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Meet KCSD’s Department of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion!

Meet KCSD’s Department of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion!

This dedicated department supports the evolving needs of our diverse community. The DEI Department and its two key positions–the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and the Director of Recruitment/Retention, and Equity–are supported by federal funding through the American Rescue Plan (ARP). It is housed at Kingston High School.

What Does the DEI Department Do?

The primary goals of the DEI Department are:

● to develop and implement a plan for Faculty and Staff to proportionately reflect the diversity of our student body; and

● to conduct a thorough curriculum review, adopt culturally relevant curricula and provide teacher support in the implementation and evaluate district policies, practices and procedures through the lens of equity.

Meet Kathy Sellitti, Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

SellittiKathy Sellitti, Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, began her career as a Behavioral Specialist, then Special Education Teacher at Onteora High School, where she was an advisor for the Diversity Club, as well as the JV Volleyball Assistant Coach. She then worked as a Special Education teacher in Ellenville High School, where she also ran a program for at-risk 9th graders for several years. She carried through this diversity training into her work as Assistant Principal at Kingston High School, facilitating both school and community-wide book study groups about racial issues. Ms. Sellitti has a BA in Music from Rhode Island College with a Minor concentration in Women's Studies, studying the intersections of race, class, and gender. In addition, she holds an M.Ed. in Special Education from SUNY New Paltz and a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study in Educational Administration from SUNY Stony Brook.

It is Ms. Sellitti’s role to work within schools to develop training, curriculum development, and policies, a mission she describes as “supporting students by supporting the teachers.” Working closely with the teachers and building leaders, it is her hope to create pathways for curriculum development that consistently look through the lens of inclusion and belonging. “When students feel like they are seen and heard, they are more willing to share and participate, and it's through leveraging the voices of all of our students that we can reap the benefits of our very diverse community,” she says.

Meet Angela Armstrong, Director of Recruitment/Retention and Equity

ArmstrongAngela Armstrong, Director of Recruitment/Retention and Equity, is a Bronx, NY native of African, Panamanian, and Bajan descent. Ms. Armstrong also previously worked for the District as an Assistant Principal at KHS. Prior to that, she held positions of middle school Assistant Principal, coordinator of Special Education, and special education teacher. She holds a BA in Education from Michigan State University, a MA in Human Resource Development from American International College, and a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies in Education Leadership from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. Her guiding principle is that “Representation matters.” She says, “My ultimate passion has always been to do whatever I can to improve the lives and quality of education for our children.”

Ms. Armstrong supports the district’s goals by working to increase the number of educators of color and in the school community to “reflect the proportionality of diversity of our student body” and develop support systems for retention of those employees. Ms. Armstrong is especially conscious about expanding diverse teacher representation in our elementary schools, expressing that it’s “critically important for young kids to go through formative years and be able to see someone in a leadership role that looks like them.”

In the first year in her position, she has established an Educators of Color Network that holds regular meetings to provide support, staff development and networking opportunities. She is also working on building collaborative relationships with community organizations and institutions of higher learning to create sustainable avenues of recruitment. She also plans to reach the broader community with an annual Diverse Educators Job Fair.

“As long as there are disparate outcomes for students that align with certain demographic factors, there is a need for institutions to evaluate their policies,” Ms. Armstrong says in relation to the need for the DEI Department. “I believe the mission of public education is to prepare young people to create a better world that encompasses their voices, gifts, and talents.”