Nic James joined DVFS in 2018 as the school’s Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. He also teaches 10th grade English. Nic serves on the Academic Leadership Committee and the Administrative Team at DVFS.
Q: Where were you before you came to DVFS?
This is my 13th year in education. I began my career teaching English and Social Studies at the Middle School level and serving as a diversity coordinator before entering the realm of school leadership in several independent schools in the Philadelphia area. Most recently, I was at The Crefeld School, where I was the Assistant Head of School.
Q: What attracted you to DVFS and this new role?
My background in both small school and Quaker school communities, coupled with my own passion to do leadership work in the area of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion made the opportunity at DVFS very attractive! I’m a firm believer that one’s focus on her/his passions opens up possibilities and I could not be more excited that this particular possibility became an outcome for me.
Q: Why is DEI work important? What does it mean to have an administrative level position dedicated to working on issues of diversity, equity and inclusion?
About 10 years ago, I read an article by NAIS which suggested that “diversity was not included in the list of 22 challenging aspects of the job that head of school were asked to rate.” This came as quite a shock to me because, at every level of my school experience, as a student and as a professional, issues of diversity were also challenges for my peers and my colleagues. I was a young teacher at the time and had also recently been appointed clerk of my school’s diversity and equity committee. While I was glad the school was allowing faculty members to give some attention to that space, very little administrative attention was being given. But it became my first school leadership opportunity, which very quickly became my passion. As a student of color from an independent school and a faculty member of color in an independent school, I recognized what I hoped my role could be for my students and colleagues - being an advocate and a support for fairness and equity. To me, having true administrative leadership in the area of DEI shows a strong value for and an authentic dedication from the school to seeing ongoing improvement among all of the school's community members: students, families, faculty, staff, administration and the board.
Q: What is a unique experience, talent or interest that you bring to your classroom or the community to help shape the learning experience of your students?
I like to write and am looking forward to as many writing opportunities as possible!
Q: In your experience, what sets DVFS apart from other schools?
Its commitment to maintaining a small school size and working with a unique student population.