Board Commitment

The Institutional Culture Committee (ICC) is a new Standing Board Committee of the Grace Church School Board of Trustees. In keeping with the tradition at Grace Church School, the ICC is comprised of members from across the many constituencies of the school, including, starting in the fall of 2020, two students in our high school division. 

The ICC has grown out of the four years of strategic planning led by the Board’s Diversity Structures Task Force and is an example of the Board’s ongoing commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and, more recently, anti-racism.  The task force has also written the Diversity Mission Statement for the school and guided the Board to create the Office of Community Engagement and the position of Dean of Equity and Inclusion. It established accountability measures like annual reports of hiring and admissions data to ensure that the school was making progress towards its anti-racist aspirations, and it mandated professional development in anti-racism for faculty and staff as a prerequisite for their contract renewal.  The Task Force’s focus this year was to ensure that its priorities and purview became a permanent part of the Board’s governing structures.  And so the Task Force’s last act was to create the charter of the committee that would replace it: 

The Institutional Culture Committee seeks to foster an active ethical consciousness in the Grace Church School community. It aspires for the school to build a culture that embodies our highest ideals relating to diversity, inclusion, and belonging; to antiracism; to sustainability; and to the myriad issues of social justice and oppression we cannot yet even foresee. Grace’s goal is not to teach individuals how to be exceptions to biased and inequitable systems. More importantly, it is to empower all members of the Grace community to transform those systems by becoming change agents for justice and compassion—both in the School and the world beyond its walls.
 
The ICC held its first meeting in May, before it formally came into being. Led by Co-Chairs Renée Noel and Barbara Sibley, the committee partnered with the Parents of Diverse Cultural Backgrounds to host an open discussion responding to the killing of George Floyd. They met again on June 18 and July 7 to discuss the @blackatgrace stories, and meetings are planned to continue throughout the summer. The ICC welcomes everyone to join in these conversations.  As a safe space to listen, lament, ask questions and learn, these meetings are an invaluable resource for our community, and we hope they can be a place where we can pledge to do our part in dismantling the systems that perpetuate racism in our world, our city and, yes, at our school.   
Committee Composition
 
The Institutional Culture Committee mirrors the Education Committee and is composed of a broad cross-section of our community. The Chairs of the ICC are appointed by the Board of Trustees from among its trustees and the committee includes at least three board trustees as well as a vestry trustee. This will ensure that the committee effectively reflects the culture of the school and, in addition, that the goals of the committee itself are communicated back to the various constituencies. The ICC will develop structures to guide the Board and school towards ever active ethical consciousness. Our aspiration is that every student be equipped with the ability to excel in a diverse world and empowered to promote diversity, equity and belonging.
 
Participation on the ICC will usually require a three-year commitment from members and meetings will be held between 4-7 times a year. There will be an orientation session in the fall as well as a suggested reading list.
 
 ICC Members 2020-2021
 
Co-Chairs: Renée Noel, Barbara Sibley
Akbar Ali Herndon
Jean Robert André
Courtney Archer-Buckmire
Kim Chaloner
Imani Chapman 
Margaret Crotty
Denyse Galiothe
Donna Garban
Margery Hellmold
Elsa Hepner
Kathy Keane
Anne Kehlmann
Miyoung Lee
George S. Loening
Hugo Mahabir
Folake Ologunja
Nicholai Ouroussoff
Eduardo Pardo
Robbie Pennoyer
Davon Russell
Aubrey Shipway
Erik Sorensen
Felicia Washington
Melanie Weston
Kenji Yoshino

Ex Officio
George P. Davison
Olivia W. Douglas
© 2017 Grace Church School
Grace Church School is a co-educational independent school in downtown Manhattan, New York City providing instruction for over 700 students in Junior Kindergarten through Grade 12.