About Us

Diversity Equity Inclusion & Belonging at Severn


Everyone Belongs
Every Severn student deserves to feel a sense of belonging, to be acknowledged, affirmed, and celebrated for each aspect of their identity.
But acknowledging and celebrating isn’t enough. We must also educate our community, advocate for our students, and with intention, create an environment where understanding, mutual respect, and social responsibility are the norm. We recognize that we have only just begun this work. But in both words and action, we are committed to ongoing change.

Our Vision

Severn aspires to be an inclusive community where each person is welcomed and affirmed.  We find strength and value in our similarities and differences thereby inspiring students and adults to participate in and sustain a vibrant exchange of ideas and perspectives.  In designing thoughtful programs and practices, we will broaden a culture of belonging and respect and an appreciation for the complexities within ourselves and others, and foster the desire to participate in a dynamic, global society.

Initiatives & Progress

List of 3 items.

  • Near-Term Actions

    Action: Create a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Team as a subcommittee of the Board, composed of Trustees, Admin, faculty, parents, and alumni that will critically examine our policies, practices and processes, recommend changes and develop goals and success metrics.
    • A Board Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion subcommittee has been established and populated, thus far, with Board members, administration and faculty. In the coming weeks, the DEI Committee will define its purpose, goals, and work on its vision. Once established, the Committee will design a framework and process for which to identify potential parents and alumni to add to the Committee.  
    • Additionally, a school DEI committee has been created composed of faculty and staff and chaired by the DEI Director to focus on the day to day DEI matters.

    Action: Hire a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Director who will serve as a contributing member of the Executive Admin team and ex-officio member of the Board of Trustees. The DEI Director will report to the Head of School and Chair, DEI Board subcommittee.
    • Michael Glasby has been hired as the Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and will be a member of the Executive Administrative Team.

    Action: Clearly communicate ways for students to report racist and/or discriminatory incidents and make the disciplinary process specific, actionable and age appropriate.
    • All division handbooks have been updated to include specific sections on hate speech and discriminatory incidents with age appropriate and specific disciplinary process spelled out.
    Action: Establish and promote affinity groups to enhance students’ care and support and to better educate the entire community.
    • Initial steps have been taken to establish a Black Parent Network through Severn’s Parent Liaison and the Director of Development.
    • Initial steps have been taken to establish a Black Alumni Network through Severn’s Director of Alumni Relations and the Director of Development.
    • Student affinity groups will begin meeting at the beginning of the school year.

    Permanently change the title of Headmaster to Head of School in Severn School’s documents of incorporation.
    • All correspondences generated from the Head of School’s office have been changed and official action will be taken to permanently change the School’s Bylaws and other official documentation at the first scheduled Board meeting of the year, Friday, September 11, 2020.

    Allocate additional resources to train Board of Trustees, faculty and staff in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion work, to include implicit bias and cultural competencies
    • Lawrence Alexander will conduct training for faculty and staff that will take place during our opening meetings in late August and will continue periodically throughout the year.
    • Lawrence Alexander will conduct training for the Board and leadership team, which has been scheduled for early September and will continue periodically throughout the year.
    Action: Allocate additional resources to expand Diversity, Equity and Inclusion programming for students, including a systemic review of the preschool through grade 12 curriculum. 

      • Additional funds have been allocated and will be used throughout the year to provide additional DEI programming in all three divisions. As specific programming takes place, it will be added to the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion webpage.
      • Severn has engaged Pollyanna Inc. (https://pollyannainc.org/) to help conduct curriculum review and help develop racial literacy curriculum for grades PS – 8.
      • In the Upper School, work began this summer, primarily in the humanities, to review course sequencing and content.
  • Strategic Plan: DEIB Priorities

