An Independent School • Grades 5-12
A new phase in our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion
A new phase in our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion

Lakeside School is pleased to announce the details of a new strategic initiative in the areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion – Our Work Together: Inclusion, Multiculturalism, Respect.

"Our next phase of diversity, equity, and inclusion work is both inspiring and challenging," wrote Head of School Bernie Noe, in January's Inside Lakeside. "I am very optimistic about the work we are setting out to do. Among Lakeside's students and adults, the level of respect for one another is high, and that level of respect provides us with a firm foundation on which to build an even more inclusive school environment for everyone."

Our Work Together: Inclusion, Multiculturalism, Respect builds on the school's ongoing work in diversity, equity, and inclusion. And it responds to what the school learned through the Assessment of Inclusivity and Multiculturalism (AIM) survey that 1,500 members of the community participated in last winter. Since receiving the survey results, the All-School Diversity Committee and the leadership team of the school, in consultation with key groups — Middle School Student Council; Upper School Student Government; the Student Affinity/Alliance Leadership Team at the Upper School; members of the Parents and Guardians Association; and the Board of Trustees — have formulated a plan that will be enacted over the next three to five years.

You can find details about the initiative – including the goals, a glossary, and ways to get involved – on the webpage "Our Work Together: Inclusion, Multiculturalism, Respect."

Visit the webpage now.

A print mailing about the initiative will be mailed to families' homes this week. All parents and guardians are invited and encouraged to attend the Parents and Guardians Association general membership meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 6, where Our Work Together will be presented in person.

Our Work Together: Inclusion, Multiculturalism, Respect was formally presented to Lakeside's faculty and staff at a professional development day on Jan. 16. Following that day, Noe announced the growth of the team leading the work. Jamie Asaka '96 was named director of equity and inclusion, after serving in the role in an interim position since this summer. She will also continue in her role as director of student and family support. Noe wrote to the faculty and staff, "With Jamie's long experience at Lakeside – as an administrator, teacher, student, and alum – as well as her degrees in educational leadership and administration and social work (SU and UW), and the leadership she has shown in the areas of equity and inclusion, she is exceptionally well-prepared to help the school succeed in this effort." Stephanie Wright and Nancy Canino will also continue in their roles as assistant directors of curriculum and instruction, as well as continue to teach in their respective departments and serve as department heads. "Together," wrote Noe, "they have experience in all areas of the school: grades 5 through 12, STEM and the humanities, students and families. As such, they have thought carefully about all the ways the new initiative will unfold across the school."

In addition to Asaka, Wright, and Canino, the team will be restructured to have an assistant director of equity and inclusion and two assistant directors of student programs, one for each division. "Debbie Bensadon, Merissa Reed, and Zinda Foster have done wonderful work as student program coordinators, work that made it apparent we needed to expand those positions," said Noe.

In addition to learning more about the initiative at the Feb. 6 PGA general membership meeting, parents and guardians are encouraged to contact Jamie Asaka, director of equity and inclusion/director of student and family support, to share their thoughts and ideas. Asaka can be reached at and 206-440-2901.