About

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB)

Diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging are important concepts we align with at Gould Academy. Sometimes abbreviated as DEI or DEIB, we enter into this work with a sense of purpose and intent, and the understanding that this will be an ongoing pursuit.

Head of School, Tao Smith '90, P'23

DEI is not a goal to be achieved, but a state of being and a lifelong commitment.  We commit to this work on behalf of those who have felt voiceless, powerless, or forgotten. We commit to this work for the betterment of all individuals here at Gould, for our alumni, and for future generations of Gould students. And, we commit to this work out of love, for only through this embrace may we approach understanding and appreciation for each other.
🔗 A list of resources for learning more about DEIB can be found here

This list was compiled by Gould's Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging, Ms. Stephanie W. Montgomery.

List of 25 news stories.

  • Keynote speaker tells her story of surviving the ethnic cleansing of Armenians in Azerbaijan as a child

    Anna Astvatsaturian Turcotte is an author, lecturer, lawyer, and human rights advocate who arrived in the United States as a refugee in 1992. She delivered the keynote address during Gould's Martin Luther King Jr. Day programming this year on Wednesday, January 18, sharing her unimaginable and harrowing story of surviving the ethnic cleansing of Armenians in Azerbaijan as a child.
     
    Anna was both emotional and passionate in her address.
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  • Anna Astvatsaturian Turcotte will be keynote speaker at Gould in honor of MLK Jr. Day.

    “They can’t destroy us because we know who we are.”
    -Anna Astvatsaturian Turcotte

    Mrs. Astvatsaturian Turcotte is an author, lecturer, lawyer, business woman and a human rights advocate.  She is an Armenian refugee from Baku, Azerbaijan. After fleeing Baku, Azerbaijan in the fall of 1989 due to a campaign of ethnic cleansing of Armenians, Mrs. Astvatsaturian Turcotte and her family spent three years in Armenia as refugees before coming to the United States in 1992.
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  • Honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. day with community service

    Students will observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday as a call to action, a day of service focused on making the communities with which we engage more equitable in order to facilitate the "Beloved Community" of Dr. King's dream.
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  • Feature in Bethel Living Magazine: Moving Beyond Status Quo with Gould Academy

    “Bethel Living” magazine interviewed Gould's Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Stephanie Montgomery for its December/January issue. The article “Moving Beyond Status Quo with Gould Academy” represents an example of ongoing efforts and outreach between Gould and the Bethel community.
    Gould's ski and snowboard building class is also featured in the article with contributions from Chris Hayward, P'16, '19. 🔗 Read it here (opens in a new window)
  • Bethel Community Band: Big Wheels Keep on Turning

    The wheels started turning when Head of Performing Arts Jim McLaughlin was approached by Scott Hynek, President of the Mahoosuc Community Band, looking for a new practice space and a new conductor. He found them both at Gould.
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  • Head of School Coffee Chat recording from November 2

    During the Zoom call on November 2nd, Stephanie Montgomery and Maggie Davis joined Tao Smith to talk about Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging at Gould. 
     
    Ms. Montgomery introduced herself and welcomed the group, and then asked Ms. Davis to tell the story of how Gould's DEI Task Force formed three years ago to show the historical context of her role. She explained the successes she has had this year, the work she is doing with our community, and the outreach she does with a lot of individuals and groups.

    Mr. Smith added his thoughts about how transformational the DEI work has been for Gould this year, how much it has improved our community and our school, and how it's not always easy work. He explained the "Golden Rule 2.0", gave examples of some of the professional development training Gould has done for employees, and talked about the next steps for the DEI Task Force. 

    Parents asked other questions about the Planned Parenthood trainings, final exam schedule, campus departure logistics, and registering for AP exams. 

    Lindsay Legare talked about holiday travel plans for students, why we usually have students return to campus on a Monday rather than on the weekend, and what the winter class schedule will look like with athletics in the morning instead of in the afternoon. 

    The recording of November's Head of School Coffee Chat can be found here (Please note that this link will expire on December 4th.) We had an issue with Zoom, people were having trouble getting onto the call, so the recording begins at the point where we had finally settled in and moved on from Tao Smith's welcome message to Stephanie Montgomery's introduction.

    The next call will be on December 7, 2022. 
  • Indigenous Peoples Day

    To acknowledge and recognize Indigenous Peoples Day this year Gould students viewed Stove.Up.Productions film “Fighting Indians” last night along with a question and answer session with director, writer, and producer Mark Cooley.
    On Monday morning, our "History of Indigenous Peoples" class discussed land acknowledgments, myths about Columbus, and more during all-school assembly. Then the entire community enjoyed an Indigenous-themed meal in the dining hall for lunch.
    During the week, lessons were taught related to indigenous peoples in a number of additional classes including Food Justice, Human Geography, US History, etc.  
  • Learning About Microaggressions

    Our work with the Wells Collective allows us to continue to explore ways to interact and collaborate positively and effectively with each other and the students we serve.  

