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Tower

The student-run news site of The Masters School

Tower

The student-run news site of The Masters School

Tower

The Dominican exchange students who recently visited Masters have been recounting their positive experiences at the school. Similarly, Masters students hosting them heaped praise on the exchange students. The students hail from The Carmen School in the Dominican Republic, and they noted distinct cultural shocks when coming to the United States.
Exchange program provides students with valuable life experiences
Justine Pascutti, News Editor • April 20, 2024

“I loved being an exchange student, because it was something that I always wanted to experience. It was one of the best things that happened...

Douglas to take leadership role at Center of Inclusive Excellence

Roland+Davis+and+Selas+Douglas+posing+for+a+photo+together+before+Daviss+departure+from+the+Masters+community.+Douglas+will+succeed+Davis+as+the+Associate+Head+for+the+Center+for+Inclusive+Excellence+
Matthias Jaylen Sandoval
Roland Davis and Selas Douglas posing for a photo together before Davis’s departure from the Masters community. Douglas will succeed Davis as the Associate Head for the Center for Inclusive Excellence

Selas Douglas, the associate director of diversity, equity, and inclusion, is projected to take over the Center of Inclusive Excellence for the 2022-2023 school year. During the 2020-2021 school year, Roland Davis, Ph.D., joined the Masters community and started off as a consultant working to execute the “A Better Masters Plan” and was also a counselor in the Health Center. Davis later became the Associate Head of the Center for Inclusive Excellence, a department formerly known as Head of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) stepping up after former Head of DEI, Karen Brown, left

Davis was no stranger to DEI work before joining Masters. His career in DEI started when he worked as the assistant dean of first year students at Dartmouth College, where he saw that the students he was working with were dealing with similar issues surrounding race at a predominately white institution as when he was a student. That led him to get his doctorate in Educational Psychology, specializing in how racial climate can impact motivation among black and brown students. 

Getting his doctorate sprung him into the field working at his alma mater, Bates College, where he founded the Office of Intercultural Education. This office worked to increase diversity education and academically support students from marginalized communities. Davis also worked at Harvard University as the Associate Dean of DEI, along with multiple other jobs in that realm. 

Since joining the Masters community, Davis has certainly made his impact on the Masters School community by leading the conception of the new Center for Inclusive Excellence. The idea comes from higher education, and it asks the important question, “How do we embed equity and inclusion work in every aspect of the school’s mission and function?”  

Davis said that there is so much intersectionality between DEI and most departments of the school and bringing in Ethical leadership, Wellness, and Purposeful Engagement programs, formerly known as Masters Involved in Sharing and Helping (MISH), and bringing them together in the Center for Inclusive Excellence will “make sure that everyone here, no matter how they identify, has an equitable experience with equitable outcomes.” 

Davis said he hopes that Masters and the Center for Inclusive Excellence will become a national leader in DEI work among independent schools. He said, “My greatest accomplishment is getting the school started on the path to creating the Center for Inclusive Excellence, and bringing together and building a really good team of folks who will continue this work.”

Through his job, Davis has also been able to coordinate and host Martin Luther King Jr. Day, has worked with Rye Country Day School to plan the Saturday Summit for Social Justice conference, provided faculty and administrators with more DEI training, and led the community through multiple DEI days. The Saturday Summit is a conference started by Karen Brown and Ali Morgan, a teacher at Rye Country Day School, in 2016. 

After dedicating himself to DEI work at Masters, Davis will step away at the end of this school year. Though Davis is not sure where his career will take him next, he’s excited to be able to move back to his home state of Massachusetts. 

Douglas, the current upper school history and religions teacher, feels very grateful for all that Davis has done and for their time as colleagues together. Douglas said, “Dr. Davis has been a huge supporter of me, and he’s been a great partner in this work, and I’m definitely going to miss him, but the good news is that we have both a professional and a personal relationship, and I believe that I’ll be able to stay connected to him and get advice and support and have him a part of a cheerleading section when I need him.”

