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New Director of Equity, Inclusivity and Belonging

tonya blackOn Monday, Nov. 7, the State College Area School District Board of Directors approved Tonya Black to be the district’s second director of equity, inclusivity and belonging.


She succeeds Seria Chatters, the first individual to hold the position. Hired in 2018, Chatters departed in September to become the assistant vice provost of educational equity at Penn State.


A longtime educator, Black brings 27 years of varied experience in the district to the position, most recently as a State High assistant principal overseeing the 9th grade learning community and before that, grades 10-12. She has also been the high school’s dean of students, an elementary classroom teacher, an instructional support/Title 1 Reading/English language learners teacher, an instructional support/Response to Intervention and Instruction teacher, a reading specialist, and an interim elementary school principal.


“I am excited to continue supporting our students, families, faculty, and staff in this new position,” Black said. “Honoring equity and inclusion as the foundation of our educational practices, I look forward to problem solving through collaboration and action in order to cultivate a deeper sense of belonging within our community.”


Black holds an undergraduate degree in elementary education and master’s in education degree in curriculum and instruction, both from Penn State, and is currently pursuing a doctorate in curriculum and instruction at the university. Her credentials include ESL, English, administrative and reading specialist certifications, and she’s an experienced trainer for both restorative practices and safety care support.


“Tonya’s breadth of experience as an advocate for students and families with diverse backgrounds at both the elementary and secondary levels makes her the ideal choice to lead our Office of Equity and Inclusivity,” Interim Superintendent Curtis Johnson said. “In her various roles, she has consistently promoted equitable, welcoming and inclusive environments in our schools, all the while demonstrating kindness and a love for our students and entire community. Her commitment and leadership will be crucial in our ongoing efforts to prepare all students for lifelong success.”  


Having been approved by the Board, Black will begin this week. Her previous position will be permanently filled by interim State High assistant principal Ryan Walsh. Walsh’s former position will temporarily be filled by Tina Greene, a Virtual Academy teacher/assistant principal. In turn, Jennifer Scudder, a Reclaiming Individual Talent Program teacher, will fill Greene’s Virtual Academy role for the time being.


By Chris Rosenblum

Photo by Nabil K. Mark