Fenwick High School, 505 Washington Blvd. in Oak Park, recently announced that it hired its first director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. The school also named two alumni to head up the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee, which the school’s board of directors approved in June.
The news comes as Fenwick has vowed to revamp its curriculum in a way that is more culturally sensitive and inclusive, and to redouble efforts to raise scholarship funds for under-served students, administrators said.
Raymond Moland, who graduated from Fenwick in 1996, will be the school’s DEI director and a will also serve on the school’s leadership team. Moland will be responsible for developing and implementing diversity and equity initiatives across “all organization departments,” school officials said in a statement released on Sept. 16.
Moland, a Bellwood native, was on the school’s football, track and wrestling teams while at his alma mater. He’s been a senior dean of students at Fenwick for six years. He also chairs the Health and Physical Education Department.
Moland attended Millikin University in Decatur, where he received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. He has two master’s degrees — in teaching and learning, and in education leadership, with a principal’s endorsement — from the University of St. Francis in Joliet.
“Now is the time to be bold,” Moland said. “Now is the time to lead.”
Moland said that he’s inspired by the support that Fenwick administrators are putting behind the initiative.
Administrators said Moland is currently researching options for school-wide cultural sensitivity and inclusion training for all students, faculty, staff, administrators and board members starting in the 2020-21 school year. The school also created two new scholarships for students coming from two nearby schools that mostly serve young people on Chicago’s West Side and have embarked on a “multiyear, multidisciplinary curriculum change” this school year.
Moland said that the school “will be identifying areas of improvement and actively putting policy and processes in place to improve.”
Peter Groom, Fenwick’s principal, said that Moland had been working informally with administrators on diversity, equity and inclusion challenges while he was a dean of students.
“His new role enables him to help facilitate positive change in an institution that he loves,” Groom said.
Fenwick formed the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee in the spring following the civil unrest that resulted from the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin in May.
In addition to promoting Moland to DEI director, Fenwick also named two alumni to head up the DEI committee.
Last month, Fenwick named Shafondra Matthews, who graduated from the school in 2001, as the chairperson of the committee and Roberto Sepulveda as the vice-chairperson.
Matthews is a certified life coach who works in the area of training, awareness and communications at Discover Financial Services.
Sepulveda, a native of Melrose Park, is Congressman Jesus “Chuy” Garcia’s campaign manager and political director. He’s the former manager of Global Inclusion and Diversity at SC Johnson.