Influencers: McDonogh School

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Dr. Lana Bates, Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion | McDonogh School  

Dr. Lana Bates, Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at McDonogh School, is an experienced diversity practitioner, consultant, and advocate with a demonstrated history of working in the higher education industry, as well as with local and state public and private educational institutions. She has 15+ years experience in education as a school psychologist, researcher, faculty and staff trainer, and adjunct professor. She has a Doctorate in School Psychology with a specialty focus in diversity in education and special education from the University of Virginia and is a co-founding member of The Wells Collective, LLC, a full-service diversity consulting company.

What drew you to education?
I came from a family of women educators and education was an important familial value. I knew I didn’t want to be a teacher but always imagined myself in the field of education. As a young black girl attending predominantly white schools, I experienced first-hand the liberating and simultaneously oppressive conditions in which educational institutions shape minds. Because of my childhood experiences in school, I knew that I wanted to use the education I attained to help institutions become places where BIPOC and other marginalized students could truly be educated in ways that affirmed their identity.

What do you like about your current school?
McDonogh School is committed to the intense “heart-work” that is needed to fully embrace and engage in equity, inclusion, and social justice, which is invaluable to me, personally and professionally. I am grateful to be part of a community that has the willingness and intent to move toward a just and equitable world. This is no easy feat, and it requires an institution with courage and determination. I believe my school has these traits. Additionally, I appreciate that our administration and faculty have a deep and resonating passion to change lives through education and, as such, have thoroughly transformed many students’ lives.

What do you hope to achieve in your role?
This is a big question for a person in my position. I would like to experience a world where every person’s humanity is valued and educational institutions are a microcosm of the larger world. My desire would be that my work could move our institution even closer to realizing this vision, where BIPOC and marginalized students receive an education in which their identity is affirmed and they are empowered to change the status quo, and where all students see themselves as agents of change in creating a world that truly is inclusive of all of humanity

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