A Pre-Kindergarten - Grade 12 co-educational independent day school in Westchester County, New York

Rye Country Day School Names Carrie Burke Next Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Rye Country Day School is excited to announce Carrie Burke as the next Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Ms. Burke, who is currently DEI Director at Buffalo Seminary, will begin her tenure at RCDS in July. 

Ms. Burke brings to RCDS a wealth of experience in teaching, school leadership, international study, and service. At Buffalo Seminary (SEM), an independent day and boarding high school for girls, Ms. Burke is responsible for all aspects of the school’s comprehensive DEI program. In her words, her position’s guiding charge is “to protect safe and creative spaces for staff and faculty to step out of their comfort zones and hold a mirror up to their own biases with the hope of being better leaders for our students.” 

In addition to her daily work with students, which has included establishing an active student DEI Team that hosts regular seminars and discussions, Ms. Burke serves as a resource for underrepresented families and is a key partner in SEM’s admissions and financial aid processes. Civil Discourse programming is a special focus for Ms. Burke, and she is the proud founder of a formal training program for students and adults on difficult conversations and productive dialogue across difference. Notably, she has successfully ensured that all members of the Buffalo Seminary faculty, staff, and administrators participate in DEI Working Groups, where they engage in texts and discussions revolving around race, class, gender, identity, and privilege. 

Ms. Burke’s work of fostering inclusivity in educational communities draws on her experience teaching in public, charter, and independent schools, as well as developing curriculum, designing instructional coaching, and managing student and parent programs. Prior to SEM, she served as Director of Campus DEI Initiatives at Uncommon Charter High School, a role she took after serving as the Performing Arts & Electives Department Chair and a 9th Grade Academic Dean. She was also an Upper School Theatre Teacher at Hackley School. 

Her exposure to a variety of academic institutions gives Ms. Burke a broad understanding of diversity to ensure that all identities within a school community feel affirmed and supported by the DEI office. Ms. Burke brings a comprehensive background in combating racism, antisemitism, Islamophobia, AAPI hate, ableism, ageism, LGBTQ+ discrimination, sexism, classism, and all other forms of prejudice and hate. Her passion for listening in order to form real connection within schools is palpable and inspiring, and she is especially eager to bring this ethos to Rye Country Day’s efforts around diversity and belonging.

Travel and connecting across cultures has also been integral to Ms. Burke’s training as a DEI practitioner. In 2012, she traveled to San Juan, Puerto Rico, with New York University for an intensive study with Julian Boal titled Theatre of the Oppressed. Prior to that, she spent time in Wales in the United Kingdom participating in the Encompass Trust’s Journey of Understanding, an immersive international program focused on creating peaceful relationships between scholars from around the world.

Keenly aware of the importance of partnership and exchange between peer schools, Ms. Burke is actively engaged in both state and national independent school associations. A regular participant in the NAIS People of Color Conference, Ms. Burke localized her professional development as a co-organizer of the Inaugural NYSAIS Women’s Leadership Summit Buffalo in 2023. She also serves on the planning committee for this year’s NYSAIS Diversity Practitioners Conference in New Paltz, NY. 

Service and active citizenship are integral to Ms. Burke’s DEI practice. In 2018, she presented a workshop on the NYU Educational Theatre Forum titled The Other Side of the Achievement Gap: Addressing the Social, Emotional and Cultural Disparities in Charter Schools through the Performing Arts. In 2009, she led a theatre masterclass through the Rehabilitation Through The Arts: Woyzeck Prison Theatre Workshop in Woodbourne, NY.

Ms. Burke is currently a candidate for a Doctor of Education degree at the University at Buffalo. She also holds an MA in Educational Theatre from NYU and a BFA in Acting from Syracuse University. She is the recipient of a NYSAIS Emerging Leaders Fellowship (2023-2025) and a member of the NYSAIS Diversity Committee. In 2022, she earned a Diversity and Inclusion certificate from Cornell University. In 2015, she received the Innovative Cultural Advocacy Fellowship from the Caribbean Cultural Center For The African Diaspora Institute and advocated for culturally diverse representation in the arts, education, and public policy.

We look forward to having Ms. Burke join the RCDS community in July!

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