LFA Blogs


diversity summit attendees in meeting room
  • Dean of Faculty Entry

The diversity hiring and retention ad hoc committee, composed of the Associate Head of School, Dean of Faculty, Director of Human Resources and Business Services, and Dean of Pluralism and Multicultural Affairs, has been meeting every cycle since the 2010 – 2011 academic year. Over the years, they have planned and discussed policy that pertains to the recruitment and retention of diverse faculty and staff. 

The LFA Diversity and Hiring Summit affords the group an opportunity to review their efforts as they seek to increase the diversity and retention of diverse faculty. The committee held their first Summit in 2015 at the Golden Apple Foundation in Chicago, bringing together members of the LFA faculty, alumni, trustees and life trustees. The summit brings community members together every year to share diversity recruitment and retention practices from different industries, and holds the committee accountable as they review metrics from previous hiring seasons and to ensure that they are able to review their progress from year to year. This year’s summit was on February 8, 2020, hosted by Trustee Rumi Kuli '93, P'17, '22, Chair of the Diversity and Global Pluralism Committee, at the Charles Schwab offices in downtown Chicago.

At this year’s summit, the discussion focused on retention, which plays a central role in providing students with a stable environment. The efforts in recruiting and retaining faculty and staff who understand the value of intellectual curiosity continues to be the focus of this ad hoc committee and they are pleased with the progress they have made so far and are committed to seeing it grow from year to year.

LFA’s commitment to building and sustaining an inclusive school community where human differences are acknowledged, respected, valued and celebrated is always the central focus of the summit. The strongest rationale for diversifying the faculty and staff is LFA’s diverse, international student body. In order to prepare the students to be competitive in a global workforce, it is important to have faculty and staff with diverse experiences who will challenge, empower, and equip students with solutions that transcend traditional boundaries and thinking. LFA wants a mix of fresh ideas from faculty who recently graduated from college and the sage wisdom of seasoned educators and practitioners from different fields.

Lusanda Mayikana teaches 11th and 12th grade Student Seminar. She is currently engaged in research towards a PhD in Education and Social Justice at Lancaster University, U.K.

“To be honest, I enjoy playing these games- that’s why I play sports. I like the sense of community, and I like the team… It’s fun to be around people, meeting people, and I feel like half the people [here] I would never have met because they take way different classes.”

Kristin Paisley, Tom Johnson and Blair Academy’s Head of School Chris Fortunado at conference
  • Dean of Faculty Entry

Building a Pipeline: Recruiting and Retaining a Diverse Faculty

Director of Business Services and Human Resources Kristin Paisley and Dean of Faculty Tom Johnson traveled to Boston in December 2019 to present “Building a Pipeline: Recruiting and Retaining a Diverse Faculty”. 

To their excitement, the session was well-attended by peer boarding school administrators and teachers seeking answers to the difficult question of how to attract and retain a broad range of candidates to their campus. Although Paisley and Johnson do not have all the answers, they teamed up with Blair Academy’s Head of School Chris Fortunado to share their successes and failures as well as goals for the future. 

The pair realized that 60 minutes was not enough time to lead a discussion on this hot topic for independent schools. Participants wanted more time to ask questions and hear more from LFA’s experiences. Based on the positive feedback from the session attendees, they hope to continue sharing LFA’s story on the road.

As part of an ad hoc task force with Chair and Associate Head of School Bill Dolbee and Dean of Pluralism and Multicultural Affairs Lusanda Mayikana, the team has been working to find new ways to recruit and retain diverse faculty since its inception in 2011. The group meets each cycle and reports back to the trustees annually regarding their progress and goals. Realizing that their work is never complete, the team holds itself accountable by showing employment statistics on LFA’s website including a breakdown of school leadership by gender and race. In addition, the task force hosts an annual diversity summit attended by trustees, faculty and staff, and alumni. The summit provides an opportunity for the task force to collect feedback and insight from members of the LFA community.

Kristin Paisley joined LFA in 2007 and currently oversees human resources, risk management and campus safety. Additionally, Paisley is head coach for cheerleading and also serves as a faculty advisor for Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA).

“So I’m really interested in finance, because I think it’s important to invest in companies and help them to grow and expand. But I’m also interested in finance because women are really underrepresented in that field, and I think it’s important that more women become more comfortable with finance. That’s the reason I’m doing Banking and Financial Systems [in FBLA] this year - I’ve been able to network with a lot of women who are involved in finance, and have been able to tell me about their experiences, and how they were able to be trailblazers over the past 20 years. I really hope that I can continue to help women feel more comfortable in finance in my future and kind of pave that way for myself as well.” 

“[Science Olympiad] is such a fun club. It’s really cool. Especially because it’s really entirely student run, and a lot of the other schools around here at competitions, you see like the parents running everything…that’s not the point of the whole experience, to win- [but when] you improve and do it yourself, it feels so much better when you win, or when you do well, when you’ve done it yourself. And that’s what we really do...and all of our announcements and all of our study sessions and all the things we build are all our own, and it’s just very exciting, it’s a cool thing.