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Fenwick Makes Strides Toward Improving Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

September 15, 2020

The Catholic high school in Oak Park has appointed alumnus Ray Moland as its first DEI Director; two other alumni installed to chair new committee.

Fenwick High School has named alumnus Raymond Moland '96 (as its first Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI). In this newly created role, Mr. Moland will serve as a member of the school’s leadership team and is responsible for leading Fenwick's efforts in developing and implementing DEI initiatives across all organizational departments. “Ray Moland's leadership in the Fenwick community will help us to celebrate diversity and to build relationships that are equitable and inclusive,” praises President Fr. Richard Peddicord, O.P. “I am grateful that he has accepted this new opportunity to strengthen the mission of Fenwick High School.” He had served as the Friars' Senior Dean of Students since 2014.

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Ray Moland '96

“Now is the time to be bold. Now is the time to lead,” proclaims Moland, who grew up in Bellwood, IL, and participated in football, track and wrestling as a Fenwick student. “I’m very excited to be continuing at Fenwick as the new Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. I am even more excited about the outreach from alumni, parents and community members.

“The support that is being offered behind this initiative is inspiring,” he continues. “Fenwick is near and dear to my heart. We all look to provide Fenwick with the best. For our parents, it is with their children; for the faculty, it is with their expertise in curriculum and commitment to teaching; for our administration, it is with leadership and support; and for the Board, it is with direction and focus in the mission of education.

“Right now, we are tasked with an important duty to make Fenwick a place where all our students can gain and exhibit that same love for Fenwick. This is my goal in this new position. Fenwick, as an institution, is currently examining itself to provide an environment that will honor its mission. I am leading this effort along with the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee of the Board. [See below.] Examining who we are needs to take place across our community, followed with the commitment to not allow the ills of society, such as racism and discrimination, to poison the experience here in Oak Park that we call ‘being a Friar.’

“In the coming weeks, Fenwick will be identifying areas of improvement and actively putting policy and processes in place to improve,” Moland concludes. “Fenwick will implement changes to produce the best for all of us. We all have work to do!” (Read more about Mr. Moland in his “Faculty Focus” Q&A from February 2020: www.fenwickfriars.com/faculty-focus-february-2020/)

Principal Peter Groom adds: “Ray has been working informally with the Fenwick administration on DEI challenges throughout his time as Dean of Students.  His new role enables him to help facilitate positive change in an institution that he loves. We know that Ray will challenge Fenwick to become a better place for all of our students.”

Alumni Leadership on Fenwick DEI Committee

Late last spring, Fenwick’s Board of Directors formed the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee, which is developing a charter and last month installed alumna Shafondra Matthews '01 as its chairperson and alumnus Roberto Sepulveda '93 as vice-chair. “The world witnessed the unconscionable killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor. There’s a particular kind of anguish and fear a Black mom feels in this country,” Ms. Matthews says. “After much thought I came to a conclusion: This is not the earth I want my sons to inherit. I resolved right then and there to do whatever it takes to make it a better place.” 

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Shafondra Matthews '01

Certified as a Life Coach, Matthews is on a mission to help transform many lives. She is the author of The Power of Your Inner Game, ushering in a new wave of self-help and personal development for those who desire to  define success on their own terms and create a life they love. Matthews studied Business Management, Administration and Entrepreneurship at Bradley University and recently completed her Master’s Degree in Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University. Presently, she works as a Training, Awareness and Communications professional at Discover Financial Services. Matthews is a powerful storyteller who aims to invoke thought, spark conversations and inspire. She resides in the suburbs of Chicago with her family.

Roberto Sepulveda is a past member of the Fenwick Diversity Committee. “As a first generation Fenwick Friar, I want to assure that others like me have the same access to the life and academic opportunities that are made possible through the experience of being a Friar student and an alumni of Fenwick,” he states. “I think our work here is best captured through the words of St. Thomas Aquinas that I learned at Fenwick: ‘Better to illuminate than merely to shine, to deliver to others contemplated truths than merely to contemplate.’”

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Roberto Sepulveda '93

Sepulveda is the Campaign Manager and Political Director of Congressman Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, shifting his focus to increasing diversity in government and politics from increasing diversity and inclusion in the corporate world. He is the former Manager of Global Inclusion & Diversity at consumer-goods manufacturer SC Johnson and held a similar position at United Stationers (now Essendant ), a national wholesale distributor of office suppliesHis career has included diversity roles with Sara Lee Corp. and the Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement (HACE). A native of Melrose Park, IL, Mr. Sepulveda earned his MBA in 2010 from Dominican University’s Brennan School of Business (River Forest). An active figure in his community, he has served on the board of directors of the West Cook YMCA, the Triton College Community Advisory Committee and the Maywood Rotary Club. He now resides in Hanover Park, IL, where he and his wife, Eira Corral Sepulveda, are active in shaping their community. The couple has two children.

Additionally, DEI sub-committees have been populated with the 28 members who comprise the aptly named committee (dei, the genitive of Deus, means “of God” in Latin), which is charged with addressing racial/cultural and justice/equity issues around six key areas:

● Cultural Inclusion and Sensitivity Training
● Policy and Governing Practices
● Curriculum
● Student, Faculty, Staff Recruitment
● Admissions and Financial Aid
● Community Service

The work of the DEI Committee will require time, but Fenwick already has committed to these three initiatives:

  1. A school-wide cultural sensitivity and inclusion training program for all students, faculty, staff, administration and the Board will be implemented in the 2020-21 school year. Note: Cultural inclusion and sensitivity training already has been scheduled for Board members, and Mr. Moland is researching options for school-wide training.
  2. Multidisciplinary curriculum changes to include a greater diversity of perspective and multicultural pedagogy. Note: A multiyear, multidisciplinary curriculum change has been announced to begin in the 2021-22 school year.
  3. A re-doubling of efforts to raise scholarship funds for under-served students. Note: Fenwick recently formalized another scholarship fund for students matriculating from two elementary schools that largely serve students from the Austin neighborhood on Chicago’s west side.

More information on Fenwick’s DEI Committee

 

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