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Leaders at Edmund Burke School on fostering an inclusive community for all

Leaders at Edmund Burke School on fostering an inclusive community for all

Melissa talks with Edmund Burke School’s Steve McManus, Head of School, and Sharielle Applewhite, Burke’s Director of Equity, Inclusion, and Civic Engagement about creating a community where every student, teacher, and employee can be their full selves every day.

Melissa: Welcome to the cultur(ED) Podcast. I’m Melissa Jezior, your host. On this podcast, I have conversations with culture makers in the world today to unpack the visible and not so visible forces that make up this often overlooked superpower of organizations. In season four of cultur(ED), we’ll be exploring an area that organizational leaders are paying close attention to, creating more inclusive spaces. We know that diversity, equity, and inclusion are high priority issues for companies today.

We’re seeing leaders investing in DE&I knowing that it is their responsibility to create meaningful change in spite of the history, often marginalizing underrepresented groups within the workplace.

But to be successful, it takes more than a public statement supporting DE&I or hiring DE&I staff.

It means a real commitment to creating an inclusive culture and inclusive spaces where employees feel value, accepted and willing to bring their whole self to their job.

Today, we’re delighted to have two guests with us from the Edmund Burke School in Washington, D.C. Steve McManus, Burke’s Head of School and Sharielle Applewhite, Burke’s Director of Equity Inclusion and Civic Engagement.

Burke was founded in 1968 on principles of diversity, equity and inclusion before DE&I was even in our lexicon. Located in D.C., as I said, the school offers a middle and high school education.

It’s known as a close-knit community with 315 students and 60 faculty to ensure each student and family is known and engaged. The school is known for being a really progressive organization and I thought it would be a great place for us to dig into and learn more and see what we can take away to apply to our own organization. So welcome Steve, welcome Sharielle. I’m so glad to have you with us today!

Steve: Thanks, Melissa. Thanks for having us.

Sharielle: Thank you for having us.

Melissa: Wonderful. Well, let’s maybe start at the beginning. Tell me how you both came to Burke and what drew you to the school?

Steve: Yes, I can jump in there.

So, I’ve been in schools really, my entire professional life. I came out of college thinking I wanted to be a sort of diplomat and work in the State Department and work overseas. And then, when I came home from the Peace Corps, my path diverged, and I got into teaching. I was teaching in a program in Baltimore City Public Schools and working in a Title One School where I just found myself kind of come alive. That’s where I knew I wanted to sort of be a teacher and really, where I learned to be a teacher in the public-school setting. I was never in independent schools as a kid growing up; and taught in public schools.

And then my journey took a few other twists and turns. I was a middle school teacher for a long time. And then was a middle school administrator; the first Dean of students, then middle school principal, then moved to a high school. I was a Director of an Upper School of a Quaker School in Baltimore and had been living in Baltimore, really, since I came home from the Peace Corps for the last 27 years.

I’ve always felt that schools really were the great promise for building a more beautiful, more equitable, more just future and I was animated by that work. I wasn’t necessarily looking to move from my previous school. But the search consultants that were doing the search invited me to take a look at Edmund Burke and as I’ve said to folks before, they had me at the website.

It just, captured everything I believed about education. What potential, what we aspire to do in schools, from its beginnings, committed to social justice and building an inclusive world and inclusive community. It was middle and high school, which those two kind of bookends were part of my career.

It was just a great opportunity to explore. And the deeper I got into it and learned more, the more excited I became about the opportunity. I’ve been here eight months and it is living up to and exceeding everything it would be. It’s a fantastic school, with fantastic people, and I love being here.

Melissa: How about you, Sharielle? What drew you to Burke?

Sharielle: So, I always tell people, I may be newer to Burke, but I am not new to equity and inclusion. I’m not new to it, I’m true to it. So, for me, I’ve been at Burke for two school years now.

I got interested in equity and inclusion because I know for me, when I was younger, especially being the daughter of an immigrant from Trinidad and Tobago, I was very much interested in international human rights.

I went on different human rights trips, especially in college, where I attended the University of Connecticut. However, I noticed that I was often one of the only black people in the human rights spaces. And then when I went to places like Rwanda, Guatemala, I had very isolating experiences, where a lot of the people that I was going to do humanitarian work with, they had a lot of compassion for those in other countries, but they themselves could reflect on the way they, you know, advanced or the ways in which they lived out inequity in their interactions. And so, I was always interested in how do you train people, or how do you work with people to understand the context of where they come from? What does oppression look like in this country before they go out and do any kind of work?

Being inspired in Rwanda by the high female participation in government, I decided to then pursue community organizing at Hunter College, School of Social Work in New York. While I was there, I was an organizer for the Undoing Racism Internship project where we would work with nine out of eleven schools of social work in New York. And ask them, “how are we making sure that social workers are trained in graduate school, to recognize things like power, race, oppression and privilege?” Because we all think we’re great, because we’re in social work school to help people. But how are we making sure that we’re also not replicating the very systems that we’re trying to undo? So we would lobby for better curriculum to address these situations.

We would go to internships, talk to them about how they practice anti-racist and anti-oppressive work. And then after that, I worked for an amazing organization called Summer Search, which is a youth mentoring organization in New York prior to coming to Burke. And I had the opportunity to mentor professionally, over 50 students, all black or brown students from all the boroughs minus Staten Island. No, hate to Staten Island, but mainly Bronx and Brooklyn, were my territory and it was just so amazing to see young, people grapple with talking about identity. It made me want to work in school, because it’s great working with adults, I love that to this day. But it’s great to get people while they’re younger, while they’re able to kind of grapple with these issues a lot differently. I was told about independent schools and so that’s how I got here because of the freedom to be able to have these conversations.

Melissa: Wonderful. Can you describe for us the culture at Burke?

Steve: Yeah, so I’m happy to take a stab at this. Melissa, you sort of touched on at the opening a little bit about sort of the origin story and the founding vision of Burke in 1968. Our founders, Richard Roth and Jean Mooskin, were educators here in D.C. working at a small independent school. And, sort of had a dream that a different kind of school was what that moment needed. In 1968, the great upheaval socially, culturally, and politically of their times, they believed that a school with an approach that was democratic, egalitarian and participatory would create the conditions and the nutrients, if you will for students to learn more deeply, develop critical thinking curiosity, and give students the ability to develop the tools, to bring about some of the change that they saw, and many saw needed for that time.

Schools were a very traditional looking industry at that time, and they believed a progressive education, as others could provide an alternative pathway to the future. I think the reason why Burke has sustained itself as a viable and dynamic and vibrant community for those 50 plus years, is those external forces still exist in our world and our society. And the gathering storm clouds of inequity and racism and social injustice still demand solutions; and graduates who are ready to, I love the word that Sharielle used, to grapple with.

And that’s really what is at the heart of the Burke’s culture. We want and invite students to grapple with those issues, with their own identity. But then also it’ll be in community with those who are different from themselves. And that’s very much the mission and purpose of the school that has sustained itself; it’s attracted people that want to work in a sort of environment like that. And I think the teachers, faculty, and adults have been kind of the standard bearers of Dick and Jean’s vision from 1968. And it’s very much alive and living even today in 2023.

Melissa: Tell me more about what a progressive education means. How does that look different from a typical school?

Steve: Yeah, I mean, progressive means a lot of things to a lot of people. The way we choose to define it is, Burke is an urban campus rooted here in D.C. We imagine and use our urban location as a laboratory for learning. We want our students doing hands-on work, experimentation, getting out in the community, getting on the metro using sort of what D.C. has to offer as a classroom. We also put students at the center of really everything we do from curriculum design to student programming, to athletics, to the arts. In many ways, Burke is sort of a Democracy, right? They’re citizens of their school and we very much entrust them and expect them to be active citizens.

What do they like about school? What new things do they want to bring? What new clubs do they want to see offered? What are their complaints? What are the things they want to see changed? That’s very much welcomed and cultivated at Burke and I think really at the heart of a progressive school that puts the students choice and voice at the center.

Melissa: There is a quote on the Burke website, “You don’t have to leave any part of yourself on the sidewalk when you enter Burke.”

We often say this to employees that we want them to bring their whole selves to work or are welcome to bring their whole selves to work. What does commitment to inclusivity look like at Burke that really enables, and allows people to show up, without leaving a part of themselves on the sidewalk? And what does that actually look like from a school perspective, when you don’t leave part of yourself on the sidewalk?

Sharielle: So, I’ll answer the questions in reverse. I think not leaving yourself at the door, or what that looks like, is being able to show up into space, and be authentically who you are. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t any restraints on what you say, right? Like, you shouldn’t be like offending people, but when I say that being able to come and use the expressions that are part of your culture. Dress the way that is a part of your culture. And not having to, for example, code switch, which is going in and out of how you would express yourself culturally, versus how generally the standard in the United States is, how white Americans express themselves. So once you build a culture, where students know, people know, that they can show up and use those expressions, that is kind of how you are able to have people feel comfortable.

I will say though, that at Burke, we don’t really have much of a dress code. Students can walk in as they are. They can use lingo (not any expletives) as they want to; however, even though we’re saying that, I do want to note, I think it’s important to know that innately, especially when I think of like people of color, I know folks who are part of the LGBTQIA community also go through this. That sometimes, you feel uncomfortable fully expressing yourself because you don’t want your intelligence to be questioned when, all of a sudden, you are speaking in a way where everyone’s like, “oh, we’ve never heard that term before.” What we’re seeing on social media, for example, like Tik Tok, a lot of AAVE, African American vernacular, it’s co-opted, it’s marketed people so non-black people make money off of it. But when you are in educational spaces or workplaces, unfortunately, when people use that same language that’s marketed, they’re often not deemed as being as intelligent or as professional, so I think letting people feel like they can’t leave any part of themselves, in order to re-affirm our commitment around that, is to make sure, for example, teachers are mindful of how they may tone police other people. What are some of the curriculum? How is the curriculum tailored to make sure that all cultures are represented?

And so, you have to be very intentional about, what are the things in the school community and the policies that are in place so people feel like they don’t have to leave any part of themselves at the door, that they feel comfortable. And then also, from the administrative level, it’s making sure people are receiving the training and the support to know how to build inclusive spaces, so that we can continue to live our mission.

Melissa: Steve, anything to add?

Steve: Yeah, no, no I think Sharielle summed it up perfectly. I think, you know, we want adults, the teachers, and employees to feel that same spirit as well, that they can bring themselves here as a workplace, just as the students are invited to bring their full selves to school.

Melissa: I want to dive in a little bit more on this concept of being invited versus kind of the expectation, like talking about Burke yesterday, and I feel like a lot of organizations really try to invite people to show their whole selves, but they don’t quite figure out how to do it so people actually show up as their whole selves. What is your secret sauce in getting people, not just inviting people to show up as their whole selves, but there’s almost an expectation and a really positive way I feel like for people to show up as themselves.

What’s the secret sauce for making that from up, on a piece of paper, to actually happen in real life?

Steve: Yeah, yeah, that’s a great question. I mean, I’ll offer maybe a surface answer and then Sharielle can expand on it, but I think the culture at Burke is one of co- creation, right?

We’re not setting a culture and then having people comply or conform to it.

Every year, we create a community. Our colleagues in the Admissions team do a fantastic job of sculpting and shaping a community each year at Burke. And then sort of you let that community bring itself together. And, when you bring new people to work here, like, we’re asking them and expecting them to bring their unique talents and gifts. And ways of being to help create the culture that exists at Burke. And I think that’s always been there, but it’s one that we’ve got to actively and consciously work to co-create because as Sharielle said, sometimes the structures of white supremacy and white supremacy culture tend to kind of be the operating system in many schools, and Burke is no exception.

Constantly shining a light on those and working to uncover those implicit cultural things and uproot them. I think it’s something we work really hard at all the time every year and every year is a new project. We kind of bring this community to life with new people every year.

Sharielle: I also want to add, especially being an administrator of color, being both a black and dark skinned woman which is important to point out, is that it’s important for me I believe, to also demonstrate that I am also showing up as my full self. Because I think once you’re able to model that, other people will then feel comfortable.

I think there’s also this culture sometimes, like, if we’re talking about white supremacy culture, part of that is also perfectionism, as well as kind of not being as direct. And so, I remember having a meeting with some people that work with me and I’m asking for their feedback…I thankfully have built trust with them, so they know that I’m very honest, and then so they started being honest with their feedback, and one of them apologized and said, “Sorry, I hope I’m not coming off as awful.” But it’s all about demonstrating to people like, “No, I need you to be honest because one honesty is an act of love but also, if we’re going to do true equity, inclusion work, that honesty needs to be there.”

So, I would try to help shape or kind of change the culture so that people know that you can be upfront with how you are. If they see you demonstrating it as a leader. You can speak the way you need to speak because they see you demonstrating it as a leader. And I also want to be clear that while I may be the director of equity and inclusion, I myself also grapple with how much I want to fully show up as a black woman, because innately, I’m going to think about those things. So, I’m also trying to consciously do that work for myself as well.

Melissa: That makes a lot of sense. So, what does that mean then? How do you both model this? I love that concept of modeling. I think that is really powerful and I think that is huge indicator of a great culture is when leaders do model the behavior that they’re looking for. How do you model the behavior that you’re seeking to reinforce this culture of inclusivity?

Steve: Yeah, I mean, one of the things that’ve kind of always just done is and just understood about leadership in schools is, the starting place is humility.. Asking questions, being curious, and not having all the answers and having it all figured out. I think people who work in schools, like we love to learn and adopting that sort of curiosity mindset.

I think it’s really powerful for kids because they see the adults grappling with some of the same hard conversations around identity, that they are in some ways they maybe have that muscle a little bit more exercised than some of us adults because they come to it a little bit more naturally. They are naturally more inquisitive and I think it’s just part of their reality in ways that, I’ll speak for myself as a white male growing up in a middle-class environment, I was sheltered from a lot of those kind of hard conversations about white identity, whiteness, and what that meant and what privileges that afforded me.

And I think we are at Burke committed to know that as a key part of a Burke education as well and it’s right there at the heart of the academic core – we want every student to sort of leave us with a deep understanding of themselves and a deep appreciation for and fluency in navigating diverse spaces because we know that’s the world they’re moving out into and that’s going to provide us with the greatest hope for the future that they can navigate those successfully and compassionately.

Sharielle: Just one more example too, another important thing about modeling is to also model when you’ve done wrong. So for me, that looks like modeling a microaggression that I may have committed and explaining my thought process around it. Here’s why I said it. Here’s how I felt when I said it. And, here’s what I learned from it. I think that’s especially important as a person of color because a lot of times, when we talk about equity, it’s only framing it in like a black/white binary around race, when I also live at intersections of privilege, or I’m being educated, being cisgender, being straight. So, also modeling that I too make these mistakes, and here is how I’m working on them and knowing that I’ll probably make a mistake again because this is continuous work and there’s no destination.

Melissa: That’s really powerful. I do love both of your examples around humility both really resonate with me, and I do think that there’s an aspect of any leadership role being vulnerable, but I think humility does wonderful things in terms of building great culture, so those are great examples. Thank you for sharing them.

Your equity inclusion team has many programs and practices in place to create an inclusive learning environment, so I’m curious: which are the most popular with your students and parents, and can you tell us about any new programs you might have on the horizon?

Sharielle: I think what is the most popular at work is definitely the affinity groups. And this is also an example of how you show commitment to equity and inclusion. At Burke, we actually have designated times every Wednesday for affinity groups, and we provide space for it. People proctor it, so this is where we have about 14 or 15 affinity groups ranging from like Black Student Union, Jewish Affinity Group, the Rainbow Umbrella, which is for LGBTQIA+ students, and Faith in Focus. Students are able to go there and to talk about their experiences, and learn more through activism work, if they so choose to.

It’s really a space just to be, there doesn’t need to be an objective as well. Because, you know, a lot of our students, especially if they are standing at the margin, right? For example, this is a predominantly white institution. They just need sometimes a place where they can feel comfortable being with people who look like them, who have similar experiences, who can also grapple with issues and disagreements within the group. That is a really popular program.

I know for me, moving forward, once we add more capacity of more people in this office, just being able to then have cross cultural conversations; however, prior to doing that, you know, you have to train people on how to facilitate those conversations. So, for now, we do a lot of affinity work, and that is very popular.

Melissa: In Corporate America, the affinity groups are often called Resource Groups. I know a lot of organizations either have them implemented or thinking about implementing them. What advice would you give given the success Burke has had with the affinity groups to companies who are either have them implemented and are looking to improve their program or thinking about implementing them?

Sharielle: I would say if it is at a corporation, one thing that’s important is that who is a part of affinity groups? And when I say that a lot of times affinity groups, rightfully so, are a place for people who may be at the margins or who may be underrepresented in a certain context to join together.

But at the same time, are people who are part of the dominant group also meeting to have conversations on how they can make their workplace more equitable?

A lot of times, equity inclusion is seen as only impacting or only being the work of those impacted, rather than those who stand at different places around privilege. I think as an organization, for example, we have a white affinity group, but that affinity group is actually mainly an anti-racist group. They’re not gathering for the same reasons we have our Asian students gather, right?

And so, I think for corporations, everyone being involved at some level. Because I think there is sometimes some reluctance for people of color to join these groups because for some people, they may not want to be seen as different. And if you show a commitment through every single level and through every identity, I think it therefore makes it easier to have affinity groups. And people need to be also trained in how to run those in a non-performative ways.

Because a lot of times, affinity groups can be performative. If people are having issues, let’s say, in the women’s affinity group and then they talk about it, they have space to talk about their issues, but then nothing is done about those issues – that’s another way that corporations need to be accountable. You have to do more than just having the space, but how do you act on the concerns that arise from those spaces?

Steve: Can I add something to that, Melissa?

Again, I’m really sort of hesitant about giving advice to corporate America about how to do this, but I think one thing that we’ve done at Burke is kind of normalized inclusion, right? We want this to be just part of our program and that really is in the affinity spaces. It’s embedded into our schedule, right? It’s done in a way that it’s not sort of tacked on or added to the DNA. Make it so that students can be in multiple affinity spaces, right? To the intersectional nature of their identities. But I think the other thing that’s important to remember is to kind of play the long game, like commit to it and then that trust and the safety of that space, it takes a while to kind of create that and build that and to not give up too easily, “oh, this isn’t working, or, you know, people aren’t coming…”

I’ll give you an example. One of our groups is Boys Leading Boys, it’s a group that I help co-facilitate, and its where male students and some adults talk about toxic masculinity. What does it mean to be a man, how does their identities show up in their family, in their relationships, and in the media?

We’ve been meeting as a group since the start of the year, and we have gotten to a much deeper, more vulnerable place, but it took some time to get there. Because we have this structure where we meet every other week in this, container, so to speak, of safety of emotional safety and vulnerability, we’ve actually added boys. Boys have started to test it out like, “Hey this is a group that I find valuable.” And usually, after coming a couple of times, then they sign on for the group. So our group has gotten bigger over time. And I think that’s important to remember for these resource groups to not give up on them too quickly.

Melissa: Let’s talk about parents for a second. That is another set of stakeholders, I’m sure, in your school environment. How do they interact with your equity inclusion programs at work?

Sharielle: Our parents are able to interact with some of the different programs that we have, I will say, that is an area that we want to continue to improve. So when I first came, we had SEED, Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity, program at Burke and so parents would come together once a month. We discuss issues around equity and inclusion. Unfortunately, it was hard to maintain what we hope that’s something that we can bring back. We also want to have more events for our parents to be involved.

Because what we heard from parents is sometimes my kids are talking about things, but I don’t know the language they’re using, or the topics. Because we are all socialized in different ways and the lives we lead are different than the lives the kids will lead, et cetera.

And then another way that we’re working with parent engagement is, I will say it has been the black mothers in this school who have come to me and said, “We would like affinity groups for ourselves,” right? Because they have kids attending the school, who have certain unique perspectives. And so, I had one mother who was like, “I would like a group for only Black parents, for us to just talk about what we’re experiencing,” because they, too, want that safety of being with other people. And, once again, I want to be clear that just because you’re an affinity group, doesn’t mean it’s a monolith; doesn’t mean everyone agrees on the same things; with being able to have a space to, then actually talk about those disagreements or the challenges that you may be experiencing. So, forming those parent events. We’ve had one event for black parents, and we hope to continue doing that, as well.

Melissa: So tell us how Burke has had to adapt to meet the changing needs of students? I’m thinking about pre and post COVID, pre/post George Floyd, pre/post Roe vs. Wade, LGBTQ laws, I’m curious how you’ve had to adapt as the world keeps changing?

Steve: Yeah, it’s something that all schools are grappling with and attuned to, not just because of the COVID realities, like we all went into this isolation period and students in those, you know, upper elementary and middle school years were missing those really key acculturative moments and rituals of going to school, not to mention the learning loss.

I think those are definitely things that we’re seeing showing up that are not going to be repaired or remediated kind of overnight. Some of the things that were kind of surprising to us is just how to be in class together. Students, you learn a lot of those behaviors, and are taught those behaviors in you practice those behaviors, but when you miss out on key years of doing that, and you’re learning through Zoom, that’s a different way of engaging in learning and engaging with classmates. So, we’ve had to try to be a little bit more explicit in reteaching some of those skills.

The other thing that I think has been part of our work is just a rapid acceleration of information and kids access to social media, and how they’re getting news, seeing news, how they’re responding to and interacting with each other about the news. Things just happen at a lightning quick pace. We made the decision at the start of this school year in our middle school, we have an one-to-one environment with iPads that the school issues to the students, and we made the decision, we’re going to keep the iPads here at school. We want to do what we can to slow down the ease of that access to social media and all the things with being on screens all the time.

And there was a little bit of resistance at first, but, you know, as we’ve seen the year unfold, I think parents have appreciated that. Again, it’s not the panacea, we’re not going to eliminate screen time, but just being a little bit more thoughtful in our creating experiences here at school where they’re more interactive, face-to-face across the table than across the computer screen.

Sharielle: And to address when you talked about George Floyd, I mean, George Floyd that happened 2.5 years ago. And since then, we’ve had like a flurry of things that have happened both outside our community and within our community, right? And when I say that, specifically talking about the incident that happened at our school last year, and even though it’s not the same, I think they’re both the same in thinking about the trauma people are exposed to and then therefore have to experience.

So, especially for those events, like the attacks on Asian people, legislation against folks who are part of the LGBTQIA+ community, making sure that we’re also communicating out to our community, that we know these things are happening – here are resources. If you need to, telling people, please stay offline if it’s possible. Because we are very aware that, especially violence towards groups does then prompt trauma responses. And I think it’s also very liberating for people, and I’m saying this as a black person, it’s very liberating to know that, I too am actually having a response to this thing, because we have been socialized that life is hard, you keep going; you know, you’re resilient. We’ve been through so much. But then to remind the community that sometimes we need to take a break.

And that can look like maybe not being on the phone, going outside. I’m also thinking about last year when we had an incident at our school where we were unfortunately having to grapple with violence that came towards us. Just taking time off, as well, and thinking about, how can we work, how we show up, or how we don’t show up in order to take care of ourselves so that we can continue to move on.

Melissa: Great, thank you. So, this is a question we ask all of our guests: what is the first word that comes to mind when you think of culture?

Steve: I always think of a tree, right and there’s, some literature on this. I saw it in one of Zaretta Hammond’s books on culturally responsive teaching in the brain that there are things that are visible and explicit about culture. Then there’s things that are sort of just there at the surface, maybe at the shallow level and then there’s the deep, sometimes implicit or invisible elements of culture. And all those pieces need nourishment and water and feeding and care and sometimes pruning.

When I think of culture, I think about it as this sort of living organism that is, not always visible to us at first glance, but as we dig deeper, we kind of uncover it for ourselves and strengthen it and nourish it. Whether that’s culture of an organization, culture of a school, or culture of a community…all those pieces, the healthy parts need care and feeding just as much as the ones that maybe are unhealthy.

Sharielle: When I think of culture, technically the terms I think about are sometimes the antithesis of, but I think of like the sense of like belonging, like the sense of comfort. Because when I think of my culture, I never feel more myself unless I’m with like other black woman and other Caribbean people, other black people of the diaspora, and the sense of being home and being OK. But I do understand that we also have to be intentional about the cultures we create, right? Like, the culture I’m talking about is the one I’m innately apart of, but what about the areas or the pieces I choose to be – like, I choose to be at Burke, right?

And, so, therefore, what does that culture look like? We play a role in shaping that culture. Do people feel like they belong in this culture? So that’s why we have to be mindful of what are the policies and practices that we implement so that people do feel that sense of belonging, and a sense of connection.

Melissa: Alright, so, if you could have a superpower, what would it be?

Steve: Folks have probably been, you know as we have been, reading a lot about Chat GPT and if I could sort of digest books at that rate, knowledge at the rate of an artificial intelligence bot. That would be awesome, right? You could just sort of absorb that information. I have a reading list on my nightstand at home that just grows and grows and I don’t seem to make a dent in it, so I’d love to be able to ingest that sort of information deeply in nanoseconds like a robot could.

Sharielle: I would want to fix everything, like to be a fixer. Be like a non-problematic Olivia Pope, where I just go in and a situation is handled. If I had a superpower like this idea of helping people understand each other but then coming up with, like we may not always agree but like, how do we move forward.

Melissa: Wonderful, well, thank you both so much for your insights. I really enjoy talking and learning from you both, and the best of luck as you continue to lead Burke and its students.

Steve: Thanks Melissa. Really enjoyed it.