    Dr. Brad Clarke, Assistant Head of School for Teaching and Learning, shared the following resources with staff members in preparation for our training session with the Wells Collective. 

    He encouraged staff members to keep in mind the importance of knowing the definitions of and distinctions between key words such as: racism, bigotry, colorist, bias, discrimination, and prejudice. 
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  • Moving Gould Forward: Professional Development for Systemic Change

    In February 2022, Gould's College Counseling Team attended a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Colloquium provided by ACCIS (Association of College Counselors in Independent Schools). The first day of this colloquium included a session with The Wells Collective. It was through the powerful impact of that experience that The Wells Collective was recommended to Ms. Montgomery, Director of Diversity, Equity and Belonging, and the Senior Administrative Team to further Gould’s professional development around Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging, specifically anti-bias (definition) and anti-racism (definition). 

    The Wells Collective is a group of six Black professional women from the mid-atlantic region who came together with a mutual vision to “radically shift organizations in the direction of justice.” (https://www.thewellscollective.com/about) When I first approached The Wells Collective about working with Gould, we discussed developing a long term plan that would build on relationships, deep personal work, and systemic change. Here is an insight to The Wells Collective and to why Gould is so fortunate to be working with them. 

    The following conversation occured between Maggie Davis (Associate Director of College Counseling) and Akailah Jenkins McIntyre (The Wells Collective).

    Q: Why would six Black Women from the Mid-Atlantic Region of the United States respond to a call from Gould Academy, a predominantly white institution in Western Maine to work with our community, a community you don’t even know or have any connection with?

    Akailah:  Equity and Justice work is a necessity for schools to be safe spaces. The Wells Collective does this work out of love for children and love for society. In many ways, school buildings are places where equity work can be done intentionally. We chose to engage with Gould for the same reason we work with any institution: because we love schools and we love children. We answer the call to advance justice in schools and that work - Equity and Justice work- is for everyone. It is just as necessary for white children and adults (if not more so) than it is for people of color.


    Q: What are the most common obstacles you find in working with predominantly white boarding schools? 

    Akailah: Generally what we see in predominantly white schools is that people believe they personally are not the problem. Educators tend to believe that they are absolved from causing harm because they love children. However, it is possible to love children and to cause them harm. Harm comes from what you do not know and from what you are unwilling to examine. Therefore, people need to come into understanding that harm can and does come from them. When it comes specifically to boarding schools, teachers become pseudo parents, further deepening the disconnect that they could possibly be causing harm. But this work is not neutral. There is no space for “not being part of the problem”. We are either acting against the systems that cause harm or we are perpetuating the harm. Being able to explore the impact we have on people who identify in ways differently than we do is our next level of work. 


    Q: What is the most gratifying feedback that you received? How is this work rewarding for you? 
     
    Akailah: Feedback or comments that make us proud or excited come from people at the end of sessions who are in spaces of deep questioning and reflection demonstrating how new thought processes spur internal growth. We aim to give people the tools, but we are just vessels for the work people have to do for themselves. It is rewarding when we can see the personal stake people are taking in this work.  We like to hear that people are digging in and digging deep as personal growth and action to do things differently. 
     

    Q: When you and I initially spoke, we talked about the importance of developing a relationship with the community and not just doing one-off professional development sessions. Have you found significant results when developing relationships with communities? 

    Akailah: The most transformation happens in communities when relationships are built. The most successful shifts happen when in deep relationships with people - from maintenance, to the Head of School, to the Board, to alumni - everyone has to be invested in the school community and community at large. Building relationships allows people to trust you enough to believe that there is something beneficial for you at the end - there is a reason, a purpose - to this work. It would be easier to say “that is not problematic”. It is easier to say - “that’s not true”. But anyone with privilege has to identify the spaces in which they don’t have to evaluate their impact. We have to be in deep relationship with people so that alternative perspectives can be shared without feeling personally attacked. We  have to be able to get to that place in order for community building, long term capacity, long term impact - can be part of the rhythm. That is what shifts communities 


    Q: What are the hopes/ goals for Gould? 

    Akailah: Our hope for Gould is that people will start asking enough questions to start a domino effect. We want the questions coming from students, teachers, administrators. The more questions, the more domino effect. Schools are a microcosm of society in that anything that is happening at Gould is happening at our surrounding towns. So the more people are questioning, ultimately moves more people to advance Equity and Justice. 
  • Student DEIB discussion led by Lexi Stewart '15

    Students convened last Thursday night for a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) discussion led by Lexi Stewart ’15 in response to a recent GAzette article. The conversation centered around where we are as a community with our DEIB work and where we need to be in the future. While Lexi has been supporting Gould's DEIB efforts and meeting with students via Zoom calls, this was her first trip back to campus and Maine since she graduated seven years ago.
     