    • Strengthen our community's commitment to anti-bias, making sure that every voice is heard, and that learning is equitable through a shared language and understanding of our "Everyone Belongs" value.
    • Cultivate a diverse and thriving community by ensuring equity in all touchpoints of the Severn experience.
    • Combat bias through a course curriculum that uplifts diverse perspectives, cultures, and lived experiences and promotes genuine understanding and acceptance.
    • Reduce financial barriers that may stand between qualified students and a Severn education by strengthening our financial access program to further meet the needs expressed in the applicant pool.
  • Longer-term and Ongoing Actions

    • Increase Severn’s student diversity by identifying admission strategies that will improve outreach to students of color, and with a focus on increasing Black student enrollment. 
      • Progress: Severn School is committed to strengthening its focus on DEI in Enrollment Management strategies. The goal of Severn’s DEI Enrollment Management Task Force is to support and promote Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion within the admissions and the retention process. The committee focused on ensuring that the admissions process fosters a sense of belonging and that we have equitable practices established throughout the marketing, application, and review process. To push toward these goals, the DEI Enrollment Task Force has focused on examining specific benchmarks that will strengthen the range of our current admissions practices. A vital partnership that has emerged is the increased coordination between the Director of Enrollment Management and the DEI Director.  
    • Increase racial diversity of Severn’s Board, administration and faculty through an examination of our processes to identify success and failures, and using that information to inform an intentional strategy to recruit, support and retain minority candidates. 
      • Progress: An examination of Severn’s previous and current demographics within the Board, administration and faculty has been completed through our Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) which have been shared and discussed with our faculty and staff as well as our DEI Committee Members.  Strategies to improve Severn’s current levels of racial diversity within these areas have been underway during the 20-21 academic year and will continue moving forward.  Severn has utilized services including Southern Teachers Agency, Nemnet Minority Recruitment, Strategenius, and Teachers of Color to attract more teachers of color throughout all three divisions. The DEI Director has been a participant in all of Severn’s Upper School Faculty and the school’s Executive Administrative Team hiring processes this year since assuming the responsibility.  Severn also recognizes the importance of building relationships and collaboration with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s) to identify potential faculty members, promote the widespread importance of HBCU’s within our school community, facilitate avenues for meaningful professional development opportunities, and create relationships for prospective Severn students.  Severn School leaders will continue to utilize diversity hiring fairs and workshops presented by the Association of Independent Maryland School (AIMS) as well as the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS).  While it is important to market towards, attract and onboard more diversity within Severn’s Board of Trustees, administration, and faculty, it is just as important that meaningful efforts are made to retention through the development of relationships, opportunities for advancement and growth, equitable compensation, mentorship and professional development. 
    • Expand the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion goals and initiatives in the current strategic planning process, incorporate metrics and report on our process, to ensure actions are sustained.
      • Progress: Within the Strategic Plan development process, diversity, equity, inclusion and nurturing a culture of belonging has served as a focal point in the work.  Severn School is partnering with Mission Minded and focusing on enhancing the school vision, mission, and core values. The DEI Director and representatives in the faculty, administration, and board of trustees who serve as school level DEI representatives, are actively involved within the Strategic Planning work. As Severn School enters the 2021-2022 academic year the Strategic Plan will be finalized.  

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Representatives

List of 4 items.

  • Roles & Responsibilities

    • Presence 
      • DEI Reps are individuals who serve to connect the larger scale focus of DEI Initiatives of Severn School into their specific Divisions 
      • DEI Reps maintain a specific knowledge and understanding of students, families, and colleagues of the specific Division and their needs pertaining to DEI
    • Support
      • Provide Support for Students, Colleagues, Families 
      • Support to parties in a situation where harm has taken place
        • Immediate support to the individual or group who was hurt 
        • Support by education to the individual or group who has committed the harm 
    • Information 
      • Work to provide Division specific resources for Students, Colleagues, and Families 
      • Updates DEI Resource pages for Faculty 
    • Connection and Belonging 
      • Responsible for helping to facilitate much of the unrecognize work that is done to create positive relationships, affirmation, empathy, and respect of all stakeholders in the Division 
      • Facilitates opportunities for students, colleagues, and families to have safe spaces to discuss and process different areas pertaining to DEI in their Division 
  • Chesapeake Campus Representatives

