School Appoints Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging - Kingswood Oxford

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May 28, 2024

School Appoints Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging

Rich Mutts has been named the new Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging, effective July 15 and will serve as a member of the Senior Administrative Team.

 

A 2006 graduate of the University of Connecticut, majoring in human development and family studies, Rich went on to earn an MA in organizational leadership from Concordia College. He brings an array of experience in conflict and crisis resolution, student advocacy and support, DEIB training, and community and strategic partnerships. His student-centered approach will immediately make a difference to the school community.

 

Rich comes to KO from Wesleyan University, where he served as the lead coordinator in the Equity and Inclusion office and pre-collegiate services. He drove DEI strategy and programming in this position and promoted an inclusive campus culture. He designed and implemented programs for first-generation and low-income students and families related to college access, internships, scholarships, and career readiness. Before Wesleyan, he was the interim DEIB director at Meriden Children First, a non-profit, where he led the strategic planning process of DEI commitment and action to improve cultural awareness and increase inclusivity and representation of underrepresented students and parents.

 

The director will help lead KO’s efforts to develop culturally competent students and fulfill our strategic goal of “cultivating an inclusive school culture and climate that promotes student wellness and fosters a sense of belonging for every student.”

 

Through the interview process, Rich met with several constituencies in the KO community, impacting all those he met through his warmth and authenticity, most notably the students with whom he will be interacting most closely. All were impressed by his energy and enthusiasm. One Middle School student said, “He was very interactive and made sure we all felt comfortable talking with him. He created an environment where everyone felt welcome. He seems like a person I could come to if I need to take a break or if I have questions.” 

 

Rich also impressed the parent community with his role as a “connector.” One parent commented, “He was very approachable and willing to help bring people to the table to have courageous conversations in efforts to grow a community that respects differences and understands equity.” Based on their conversations with Rich, many parents commented on his ability to network with other Connecticut non-profits in an effort to build our service learning curriculum.

 

Rich said his visit to the campus reaffirmed his desire for the DEIB position at KO, especially after interacting with the students. “KO was authentic, and it made me recognize that diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging are already embedded into the fabric of Kingswood Oxford,” he said. As an educator passionate about students, he was inspired by their intelligence and ideas for various DEIB initiatives. He describes himself as a “learn-it-all” who can be vulnerable with the students, so they are open to speaking with him. “That open-door policy is not a one-way street,” he said. “I let the students know that they won’t have to look hard to find me because I’m going to look for them most of the time.”

 

“The approach to finding the next DEIB at KO was deliberate and thoughtful,” Head of School Tom Dillow said. “We spent quite a bit of time talking about the characteristics we were looking for in a candidate— a champion of building an inclusive and welcoming community — and what the greatest needs were at the school. All our constituents recognized that Rich fit the bill. He is extremely high-energy and has an infectious personality that draws you in quickly.” 

 

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to use my skills, gifts, training, and passion at KO,” Rich said. “I’m bringing my best self to impact the culture at the school.”

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KO and a Cup of Joe – Thursday Mornings throughout the Summer

Join us for a brief information session to learn about the academic and co-curricular offerings at Kingswood Oxford School during the summer: June 20, 27, July 11, 18, 25, August 1, and 8 at 8:30 a.m. in Roberts Building’s lower lobby. For more information, contact our Admissions Office at (860) 727-5000. What a Difference a Day Makes!