Prior to the start of the 2021-22 school year, Dr. Jennifer Rowe was hired as LT’s new Director of Equity and Belonging.
“I probably have the best job ever,” Rowe said. “I’m helping create opportunities and a space where everyone can feel like they belong. I wanted to come to LT because I could talk about the work of equity and belonging not just in [the] big picture and in systems, but in application and personal connection.”
The Director of Equity and Belonging works to guide the school district’s effort to ensure every individual feels a sense of belonging within our school community, Superintendent Brian Waterman said. This past January, LT adopted an equity statement saying that the school would “continue to promote practices, systems, and processes that advance equity, access, and inclusivity”; part of this effort was to create a specified job position to reinforce their statement.
“The overall goal is to ensure that we are making every decision and that we are looking at every possible action through the lens of equity and belonging, ” Waterman said. “I’m really excited about the work that [Dr.Rowe] is going to do and the impact she is going to have on our community.”
Most of Rowe’s work in education has been completed in the Chicagoland area, she said. She previously worked at Loyola Academy in Wilmette and Hales Franciscan High School in Chicago. Rowe began her career in education as an English teacher and later became Dean of Students at Metea Valley High School. Prior to accepting her current position at LT, Rowe held the role of the Executive Director of Student Equity at Indian Prairie School District 204 for about two years.
“We’re really excited to have Dr. Rowe with us at LT,” Principal Jennifer Tyrrell said. “She brings some really great experience in that [Director of Equity and Belonging] role. We are very lucky to have her and the fact that we have been able to hire for this position at LT speaks to how important we believe our equity, belonging, and inclusion efforts are at LT.”
Rowe wants to create a community where all students feel like they are welcome, she said.
“Working with Dr. Rowe has been so refreshing,” Angelica Borrego ‘22 said. “She has so many ideas and is a pleasure to work with. I can’t wait to see the many positive changes that come to LT with her help.”
Rowe is aiming to plan multiple events to honor the various identities of LT students, including activities for Latinx Heritage Month, LGBTQ+ pride, Black History Month, Women’s History, and Indigenous People’s History, among other celebrations, she said.
“It’s so amazing to be able to do this work directly with students,” Rowe said. “My thing is actually creating a community where people see themselves and feel like they belong instead of just saying that everyone belongs here. I’m looking at what LT already has in place, and what we can do to improve and make a culture where we celebrate [everyone] all the time.”