    Taylor Belo 
    Elizabeth Cowell 
    Diana Doroteo
    Sheryl Hoyt 
    Jennie Kantowski
    Katie Peacock
  • Teel Campus Representatives

    Middle School:
    • JoAnna Josey (Middle School DEI Coordinator)
    • Whitney Etchison 
    • Mary Foard 
    • Lisa Clarke 
    • Kathleen Donovan 
    Upper School:
    • Camille Jones (Upper School DEI Coordinator)
    • Dr. Aegina Martin 
    • Kim Coughlin 
    • Lilly Kane 
    • Kristin Blanck
    • Dr. Sidra Smith
    • Jenny Sledge
    • Mrunali Das 
  • Board Committee

    Shaun Mathis – Chair
    Katie Leavy – Co-Chair
    Charles Belo
    Robyn Formica ‘87
    Stephanie Jacobs
    Elsa Maskell
    Eric Veiel

In this Section


We, the members of the Severn community, value respect, empathy, and trust. To uphold these virtues, we strive to regard others with civility, foster an environment of belonging, and exhibit character of unquestionable integrity.

In the Classroom

In the Classroom
We commit to developing course curricula that incorporate diverse perspectives, materials, and experiences in and out of the classroom. We offer programs to foster an appreciation of different cultures, combat bias, and promote genuine understanding and acceptance of others. And we help our students develop leadership, critical thinking, and communication skills to engage meaningfully and responsibly in our community and the world beyond our doors.



Library Collections

Our libraries endeavor to foster the love of reading and lifelong learning by maintaining a robust collection that caters to diverse backgrounds, perspectives, interests, and opinions. The collections listed below celebrate historically underrepresented people and cultures, reflecting myriad ideas, information, stories, and experiences, and help students and teachers explore fundamental concepts in diversity, equity, and inclusion. It is our libraries' goal to provide resources for the classroom and reading for fun that serve as both windows and mirrors for our students and promote a sense of real belonging for every Admiral.

Teacher Professional Development

Severn School is a community of learners. As adults, it is our responsibility to model the qualities we wish to see in our students. To that end, we support our faculty with consistent professional development, both on and off-campus. Our teachers are the heart of Severn School. Their leadership in the classroom is key to creating an environment where each student has an equitable opportunity to realize their full potential.

List of 2 items.

  • Off-Campus Conferences and Training

    Below are some of the professional development opportunities for our teachers in the past 5 years: 
    • AIMS Inclusivity Conference
    • World Artists Experiences: Arab Cultural Immersion Experience
    • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Conference
    • Equity Design Lab on Culturally Responsive Teaching
    • Harvard Culturally Responsive Literature Instruction Program
    • Institute for Teaching Diversity and Social Justice: Talking About Race with Children
    • NAIS Inclusive Schools Network Institute
    • NAIS People of Color Conference
    • Orton Gillingham Conference
    • Pollyanna Racial Literacy Curriculum’s "From Diversity to Community" Conference
    • AIMS Gender & Sexual Orientation Conference: Making Schools Safe
    • AIMS Talking About Race with Our Students and Each Other
  • On-Campus Conferences and Training

    Below are some of the professional development opportunities for our teachers in the past 5 years: 
    • Severn Summer Institute Inclusivity Sessions
    • NAIS Equity Workshop
    • AIMS Birds of a Feather: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
    • AIMS Navigating Challenging Conversations
    • AIMS Diversity Conference hosted annually at Severn
    • Faculty Inclusion and Collaboration Training with Charles Belo
    • Workshop with Jennifer Bryan Ph.D. on learning to communicate about issues of gender, sexuality, and diversity 

DEI Awareness Calendar

Lower School

Upper School