Seize the Moment to Effect Change

Inclusion, Diversity, Equity & Action

IDEA Statement

Anchored in Christian values — love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control — relationships at Mount Vernon are foundational to learning. Preparing students to be college ready, globally competitive, and engaged citizen leaders call us to lean in to inclusion, diversity, equity, and action.

Creating and cultivating connections between all people, ideas, and sectors, the School welcomes all learners to wrestle with voices and perspectives that challenge our assumptions, biases, stereotypes, and privileges. Not allowing our differences to divide us requires each of us to engage in honest, vulnerable, and courageous conversations through empathy, reflection, examination, and action. Being real agents of change is a continuous journey.

Committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion, our trust in each other strengthens our sense of identity, autonomy, and interdependence. As a school of inquiry, innovation, and impact, we are committed to creating and sustaining a school culture where all members feel valued and safe, sharing their authentic selves to design a better world…together.

Welcoming every voice, please share your experiences, recommendations, and feedback.

Action Steps

We must seize the moment to effect change. We must start from where we are, understand where we are, and move forward to cultivate a community of endurance to sustain the long journey of antiracism. We are committed to creating and sustaining a school culture where all members feel valued and safe, sharing their authentic selves to design a better world…together.

The Mount Vernon School has established short-term objectives, mid-term priorities, and long-term goals to advance and sustain inclusion, diversity, equity, and action in the future.

Organizational & School Climate
  • Commitment to look back to look forward through conducting intentional conversations with past and present members of the Black community within The Mount Vernon School
  • Commitment to analyze and revise the School’s current processes, policies, handbooks, and communication in order to build a more inclusive future where words of racism and actions of prejudice will not be tolerated
  • Commitment to retain external resources to measure IDEA gaps, missed opportunities, community needs, and next steps
Learning & Well-Being
  • Commitment to review the School’s curricular and instructional framework for PS-12 programming through a culturally responsive IDEA lens and infuse and amplify multiple perspectives, voices, experiences, and historical contexts of Black and underrepresented communities
  • Commitment to expand anti-bias and anti-racist training opportunities for all students, faculty and staff members, parents, and trustees and deepen competencies for social and emotional learning — self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, healthy relationships, and ethical decision-making skills
  • Commitment to support the social and emotional well-being of students and staff members of color through dedicated staff members, programs, and opportunities
Recruitment & Retention
  • Commitment to strategic shifts in outreach in admissions to increase awareness, engagement, and enrollment of diverse communities within the Atlanta area
  • Commitment to build upon recruiting and retention of staff members of color through partnerships, mentorship, and leadership
  • Commitment to expand IDEA Department, conducting national search to recruit Chief of Inclusion Diversity Equity and Action reporting directly to the Head of School as a member of the senior leadership team and identifying IDEA directors for the Lower Campus and Upper Campus as well as IDEA divisional coordinators
Advancement & Continuous Improvement
  • Commitment to communicating clear, tangible action steps reflecting short-term and long-term targets
  • Commitment to amplify the progress of inclusion, diversity, equity, and action within The Mount Vernon School, bringing awareness and understanding to the broader School community
  • Commitment to conducting ongoing analysis and review in real time to pivot and adjust as necessary for the School to lean in and live out IDEA daily

IDEA Expressions

In 2018, the Mount Vernon School began to have courageous conversations around the most challenging issues of our day, including diversity, equity, and inclusion. The following IDEA Expressions of Learning are not meant to be an exhaustive or even a performative list of activities, experiences, and projects but intentional demonstrations designed to make continual improvements in amplifying inclusion, diversity, equity, and action at Mount Vernon.


Collective conviction requires us to lean in to look back to look forward, startle the heart, begin the journey and cultivate resilience. The following is a sample, not exhaustive list, to continue our journey of courageous conversations.

Historical Foundations of Race & Racism: Look Back to Look Forward

Frederick Douglass, Autobiographies, Frederick Douglass
New Jim Crow, Michelle Alexander
Stamped, Ibram X. Kendi
The Soul of Black Folks, WEB Du Bois
Why We Can’t Wait, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Racial Literacy: Startle the Heart

Blindspot, Mahzarin Banaji
Fatal Invention, Dorothy Roberts
So You Want to Talk about Race, Ijeoma Oluo
Waking up White, Debby Irving
White Fragility, Robin DeAngelo

Anti-Racism: Begin the Journey
Reconciliation: Cultivate Community Resilience & Belonging

Be the Bridge, Latasha Morrison
Cultivate a Heart of Mercy, Dr. Bernice King
I’m Still Here, Austin Channing Brown
Talking About Race, National Museum of African American History and Culture
Why You Need to Talk to Your Kids about Race, Parent Cue
Shame and Accountability, Brené Brown

Meet the Team

Elisse Hayes, Interim Director of IDEA

Molly Collier, IDEA Preschool Coordinator

Taryn Rumph, IDEA Lower School Coordinator

Chaundra Suddith, IDEA Middle School Coordinator

Pamela Villafane, IDEA Upper School Coordinator

The Mount Vernon School

Upper Campus
510 Mt. Vernon Hwy NE
Atlanta, GA 30328

Lower Campus
471 Mt. Vernon Hwy NE
Atlanta, GA 30328