The White Mountain School is pleased to announce the hiring of Bria Cherelle Barnes, effective July 1, 2021. Bria will serve as the School's first assistant head of school for community, equity, and belonging, a new and visionary senior administrative position that will lead student and residential life and ensure that equity, justice, and belonging (EJB) principles and work are at the heart of the White Mountain student experience. In alignment with the School's mission, the assistant head will plan and execute new and existing organization-wide EJB initiatives, professional development sessions, policies, and systems across campus in support of all students.
This new role combines elements from and succeeds two former positions at the School: assistant head of school for student affairs and director of diversity and inclusion. "The challenges of the past year put into relief how schools need to help students grow in healthy ways. This new position allows for a strategic focus on the social-emotional learning (SEL) skills that students will need to be successful in the future, and places EJB at the center of SEL," explains Head of School John Drew. "Bria's engagement with students, families, faculty, staff, and members of the Board of Trustees during the interview process demonstrated her skills both in connecting with individuals and thinking strategically. I look forward to working with her to meaningfully increase access to our mission and to grow a sense of belonging for all students."
An experienced community-builder, EJB practitioner, and educator, Bria comes to White Mountain from The Pingry School in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, where she has served in numerous capacities for half a decade; most recently as assistant director of diversity, equity, and inclusion for the Middle School. She also previously led multicultural efforts for Pingry's employees and has taught English since her start at the school.
"As the summer approaches, I am excited to join The White Mountain School community, eager to connect with the students and colleagues, and energized by the School's commitment to EJB work," says Bria. "It is my hope that we will find opportunities for collaboration, growth, and celebration as an entire school community focused on improving the overall student experience."
Prior to her career at Pingry, Bria worked within the K-12 public and higher education sectors at organizations such as the Plainfield Public School District, the Union County 4-H Summer Science Program of Rutgers Cooperative Extension, and the Plainfield Grassroots Community Development Corporation. She holds an M.Ed. with a concentration in education, culture, and society from Rutgers University and a bachelor's in early childhood and elementary education from William Paterson University. In her spare time, Bria enjoys gardening in the sun, traveling to new places, cooking for family and friends, as well as dabbling in interior design.
Founded in 1886 and set in the beautiful White Mountains of northern New Hampshire, The White Mountain School is a gender-inclusive, college-preparatory boarding and day school for 140 students grades 9-12/PG. Our mission is to be a school of inquiry and engagement. Grounded in an Episcopal heritage, White Mountain prepares and inspires students to lead lives of curiosity, courage, and compassion.