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IDEA Advisory Council focuses on key issues, propels LSMSA participation in MLK Day celebration

Since forming last summer, LSMSA’s IDEA Advisory Council has been hard at work organizing and prioritizing the many issues to address, and is focusing on three main initiatives to discuss with the school board this spring: anti-Black racism; LGBTQ+; and policy review.
“We know how important it is to be careful and methodical when addressing issues this huge and this impactful,” said Dr. Jason Anderson, Lecturer of Biology, faculty representative on the LSMSA Board of Directors, and IDEA Advisory Council Chair [He, Him, His]. “A big part of this process is training ourselves to have some of the hard conversations around diversity.”

Recently, the pandemic presented an opportunity to shift the way LSMSA honors Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., when the Council facilitated LSMSA’s involvement in the City of Natchitoches’ virtual celebration.

“It was amazing to see a unified effort to honor Dr. King’s work this year. From the virtual celebration with the city to the community march, we saw LSMSA students, community partners, regular people, and NSU athletes all coming together,” said Jennifer Mangum, LSMSA Senior Lecturer of Mathematics and IDEA Advisory Council Vice Chair [She, Her, Hers]. “The city was excited to have LSMSA as the only high school to participate, and we’re already envisioning how to make this bigger next year.”

Anderson and Mangum work with the IDEA Council, which consists of Dr. Emily Brumfield ('03) [She, Her, Hers]; Joseph E. "Jed" Cain [He, Him, His]; Sheila Kidd [She, Her, Hers]; Ashley R. Martin ('06) [She, Her, Hers]; Dr. Cashman Kerr Prince ('88) [He, Him, His] - ex officio; Alex C. Robertson ('14) [He, Him, His]; Sue Rosenthal ('85) [She, Her, Hers]; Jenny Schmitt [She, Her, Hers]; Scott Theriot [He, Him, His]; Maria Town ('05) [She, Her, Hers]; and Sebastian Weinell ('14) [He, Him, His]. 

“To make LSMSA the best experience possible for everyone involved, we owe it to students, faculty and staff to make sure the school is representative of the state," said Anderson. "If we do this right and take our time, what’s starting as a council will in 3 to 5 years become a proper Office of Diversity and Inclusion to focus on equity and excellence.”

Click here to learn more about the IDEA Council. With questions, please contact [email protected].