Our mission “to inspire girls and young women to become game changers and ethical leaders who forge an equitable, sustainable, and joyous future” compels us to see that equity and community life is everyone’s work at Hewitt. This fall, a cross-constituency search committee is working with Sherry Coleman and Staci Williams Seeley of Storbeck Search to lead a national search for Hewitt’s next director of equity and community life. Meanwhile, we are delighted to have retained two nationally-renowned diversity, equity, and inclusion leaders, Martha Haakmat and Jason Craige Harris, to work as consultants to Hewitt for the 2022-2023 school year. Both Martha and Jason have extensive track records of success in New York City independent schools, and our professional and parent/guardian communities look forward to learning from them this year.
Martha Haakmat is an experienced educator who has spent her 36-year career teaching and leading in NYC independent schools. She brings a depth of understanding and perspective to her work, having held various faculty and leadership positions in a wide variety of school communities. Coming from her most recent service as a head of school, Martha worked specifically on enrollment, marketing, and finance in a changing admissions landscape, and she developed strategic planning expertise, which included diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) goal setting and ongoing systemic work. She is now the executive director of Haakmat Consulting LLC providing leadership coaching and support for DEI strategic planning for schools and other organizations. Martha currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the New York State Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS), The Brearley School, and Early Steps. She is also a lead presenter for the NAIS Institute for New Heads and is a credentialed Montessori administrator.
Jason Craige Harris is a voice for healing and transformation. He works in a variety of contexts, with a range of constituents and age groups, and across sectors to promote dignity, equity, and belonging. He brings together insights from diverse fields as an educator, writer, researcher, and storyteller. Specializing in conflict mediation, restorative justice, and change management, he regularly advises heads of school and other leaders on how to solve big problems and pursue lasting change. Jason is the managing partner at Perception Strategies, an international consulting firm; senior advisor at Perception Institute, a research consortium prioritizing equity in social systems; and social impact producer for IndieFlix’s latest film on race and mental health, Race To Be Human. Previously, Jason was the director of diversity and inclusion at a NYC independent school, where he co-led the school’s peace, equity, and justice department, and taught courses at the intersection of ethics, history, and religion. Jason sits on the boards of Inwood Academy, Seeds of Peace, Hidden Water, and Getting to We. He is also a member of the advisory board of the Institute for Teaching Diversity and Social Justice.
This year, Martha and Jason will develop and facilitate workshops and professional development for Hewitt’s faculty and staff, leadership team, Board of Trustees, parents and guardians, and alumnae. Their work will focus on deepening our school-wide commitment to the Learning for Justice standards, developing student programming, and providing ongoing mentoring, coaching, and guidance to our professional community.
We are delighted to have the opportunity to learn and grow as a community with the expert guidance of Martha and Jason, and build schoolwide capacity for addressing equity and community life work in service of our mission.