Our Commitment to Equity

Odyssey School’s Board of Trustees, administration, faculty, parents, and students are committed to creating a culture of equity in our classrooms and in our community.

Defining Equity

Equity is defined as a quality of being both fair and just. Serving equitably is distinct from serving equally, which instead implies that all are treated the same regardless of circumstance, need, or context.  In order to strive for equitable practices, we first recognize that inequity is built into the fabric of our society. Just as our goal is to teach individual students at their optimal rate of challenge, the same is true for welcoming all members of our community and honoring their lived experience.

2017-18 Committee Pictured: Megan Martell, Mary Virginia Bunker, Stephanie Hickling-Beckman, Alexandria Ravenal, Trish Hicking-Beckman, Alyssa DeRonne

We recognize and aim to correct the historically segregative role that independent schools have played and can play in education. We also acknowledge that there is no one perfect way to achieve equity, but we are dedicated to striving for best practices and are willing to take risks because there is much work to do. Similarly, we recognize that our society, in general, is challenged to overcome a complex web of inequities and our community strives to correct these inequities attributed to racism, sexism, homophobia, and classism. Racial, gender, and wealth equity is a lens through which Odyssey School aims to conduct all of its work.

Together with you, we hope to build a community that prioritizes equity, as well as reflects and celebrates the diversity of the human experience.

Introducing our Committee

2018-19 Chair

Kristin Erhard, HS Spanish Teacher, Core Member since January 2018

Committee Members

  • Alexandria Ravenal, HS Parent, Core Member Since August 2017
  • Mary Virginia Bunker, K Teacher, Core Member Since August 2017
  • Trish Beckman, 1st Grade Parent, Core Member Since August 2017
  • Alyssa DeRonne, K, 3rd, and 5th Grade Parent, Office Assistant, Core Member Since August 2017
  • Craig Deutsch, 2nd Grade Teacher, Member Since February 2018
  • Sarah Wells, HS Parent, Supporting Member Since August 2017
  • Jenny Perry, HS Parent, Supporting Member Since August 2017
  • Stephanie Hickling-Beckman, 1st Grade Parent, Supporting Member Since 2018

Our committee meets monthly to work towards executing our Strategic Plan and engage in meaningful conversation about how best to support and express equity throughout Odyssey School’s organization. 

When asked “What most inspires you about working on the Equity Committee?” our members answered:

“The opportunity to listen, facilitate and contribute to a conversation about Odyssey School’s values and aims in creating a culture of equity and inclusivity, especially in light of the fact of our status as an independent school which confers its own privilege and need for reflection and reform in our society.”
“I am inspired to work with individuals who are committed to racial justice and equity within our educational community.”
“I chose to join the equity committee after attending Building Bridges. My study of racial injustice has been limited to the criminal justice system as well as to learning about political discrimination. I am just beginning to dive into inequities within the education system. I am inspired to work on the equity committee with a team of dedicated parents, teachers, and administrators who are intentionally developing plans to make Odyssey School an environment that supports people of all ethnicities, socioeconomic status, and abilities.
I am so incredibly excited and inspired to be in a school and on a committee that is walking the path of equity work in very real ways!

How we demonstrate our values

Encourage an active Equity Committee comprised of parents, teachers, and administrators who will strategize and guide initiatives, strategic plans, and system wide efforts to support positive change.

Strive for an equity lens informing decision-making, programs, policies and procedures. Work in conflict-resolution as our equity efforts may bring about growing pains and discomfort as adjustments occur.

Intentionally consider and select members from under-represented populations or from people with broad experiences and perspectives for the board of directors, faculty, and staff whose values include equity and social justice.

Apply these values to our admissions policies by striving to adequately represent the diversity found within Asheville and fairly and equally represent that diversity within our school community (while helping to expand it).

Collaborate with local community organizations working toward greater equity who can provide additional resources and share best practices to create equitable opportunities and support for our Odyssey School community equity project.

For more information about our strategic plan and specific initiatives, please ask!


We’d like to hear from you!

Odyssey School is an independent, non-profit school with a focus on whole child, emotionally intelligent, personalized curriculum for students in PreK-12.

Our mission is to prepare students, families, and educators to lead the 21st century with an authentic sense of self.

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