Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Board


"“The Garrison Forest School community is deeply committed to equity, kindness and respect as part of the educational experience.”

--GFS Statement of Respect

At Garrison Forest School, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) work is grounded in our Core Values, our Statement of Respect and our desire to create a campus environment that fosters belonging, inclusion and empathy.
In June 2020, Garrison Forest School created the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Board. Made up of GFS faculty and staff members from across divisions and offices, as well as members of the GFS Board of Trustees, the role of the Advisory Board is to provide guidance and recommendations to the school in its ongoing efforts to be proactively anti-racist and inclusive. 

Over the past year, the work of the Advisory Board has extended into many facets of daily school life. One of the group’s goals is to provide transparency into what is being done to continue building an inclusive campus as well as ensuring DEI work throughout the school is ongoing, productive and impactful. The initiatives listed on this site are not meant to be all-encompassing but aim to continue the conversation with our community and keep all constituents up-to-date. It is a snapshot of where we are and where we’re going; the vital work of creating a more equitable campus where all students feel a sense of belonging is never done. To that end, we appreciate the many partnerships that have helped drive this work—current parents and students, alumnae, faculty and staff and the school’s Board of Trustees will all continue to play an important role in ensuring this important work continues.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Work at GFS: Vision Statement

At Garrison Forest School, the building and nurturing of an inclusive campus is a vital component of our community and our Core Values. Our work to promote diversity equity, inclusion and belonging is integral to every aspect of school life, and is essential to ensure that our campus is a place where all students feel welcomed, encouraged, supported and heard. As a key focus across our campus, DEIB work at GFS examines our school-wide protocols, policies, practices and infrastructure with the goal of developing action plans that result in real and measurable progress.

This work is guided by three key pillars:

  • Community Life and Care
  • Pedagogy and Curriculum
  • Recruitment, Retention and Support

Key Pillars and Initiatives

Communications and Updates about DEI Work at GFS

DEI Resources for Parents and Students

Along with the specific initiatives outlined above, the Office of Community Life and Inclusion will support students, parents and faculty and staff by providing resources to help facilitate courageous conversations and develop age-appropriate ways to engage students in these efforts. Similar resources have been provided to our faculty and staff. 

Advisory Board Members

Chris Hughes (co-chair), Head of School
Carolyn Lewis (co-chair), Director of Community Life and Inclusion
Crystal Lee Alston '96, GFS Board of Trustee Member
Lauren Misera Anderson '02, Middle School Dean of Students
Lauren Baylor, Upper School Dean of Students
Shondra Cowling, Director of Counseling
Pamela Dorman, Middle School Counselor
Vanessa Griffin, Executive Assistant to the Head of School
Gail Hutton, Head of the Lower School
Tasha Landis, Associate Director of Admission
Heather Malone-Wolf, Director of Dance
Kristen Miller, Upper School English Teacher and Faculty Liaison to the Board of Trustees
Jessy Morgan, Athletic Director
Katherine Hayes, Director of Constituent Outreach
Shelly Placek, Director of Communications and Marketing
Shannon Schmidt, Head of the Middle School
Bryna Stoute, Preschool Teacher