HSE Schools Welcomes New Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer

Photographer / Kerch Creative

InclusionHamilton Southeastern Schools’ new chief equity and inclusion officer position is a perfect fit for Rosalie Nataki Pettigrew. As a resident of Fishers, an educator with 23 years of experience, and the mother of children currently enrolled in the district, Pettigrew brings her expertise and knowledge to the role. Throughout her career, she has been committed to providing a welcoming environment for all.

Before assuming her current position in mid-January, Pettigrew served as dean of curriculum and instruction at Vanguard Collegiate of Indianapolis, a tuition-free charter middle school. Before that, she worked as both an English teacher and administrator. Since beginning her career in rural South Carolina, she has pursued her own educational growth and is currently working toward a Ph.D.

“I earned my postgraduate degrees from Indiana Wesleyan University,” she says. “I concentrated on diversity, equity and ethnicity while working on my education specialist, district-level leadership degree. I’ve always continued my professional development by seeking out knowledge regarding equity in education. My dissertation will concentrate on parental involvement with African-American middle school boys, with a focus on looking at achievement gaps.”

“As an educator, I’ve spent a lot of time talking to teachers and administrators about topics relating to poverty and culturally responsive teaching,” Pettigrew continues. “I knew of the chief equity and inclusion officer position vacancy because I have children in the school district. Friends said, ‘Why don’t you take your talents to where your kids are?’ As a parent and educator, I feel strongly in the importance of equity in education and I can see it manifest through my own children.”

InclusionThe position requires involvement with schools throughout the district. Pettigrew will work closely with the equity coaches in all buildings. Each elementary, intermediate and junior high school has at least two coaches on-site, while the high schools have at least twice that amount.

“It has been a welcoming experience, not just at the central office, but with the principals and equity coaches,” Pettigrew says. “Individuals have reached out saying, ‘We want to work with you and try new things.’ I have been in several buildings and have had meetings with principals via Zoom.”

Pettigrew has a few initiatives planned for the next school year. She would like to set a 21-day Equity Challenge with staff and any community members who would like to participate. Another program she hopes to introduce is the concept of Healing Circles, during which participants listen to each other without interruption within an atmosphere of kindness and respect. The goal is to give students, and not only adults, a chance to talk and be heard.

“All kids need a place where they can be themselves,” Pettigrew says. “It takes community stakeholders, staff, parents, and all of us together to collectively be part of the solution. We need to have uncomfortable conversations about race, ethnicity and gender. One person alone can’t move mountains. We have the capacity and the power to change.”

For more information on Hamilton Southeastern Schools, visit hseschools.org.

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