School notes: Equity Advisory Board part of Upper Arlington Schools' progress

Paul Imhoff

This fall, our school district is putting the expert guidance and experience into place in order to move forward in our work on all aspects of diversity, equity and inclusion.    

As I have shared, this is a journey. There is a tremendous amount of work that we must do to ensure that every student feels welcomed, respected, supported and celebrated in our schools. Under the leadership of the board of education, we are taking crucial and concrete steps to continue this work.    

Paul Imhoff

I am pleased to announce that we have our Equity Advisory Board in place. This advisory board was created at the request of the board of education, with the goal of bringing together the voices of students and recent alumni, staff members, parents/guardians and professionals with experience in the areas of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) to help the district move forward in its DEI commitment.    

During the summer, we requested applications from those interested in serving this volunteer role. With the help of three community members with DEI expertise and experience, we reviewed the applications.   

Serving on the advisory board are nine community members, four Upper Arlington High School students, one recent UA graduate and eight representatives from the board of education, our schools and the district. The advisory board will be led by the two co-chairs, both of whom have personal and professional experience in these areas.    

Over the past several weeks, the advisory board has served a crucial role as we move forward in the hiring process for our new executive director of diversity, equity and inclusion. This process has involved opportunities for students, staff, parents/guardians and community members to share their thoughts.  

During the board of education meeting Nov. 17, I will recommend Matthew Boaz as our executive director of diversity, equity and inclusion. He is excited to join us and is passionate about improving the school experience for our students, staff and families.    

Boaz has extensive experience in the DEI field over the past 20 years in a variety of public agencies and educational institutions. He most recently served as the director of diversity and inclusion for the city of Toledo. Before that, he was the chief diversity officer at Wright State University. He also has worked with the University of Cincinnati and Miami University.   

I would like to extend my thanks to everyone in our community who has taken part in this process. We are looking forward to continuing this journey with this leadership and expertise of our new DEI executive director and the new Equity Advisory Board.   

COVID-19 update 

Over the past month, we have been working with our Medical Advisory Team to watch UA health data as well as that in the county and around the state.  

These local experts in public health and infectious diseases have been helping us develop a draft matrix that, if approved by the board of education, would be used to guide when we would transition into an all-in learning model for our students on the school-based pathway. The draft matrix is available at uaschools.org.  

We are continuing to work with the Medical Advisory Team to develop other matrices that would guide other potential transitions – such as back to hybrid or even to enhanced distance learning. We are grateful for their expertise and the time they have dedicated to help us develop these frameworks for our schools.   

Paul Imhoff is superintendent of Upper Arlington Schools. Follow him on Twitter @imhoffpual. His office provides this column to ThisWeek Upper Arlington News