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Introducing USM's JEDI Team

Introducing USM's JEDI Team

In response to the school’s changing needs, Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion work at USM has gotten extra help in the formation of a new JEDI team.

Faculty and staff at University School of Milwaukee have long been engaged in conversations related to making the school an equitable place for all students. Today, those efforts are being led by Dr. Gina Haughton, the school’s director of equity and student success. Prior to Haughton’s arrival at USM, faculty- and staff-led groups like S.E.E.K (Speak, Engage, Empower, Know) and PI (Pluralism and Inclusion) were integral to spearheading those important conversations.

The 2021-22 JEDI Team.

From left: Brita Willis, Dr. Gina Haughton, Erica Melick, and Joshua Miller

As the school grows and evolves, so do its needs. Building off of the progress made by the S.E.E.K. and PI groups, school leaders were excited to announce the formation of a new team to continue these efforts. Led by Haughton, the JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion) team consists of USM faculty members Erica Melick, Joshua Miller, and Brita Willis. The team will assist Haughton in a variety of initiatives at the school, including hosting professional development workshops for faculty and staff, partnering with USM’s Parents’ Association on parent education opportunities, supporting student clubs and affinity groups, and providing classroom and departmental support.

“USM is a community that has a strong desire to create a true culture of belonging and acceptance, in which we teach students how to demonstrate understanding through empathy and perspective,” said Haughton. “I am so thankful to work alongside colleagues who welcome JEDI and are willing to examine their own beliefs and practices so that we can create authentic learning experiences for all of our students.”

“I applied to be on the JEDI team because I want to learn more through doing. I also want to be a good role model and source of inclusivity, tolerance, and awareness for my young learners.”
– Erica Melick, 1st grade teacher

“This is an opportunity to engage in work that allows students to feel safe, heard, respected, and valued. This team, with Gina at the helm, is positioned to create lasting change in the way we as a community come together.”
– Joshua Miller, theatre technical director

“As a member of the JEDI team, I want to bring the focus back to the heart of JEDI work—that each child has equitable access to intentional lessons and community-building experiences.”
– Brita Willis, 3rd grade teacher

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