SWS BOARD NEWS  |  JUNE 19, 2020
Dear Seattle Waldorf School Community,

Today is Juneteenth, a day widely considered to be African-Americans' independence day. It marks the date, June 19, 1865, when enslaved Africans in Galveston, Texas, learned from Union soldiers that they were free, more than two years after Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. To read more about local Juneteenth celebrations here in Seattle, visit the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle. They have created a week-long program for adults and children, which can be watched live or on their YouTube channel.

Juneteenth is a continuation of the legacy of resilience and a reminder of a people's ongoing anguish. This year, the continued pain is underscored by uncertainty as the killings of unarmed black men and women, the subsequent uprisings, and the coronavirus pandemic have made the holiday a symbol of unfulfilled promises. We are at a critical point to demonstrate our moral consciousness and stamina for the difficult conversations and dedicated action that is necessary to dismantle systemic racism. We are committed to elevating the voices of marginalized people, to changing the course of inequities, and to breaking down structural prejudice in all forms where it exists, particularly within our own SWS community.

More About Juneteenth

"Juneteenth may mark just one moment in the struggle for emancipation, but the holiday gives us an occasion to reflect on the profound contributions of enslaved black Americans to the cause of human freedom. It gives us another way to recognize the central place of slavery and its demise in our national story. And it gives us an opportunity to remember that American democracy has more authors than the shrewd lawyers and erudite farmer-philosophers of the Revolution, that our experiment in liberty owes as much to the men and women who toiled in bondage as it does to anyone else in this nation's history."

Follow this link to read the entire Op-Ed article,
"Why Juneteenth Matters," Jamelle Bouie, New York Times.

Board of Trustees Forms Equity Committee

In support of strengthening the school's commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, the Board formed an Equity Committee, co-chaired by trustees Erika Lindsay and Eva Elliott. Composed of trustees, parents, faculty, and staff, the committee will begin its work this summer, using the report and recommendations drafted by Racial Equity Consultants based upon the feedback from the recent survey. This committee will focus on implicit and explicit racism at our school and the changes we need to make. We will be successful at healing the wounds of our community only to the extent that we scrutinize and rework every aspect of our school's culture, curriculum, systems, and procedures that contribute to the oppression and marginalization of people of color.

Update from Equity Advisory Group (EAG)

The group's work this year focused on developing and conducting the DEI survey that was released in May to students, parents, faculty and staff, and trustees. There were plans for focus groups as well, but these will now be scheduled for the fall. Using this feedback, Racial Equity Consultants will develop a report and recommendations that will inform the school's work going forward. We appreciate all who participated in the survey and will report back to the community later in the summer.

Thank You to Flora McEachern

We are grateful to Flora for her skilled and passionate work over the past two years as our DEI Coordinator. Flora will shift her focus full-time to admission, specifically in grades 6-12 as well as supporting our international student program. Her tenacious and persistent efforts have moved our community forward in so many ways -- thank you, Flora.

The school is in the process of hiring a DEI Director and we look forward to sharing more soon. We are committed to continuing to build on the work of the EAG, the Parent/Faculty Equity Committee, and the many members of our community working to bring difficult conversations, honest reflection, and real change to SWS.

New and Departing Board Members

We thank departing trustees Missi Goss, Jon Labonite, and Mark Perry for their years of service to Seattle Waldorf School and the Board of Trustees.

For the 2020-21 school year, we welcome two new trustees:
  • Nat Burgess is Managing Partner at TechStrat, a strategic advisory firm focused on maximizing the value of private technology companies. He holds degrees from Yale University and University of California, Los Angeles - School of Law. His daughter attends Seattle Waldorf High School.
  • Tanja Omeze is a Marketing Leader, Consultant for high-growth companies in technology, education, health, and wellness. She holds a Master of Business Administration from University of Pennsylvania. She has a son in preschool at Seattle Waldorf School.

Curt Eckman
Board President
Tracy Bennett
Head of School
Raquel Scharf-Anderson
Incoming Head of School

2020-2021 Board of Trustees

Curt Eckman, President
Eva Elliott, Vice President
Andy Hoag, Secretary
Fred Ingham, Treasurer
Dan Amdur
Brigitte Bertschi
Nat Burgess
Nettie Fabrie
Erika Lindsay
Tanja Omeze
Steve Roos
Cathy Simon
Peter von Homeyer
Richard Watkins

Katherine Leggett, Parent Association Chair (Ex Officio)
Raquel Scharf-Anderson, Incoming Head of School (Ex Officio)

Seattle Waldorf School  |  206.524.5320  |   seattlewaldorf.org