Prior to joining Masters in 2020, Douglas started his career in private schools as a wrestling coach. Through being a coach, Douglas was able to find an opportunity to be a coach and also work in residential life at Georgetown Prep in Washington, D.C. There, he served as Georgetown Prep’s Residential Academic Coordinator. Douglas said that his experience working in residential life programs prepared him to do DEI work at other schools, including Masters, and called that work similar. 

He said, “When you think about residential life, a lot of that is equity and inclusion work as well, especially in our boarding schools. You’re bringing in people from all types of different backgrounds and say, ‘How can we create an environment where people can feel that they are valued for who they are?’” Douglas said it’s all working in the same vein, they’re just different foci. Douglas has also worked at several other independent schools and has led other DEI programs in the past.

Douglas first came to Masters as a history teacher in the History and Religion department in the fall of 2020. In the spring of 2021, Douglas was appointed Upper School DEI director/coordinator and after the Center for Inclusive Excellence was put in place, his title became the Dean for Inclusive Excellence, and he runs and advises the Diversity Ambassadors, a group of students that receive training on all things related to diversity equity and inclusion. This group of students host events, presentations, and workshops throughout the school year. Douglas has also worked on various other projects at Masters, including, creating an inclusive language guide, programming professional faculty development in social justice, and helping to implement student leader programming throughout the year.

Along with his role in the Center for Inclusive Excellence, Douglas also created and designed the course, Africana Critical Thought, a course offered by the History and Religion Department and available to seniors. Douglas has also worked on redesigning some of the curriculum of World History I and  US History.

Douglas said he has had several highlights throughout his time and work at Masters so far, though there has been one that has especially stood out.  He said, “Saturday Summit was a big accomplishment. I think anytime you can pull in students that are motivated to engage in matters of inclusion, belonging, and justice, and do that on a Saturday where you can be doing all kinds of other stuff. If nothing else happened in my job, I think that would be worth it.”

Douglas’s new role comes with some change, though. His current role focuses mainly on equity and inclusion on the student level, but moving up to Associate Head of the Upper School for Inclusive Excellence, Douglas will be transitioning to focus on mostly administrative tasks. In his new role, Douglas’s audience will change as he will be working more with the board of trustees, head of school, parent association, and faculty and staff.

Douglas said he is very excited about his new role in the Center for Inclusive Excellence and is eager to start working. He said, “My entire career has been pointing toward the work we’ve been doing in this office, and I’m super excited.” 

Davis said he believes that Douglas will do a tremendous job in his new role.  He said, “I think he’s [Douglas] going to kill it. His nickname in our office is ‘The Professor’. The man is ridiculously smart and is a consummate thinker and because of that, I think he’s going to bring a level of intellectualism to this work that will help keep it on the path of being grounded in research and thinking.”

“We are positioned to be a leading voice in this conversation about what helping students find their place and voice in schools could be.

— Selas Douglas, Associate Head for the Center for Inclusive Excellence

   

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Matthias Jaylen Sandoval
Matthias Jaylen Sandoval, Editor-in-Chief
Senior, Matthias Jaylen from North Bergen, NJ is currently the Editor-in-Chief of Tower and has been involved in the publication since he was a Freshman. Matthias loved working for Tower the second he started on staff. Before working his way up the ranks to Editor-in-Chief, he was Tower's Social Media Manager, Distribution Manager, and Opinion Editor. Throughout his time on Tower, Matthias has been a nationally recognized award-winning student journalist. He was named the 2024 Versatile Journalist of the Year and has won several other awards from the NSPA, CSPA, Quill and Scroll, PSJA and Best of SNO. He hopes to pursue journalism and communications as his major in college. When he's not in the Tower Lab, you can find Matthias in one of the theatres on campus. He's an active performing artist, and acts and sings for the theatre company. In his free time, he loves to watch his favorite baseball teams, the Mets, and the Red Sox.

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