Mrs. Brown speaks with senior Jennifer Spalten in her new office in the Upper School. Photo: Abby Meyerowitz

With the departure of former Director of Diversity Rick Holifield, previous Associate Director of Admissions Joanne Brown has stepped in to take his place. As the Director of Diversity and Inclusion, Mrs. Brown will primarily focus on the four P’s of diversity: people, programming, policies and practices.

She will start by assessing where the community is with regards to diversity and inclusion. “That means spending a lot of time with our students, teachers and parents,” said Mrs. Brown. “So I’m really taking the first year to assess where we are, where our community feels like we are in the work, what we have done well in the past and where some gaps may be that we could fill.”

Mrs. Brown’s overall goal for the Pace community is to empower the students, parents and teachers to be able to also do the work of diversity and inclusion. “As an entire community, we will all feel that responsibility,” said Mrs. Brown.

Although Mrs. Brown is enthusiastic about her new position, she will surely miss her work in admissions. “I love meeting prospective families and telling them about Pace,” said Mrs. Brown. “That’s really easy for me because of how much I love the community.” Her new role challenges Mrs. Brown to work within the community in a different way. “I really want to spend the year immersed in the internal community in a way that I couldn’t when I was doing admissions, especially when you consider that I worked primarily in the upper school division and now I’m over all three divisions,” she said

Her role will greatly affect the Pace community. The student-run Pace Academy Board of Diversity (PABD) holds meetings periodically to discuss the role of diversity at Pace. “I am a resource, a coach and somebody who’s there to help support the work that the community wants to see done,” said Mrs. Brown. “In my role, I’m able to empower and educate our students so that they are better citizens – not just here in our school community, but also in Atlanta and ultimately, of course, globally.”