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Education news and issues in the Ozarks.

New Chief Equity And Diversity Officer For SPS Wants To Create "A Culture Of Care"

Springfield Public Schools

A chief equity and diversity officer for Springfield Public Schools has been announced.  Yvania Garcia-Pusateri is the current executive director of multicultural programs at Missouri State University.  She’ll begin her new job on September 9.

The hiring is part of the SPS strategic plan, which district officials say “is aligned to identify and measure progress in closing the gaps for under-resourced and under-represented students.”

It follows recent incidents in district schools, including a video made by a Kickapoo High School student in which the student makes racial slurs aimed at black classmates.

Garcia-Pusateri said she’s “passionate about promoting a culture of care that enhances the personal and academic trajectory of students.”

The SPS Board of Education approved additional resources as part of the 2019-2020 budget allocation process to improve equity in the district. That includes funding for the chief equity and diversity officer and additional training for all teachers, support staff and administrators. District officials said that training is underway.

An Equity and Diversity Advisory Council, comprised of more than 40 community members, is now meeting twice monthly to assess the district's current work and develop recommendations for moving forward, according to SPS.

Michele Skalicky has worked at KSMU since the station occupied the old white house at National and Grand. She enjoys working on both the announcing side and in news and has been the recipient of statewide and national awards for news reporting. She likes to tell stories that make a difference. Michele enjoys outdoor activities, including hiking, camping and leisurely kayaking.