task force studied issues of diversity and inclusivity across different areas of the school, including governance, hiring, curriculum, professional development, and community programming.  The recommendations formed the basis of a multi-year approach intended to make Hackley a more inclusive school.
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