School welcomes new Director of Diversity and Inclusion


Friends Seminary Communications

Kristi Peters is a social justice teacher, former division head, author, and consultant. She will replace outgoing Director of Diversity and Inclusion Jason Craige Harris at the start of the 2021-2022 school year.

Andy Judlowe, Staff Writer

Kirsti Peters, a social justice teacher, former division head, author, and consultant, was announced as the new Director of Diversity, beginning at the start of the 2021-2022 school year, in an all-school email in early May. 

Peters will replace Jason Craige Harris, who has taken a position at Perception Institute, a consortium of researchers, advocates, and strategists that work to reduce bias and discrimination in education, healthcare, media, workplace, and law enforcement. Bo Lauder wrote about Harris’ impact in an email to the school. “We are better as an institution and community for his work to further diversity and inclusion at Friends,” Lauder said. 

Peters previously worked at Richmond College Prep School, a K-6 school outside San Francisco, where she served as principal of the Middle School while advancing the school’s diversity and inclusion programs. She moved to New York City in 2019 and found the Director of Diversity and Inclusion position from a friend.

Peters said she was subsequently impressed by the school’s website and mission, which inspired her to apply. “I looked at your website and I really fell in love with the work you’ve already done with diversity and inclusion,” she said. “I started to do a lot of research about what the school was about, and I knew I had to apply.”

The search committee for the Director of Diversity and Inclusion position included representatives from the Lower, Middle, and Upper schools, and the Communications and Admissions Departments. The committee was led by Leitzel Schoen, the Dean of Co-Curricular Programs. According to Upper School History teacher Stephon Richardson, a member of the committee, they were looking for “a candidate who could coach and support people in various groups, whether it’s affinity groups or larger groups.”

The committee initially identified twelve candidates, six of whom met with the search committee.  To narrow down the candidates, Richardson said they “paid a lot of attention to how this person would connect with various communities.” He included that because “it’s a K-12 school, you need to be able to connect with students at various age levels.” Having worked with students of various ages, Peters met these criteria, and the committee was impressed by her experience.

Peters said that she hopes to bring new ideas to the school, but that she is also “very aware of the existing community that Friends has and the fact that you’ve been doing this work as well.” She included that in her experience as an educator she has learned the value of building relationships within communities, which she hopes to continue doing at Friends. 

“Creating strong personal relationships is really important when doing this work, and I look forward to doing that at Friends,” she said. “I’m just looking forward to learning from you all and collaborating and getting to know everybody.”