Greece CSD names director of equity

COURTESY OF GREECE CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT

The Greece Central School District announced the recent appointment of Cedrick-Michael Simmons as director of equity.  

Simmons comes to GCSD from Ithaca College, where he worked in the sociology department. He is a doctoral candidate at Boston College and spent several years researching ways that diversity and inclusion workers push for organizational justice. 

Superintendent Kathleen Graupman said Simmons was selected because he brings a wealth of practical experience in the field. He created and taught multiple courses at Boston College and Ithaca College, served as president of the Student Government Association and on strategic planning committees, and organized multiple groups of students and administrators to change equity policies at both institutions. Simmons also is a graduate of Greece Arcadia.  

“Cedrick is truly invested in the Greece community,” Graupman said. 

Simmons said he is excited to return to his hometown to “pay it forward” and work with GCSD members to make a difference in the lives of other people, especially students. Over the next few months, he will focus on getting to know the different stakeholders and discussing what they think is going well and where there are opportunities for growth. 

“I think building relationships through those conversations is probably the most important thing I can do early on,” Simmons said. “First and foremost, I try to find common values. Secondly, I think you build trust by producing and celebrating evidence of progress. Thirdly, I look for concrete ways that people with different priorities or perspectives can work together to reach similar goals. Lastly, I try to be a servant leader and find ways to help other people succeed.” 

Cedrick-Michael Simmons.

GCSD started its equity work in earnest in 2012 with a partnership with New York University’s Technical Assistance Center on Disproportionality and the creation of the District Equity and Excellence Team. In the years that followed, the district started training cohorts of staff in culturally responsive education, updated its code of conduct and curriculum review process, rethought its hiring practices and added an equity imperative to its school improvement plans. Equity also is the centerpiece of GCSD’s Envision Greece 2022 Strategic Plan. 

“The district is trying to build a community where differences in identity, perspectives and culture are valued and students are empowered to use their unique points of view to understand and improve the world we live in,” Simmons said. “I know that things aren’t perfect, but I also know from personal experience that there are many teachers, staff, parents and students who are committed to justice and service.”