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SCASD hires director of diversity and inclusivity

Dr. Seria Chatters The State College Area School District Board of Directors has approved hiring Dr. Seria Chatters as the district’s director of diversity and inclusivity, a new position.

Chatters, currently an assistant professor in Penn State’s Department of Educational Psychology, Counseling and Special Education and the coordinator of Clinical Mental Health Counseling in Schools and Communities at the university, will be responsible for overseeing the district’s ongoing efforts to meet the goals of its School Climate/Inclusive Excellence Policy. She’ll begin in August.

I am deeply honored and humbled to have been selected to serve the SCASD community as the incoming director of diversity and inclusivity. I am strongly committed to working hard for our entire community to the best of my abilities,” Chatters said. “I am excited to have the opportunity to work closely with parents, students, teachers, administration and stakeholders in and around the area.”

Chatters holds a Master’s Degree in Counselor Education and a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of South Florida. A licensed professional counselor and mental health counselor, she also has taught at South Florida and Zayed University in Dubai and has worked as a middle and high school counselor in Tampa, Fla.

Superintendent Bob O’Donnell anticipates Chatters continuing the district’s progress toward becoming a more welcoming and inclusive place to learn and work. “Having Seria as a full-time colleague will be valuable for all of us, not only for our own development, but also as we encounter challenges related to diversity and inclusivity,” he said.

In the job posting, the district stated the director, “as a strategic partner and coach for students, parents and employees,” will work “to create a culture that embraces diversity at all levels, recognizes and addresses implicit bias, and highlights the importance of maintaining a culturally responsive environment.” Moreover, as an administrative leader, “the director is responsible for developing, implementing, and monitoring programs and processes that promote and sustain diversity, inclusion, and respect, and achieve the district’s strategic goals and objectives related to diversity and inclusion.”

Chatters said she plans to start by speaking with students, faculty, staff and administrators as much as possible for their perspectives and ideas.

“A key factor, in everything I do, is relationship and community building,” she said. “Therefore I anticipate taking time to learn more about what I consider to be our greatest resource, the people in this community. We have amazing days ahead of us and together we will continue to work toward a highly inclusive school district where all of our children can flourish.”

By Chris Rosenblum

Photo by Nabil K. Mark