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  • Robert Shetterly, “Americans Who Tell the Truth” painter visits Gould

    Robert Shetterly, the painter of the acclaimed and provocative portrait series Americans Who Tell the Truth paid a visit to Gould this week. Robert joined classes to examine the significance of his subjects, and explore his process with art students.
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  • Holding Difficult Conversations About Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging at Gould Academy

    As seen in the Winter 21-22 issue of The GAzette magazine:

    When College Guidance Counselor Maggie Davis undertook the role of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Task Force Coordinator in the spring of 2020, she had already heard certain stories from Gould’s past. But Davis rightly suspected these stories were only the tip of a much larger iceberg.

    May 2020 had become an inflection point. George Floyd’s death and the Black Lives Matter movement were prompting Gould alumni to share long-suppressed sentiments and relate painful, formative experiences. Davis determined that she would embark on a “listening tour,” intended to provide a platform for these stories. From them, the Gould community could learn and begin to understand.

    Read more here
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day at Gould

    Students gathered in advisory groups for Martin Luther King Jr. Day to watch intentionally chosen films including Selma, Moonlight, and One Night in Miami, that celebrate Black excellence, but also invite students to grapple with complex issues. After viewing the films each group engaged in rich discussions about diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, (DEIB) and talked about how the concepts apply to their daily life.
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  • Gould Faculty Members Explore Implicit Bias

    This fall, the foundation was set to begin training the Gould community about various concepts under the DEI umbrella. This week, scheduled training and structured conversations began. All faculty members participated in a thirty minute session about implicit bias on Monday. Instructions were to watch a training video, do guided self-reflection, and then discuss in both small and large groups. The goal was to provide a context within which people could operate, and encourage and demonstrate what DEI looks like from an everyday perspective.  
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  • Resources for Learning More About Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.

    Gould employees had an opportunity to learn more about diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging during staff training this week. These resources were shared and discussed:
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  • Stephanie Montgomery, P’00 Accepts DEB Director Position at Gould

    We are pleased to announce that Stephanie Williams Montgomery, J.D., has accepted the position of Gould’s Director of Diversity, Equity and Belonging, beginning August 22. Ms. Montgomery has long been a part of the Gould family, first as a parent of Juliana Montgomery, Class of 2000, and later serving as a member of our Board of Trustees from 2010-2019.
    Read More
  • Moving Beyond Accountability: A Mountainous Climb Toward Justice

    As the country watched, breathlessly waiting for the jury’s decision on whether or not George Floyd was “murdered” by a police officer, it felt as though the immediate future of our country hung in the balance. A mountain of historical evidence exists to prove that our system of justice and accountability does not work when it comes to abuse of power and police brutality.
    Read More
  • Students gather at the steps of Hanscom Hall for a climate justice walkout on Earth Day

    Students Organize Earth Day Walkout for Climate Justice

    On the steps of Hanscom Hall, on a cold, blustery day with a dusting of April snow on the ground, Eliza Skillings ’21, Ella Raymond ’21, Hannah McMillan ’22, and Natsuka Kusumoto ’23 made an appeal to the Gould community to address the climate crisis.
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  • Standing Against Hate in the Wake of the Atlanta Shootings

    A letter from Head of School Tao Smith ’90, P’23 in response to the Atlanta Shootings.
    Read More
  • MLK Day 2021: How to Implement the Legacy of Dr. King

    An evening of workshops for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Our expert panelists will offer their thoughts and suggestions as we hold Dr. King’s Dream in our hands.
    Read More
  • Feeling Foreign – My Journey to America

    Holden Hall Dorm Parent Megumi Moses shares her personal story of coming to the United States and the sense of isolation that came with not being a native English speaker. Her love of Japanese cooking empowered her to make lasting relationships and carve out her own unique path.
    Read More
  • Bethany M. Allen ’89 facilitates a student-led discussion last year.

    The Path Forward – The DEI Task Force Moves Ahead

    In the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests, faculty member Maggie Davis launched a listening tour with alumni. Those conversations have prompted the creation of a DEI Task Force, which Maggie now coordinates.
    Read More
  • Indigenous Peoples’ Day

    Last year, Maine formally replaced Columbus Day with an acknowledgment of the people who long lived in this part of the world—Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Katie Stack’s History of Indigenous Peoples of America gave an all school assembly on Monday to give some context to the day.
  • Maggie Davis, Associate Director of College Counseling and DEI Coordinator

    DEI, a journey…

    As some of you may know, I have spent a good deal of time this summer listening to our alumni and employees. The impetus of this listening tour came as a response to some alumni engagement through social media following the murder of George Floyd.
  • Gould faculty and students at the Bethel Black Lives Matter Protest, fighting for change.

    Be Part of Our Change

    Recently, a group of employees gathered via zoom to share our own emotions regarding the horrifying murders of Black Americans and the resulting protests, including a Black Lives March here in Bethel. The overwhelmingly heartbreaking questions of, How can this possibly be happening – still? Why is this happening? filled our space.
Gould is a small, co-ed, independent boarding school for grades 8-PG.  We are passionate about preparing academically motivated students for college, helping them to become independent-minded, ethical citizens who will lead lives of purpose, action, excellence, and compassion in a dynamic world.