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Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Talking about race relations, religion, class, or gender identity can be uncomfortable. Sometimes we don’t know what we don’t know. But having respectful and open conversations around diversity pushes us to see the world differently, to think about people and place and circumstance from new perspectives. How empowering, this opportunity for individual and collective growth.

Dr. Anthony Perry joins Lab as Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

July 14, 2020

Dear Lab Community,

We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Anthony J. Perry as our new Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion effective Thursday, July 16th.  

Under the leadership of our recently retired Director of DEI, Yvette Shepard, and in partnership with other committed faculty and staff, The Lab School of Washington has made great strides in creating a strategic vision for our school in these important areas. We also know and understand that there is much work to do. As educators, we believe that it is our obligation to ensure that Lab evolves from being a welcoming and supportive place to becoming a truly anti-racist community.

Following a comprehensive national search, we are delighted to introduce you to Dr. Perry who will guide us on this path.  The search committee, which was chaired by high school history teacher, James Bullock, and included Yvette, Katherine Schantz, myself, and other members of our faculty, staff, and administration, believe Dr. Perry has the experience, wisdom, and collaborative spirit to lead us forward in this critical work.

In addition to his impressive professional credentials in independent schools, Dr. Perry has also spent a considerable amount of time in the DC area, and knows our community well.  We so look forward to welcoming him to the Lab community.

All the best,

Kim Wargo Signature

Kim Wargo
Head of School

Headshot of Dr. Perry

Anthony J. Perry PhD

Dr. Anthony J. Perry has spent the last three years living and working in the Bay Area, first at The Nueva School and, most recently, at The Branson School. While at Nueva, in addition to teaching Spanish-language and literature courses, Dr. Perry served as the inaugural coordinator for THRIVE, a program that supports students and families who have been historically underrepresented in independent schools.

As an educator, Dr. Perry strives to lead by example, to be what Doris Sommer refers to as a “cultural agent,” linking “creative practices to social and democratic development.” To that end, he intentionally includes more diverse voices, unpacks and reexamines institutional systems and traditions, as well as promotes spaces that allow students, faculty, staff, and families to express their full selves. In 2019, he received a student-nominated Hero Award from the A Better Chance Program for his efforts at Nueva.

Prior to California, Dr. Perry was an Instructor in Spanish at Phillips Academy in Andover, MA. During his three-year tenure, he served as a member of the Gender and Equity Working Group, the Brace Center for Gender Studies Advisory Board, the Consent and Healthy Relationships Working Group, and the Community Conduct Council. Additionally, he was awarded a Brace Center Faculty Fellowship, during which he examined the varying and converging constructions of Black masculinity in contemporary literature, film and television. He presented his research at Andover, Nueva, and the Brace Center Summer Gender Institute. At both Andover and St. George’s School in Middletown, RI, where his journey as an educator began, Dr. Perry served as a house counselor and faculty advisor. These roles instilled in him a passion for empowering students of all backgrounds and abilities in their home away from home.

Dr. Perry is a first-generation graduate of the College of William & Mary (B.A. ’05, History and Hispanic Studies) and Georgetown University (M.S. ’11, Ph.D. ’18, Spanish Literature & Cultural Studies). In his 14-year career, he also has served as a Spanish-language and literature instructor at Georgetown University in Washington, DC, the ABC Language School in Washington, DC, and the Language Immersion Trips Abroad (LITA) Summer Program in Peñafiel, Spain. 

Honoring Transgender Awareness Week (Nov. 18, 2020)

Mes de Herencia Latinx/ Latinx Heritage Month (September 21, 2020)

Shana Tova! (September 18, 2020)


DEI Division Coordinators

Lauren Caldwell

Lauren Caldwell

Elementary Division

Liora Valero

Liora Valero

Intermediate Division

Amanda Palmer

Amanda Palmer

Junior High Division

Jewell Watson-Hellkamp

Jewell Watson-Hellkamp

High School Division

Letter from Head of School Katherine Schantz (June 4, 2020)

We consider our diversity work of utmost importance at our school and in our world. At Lab, we are actively listening, talking, and working with more intention around our commitment to the span of issues that fall under the umbrella of diversity.

“We are in the right space to affect our students’ lives, and I don’t mean simply making them read black poetry or focus on topics we think are relevant. Having an open mind and being able to listen to and understand different people from different walks of life is probably the greatest gifts we can give our students.”
—    Chidiki Jones-Whitley, Assistant Teacher - Performing Arts

We invite you to review our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategic Plan:

View DEI Strategic Plan

View our student and faculty Diversity Roundtable, videotaped following the National Association of Independent School’s People of Color and Student Diversity Leadership Conferences in 2017:

“The Student Diversity Leadership Conference was both eye opening and intense. So many differences welcomed, connections made, and lessons learned when it comes to diversity and inclusion. I made so many friends and really got time to explore my Identity overall. I never felt so alive in my life! Truly, at this conference, I was able to find myself! I now understand the importance of self-advocacy, I'm now not afraid to speak up on what I believe in. I can't even begin to explain how beneficial this conference was to me. I was extremely happy to be around others that can understand and relate to me, and I have now opened up more with a few of my peers!”
—    Lab School Junior

We recognize that being a student with a learning difference, a parent of a child with a learning difference, or an educator of a student with a learning difference is but one aspect of the identity our community members bring to Lab. Our work in diversity, equity, and inclusion grows from that starting point, and is supported by our faculty, staff, administrators, students, and parents.

Some of our initiatives include:

  • Work with Dr. Derrick Gay, a nationally-recognized diversity consultant to help us develop better cultural competencies and lead us in generating strategic goals for diversity and inclusivity.

  • Attend national and local faculty and student conferences, focused on diversity, equity, and inclusivity.

  • Recruit new faculty and staff at diversity hiring fairs.

  • Hold faculty book clubs, which feature many books on diversity and inclusivity.

  • Host parent meetings to discuss topics around diversity and inclusivity.

  • Invite speakers to talk on topics of diversity, equity, and inclusivity.

  • Establish several diversity-related clubs in High and Junior High School.

  • Integrate themes of identity and stereotypes in 9th grade English and Social Studies curricula.

  • Expand library to include more titles that represent different cultures and family compositions.

Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion:

  • Dr. Anthony Perry

Division Diversity Coordinators:

  • Jewell Watson-Hellkamp – High School

  • Amanda Palmer – Junior High

  • Liora Valero – Intermediate

  • Lauren Caldwell – Elementary

DEI Steering Committee Members:

  • Robert Lane, Director of Admissions

  • Nancy Rowland, Associate Director of Admissions

  • Sonya Hoffmann, Parent

  • Leslie Clark, Parent

  • Kim Wargo, Head of School

Black Lives Matters_Link Mag
Lab logo with shining sun

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

"This is a moral moment in our history. We must own the truth that black and brown people are not safe in our country and they are denied the opportunities promised to all Americans. The recent egregious deaths of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd lay bare once again the reasons why. Our society built on white privilege has intentionally denied people of color pathways to education, prosperity, and safety, ignoring their enormous contributions to our country,” wrote Head of School Katherine Schantz in recent communications to The Lab School community.

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For more information, please contact:

Headshot of Anthony Perry

Anthony Perry

  • Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion