Stevens Point school board begins hiring process for equity, diversity and inclusion coordinator
By Olivia De Valk
STEVENS POINT – The Stevens Point Area School Board has begun the process of hiring for the equity, diversity and inclusion coordinator.
The board voted to add the position Feb. 22, and has since posted the job while the human resources department puts together the hiring committee.
Assistant Superintendent Cory Hirsbrunner said the board is looking to get the position filled, “As soon as we can.”
The need for the coordinator is undisputed among board members, who voted unanimously in favor of adding the position.
Superintendent Craig Gerlach said, “If we don’t have somebody that’s focusing on this and working with myself, the board, staff, the community, it just gets forgotten. And I don’t have the expertise.”
The expertise the board is looking for is someone with a bachelors or masters degree and related experience.
Board member, Ann Vang, encouraged the board to be open to considering candidates with strong experience who may lack the education level the board is seeking.
“I would certainly choose someone who has had far more hands on experience than someone with a college degree,” Vang said.
Those in support of the bill, board and community members alike, were not without their concerns.
Nick Peotter, a community member, gave a written statement to the board providing his support for the position, stating that it “would have to have clear goals in mind. I am afraid that empty statements would be made to give the illusion of progress.”
Vang spoke to Peotter’s concerns about the illusion of progress, asking the board what power the position will have to affect change.
Craig Gerlach responded explaining that the coordinator will report to him and serve as a liaison between community, governmental agencies and other stakeholders throughout the district. They will also provide leadership in systemic equity and instructional practice.
Vang also expressed that the hiring committee should consist of BiPOC community members and marginalized students.
With the perspectives and concerns of community and board members in mind, the district continues to move forward with the hiring process.
“We really feel that having an expert to lead that effort will help the district to advance. We want to better serve and support our marginalized population,” Cory Hirsbrunner said.