An Independent School • Grades 5-12

by Debbie Bensadon, director of equity and inclusion

Lakeside’s community wide commitment to equity and inclusion work is supported by a robust diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) team. The five-person team works with students, faculty, staff, and parents and guardians on a variety of projects and undertakings, most notably, the initiative Our Work Together: Inclusion, Multiculturalism, Respect.

Here is a rundown of who is on the team and our areas of focus.

  • Debbie Bensadon, director of equity and inclusion, leads this work at an institutional level, particularly regarding school-wide policies and practices. She guides the implementation of Our Work Together and collaborates with other administrators, the Board of Trustees, and the Parents and Guardians Association to implement efforts to make Lakeside a place where each person feels a part of the community. She also supports inclusive hiring at both divisions and represents Lakeside’s DEI office in the larger educational community.
  • Upper School visual arts teacher Kyle Cook and Middle School history teacher Merissa Reed serve as faculty equity coordinators. They work with faculty on both campuses, providing feedback on academic curricula (what faculty are teaching) as well inclusive teaching practices. Additionally, they help faculty identify professional development opportunities and readings specific to teachers’ interests and areas for growth.
  • LEEP director/family support liaison Latasia Lanier and Middle School personal development teacher Yvette Avila are the student equity program coordinators. Lanier advises the Upper School student affinity group leadership team (SALT), helps develop and coordinate the Upper School student dialogues, and coordinates and chaperones national and regional student diversity conferences. At the Middle School, Avila is the lead for the affinity group program, develops dialogue plans and helps Middle School faculty execute them.

Find more information about the team’s work on our diversity, equity, and inclusion website. You can reach members of the DEI team at