Diversity Committee

The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee supports the Parents Association by advocating for, and supporting school policies and practices that animate the Lab School Diversity Statement and empower families as partners and collaborators in furthering that mission. The three chairs of the Diversity Committee in 2018-2019 are Amanda Lewis, and Nicole Beechum, and Crystal Laura.

After relaunching in the fall of 2015, the committee solicited parent input and worked with subcommittees throughout the winter to prepare a complete list of recommendations. The document, Diversity & Inclusion Recommendations, is a streamlined compilation of parent discussions and ideas. The committee intends this to be a living document and welcomes feedback. Email your thoughts to the committee chairs: Nicole Beechum, Amanda Lewis, and Crystal Laura.

Previous Minutes

October 17, 2016

December 29, 2016


PA Diversity Committee Co-Chair Bios

Nicole Beechum

Nicole Williams Beechum is a Senior Research Analyst at the UChicago Consortium on School Research. Nicole’s initial work at the Consortium focused on the transitions to high school and postsecondary opportunities, including projects on college match among Chicago Public Schools graduates, the International Baccalaureate Programme in CPS, and On-Track to graduation for CPS freshmen. With her current team, Nicole is co-organizing a national network focused on equity for historically marginalized students, the Building Equitable Learning Environments (BELE) network. Nicole’s dissertation work also explores the factors that lead to success for African American boys during their freshman year of high school. Her research interests include teacher-student relationships and how classroom environments contribute to student success, academically and developmentally. Nicole was in the second cohort of the Surge Institute’s fellowship designed to empower leaders of color in the field of education. She has a BA from Mount Saint Mary’s University in Los Angeles, a MA from the School of Social Service Administration (SSA) at the University of Chicago, and is completely her PhD at SSA.

Amanda E. Lewis

Amanda is the Director of the Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy and an Associate Professor in the Departments of African American Studies and Sociology at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her research focuses on how race shapes educational opportunities and on how our ideas about race get negotiated in everyday life. Her book on how race shapes everyday life in elementary schools, Race in the Schoolyard: Negotiating the color-line in classrooms and communities (Rutgers University Press 2003), has received several awards and was featured in a number of media outlets. Her research has appeared in a number of academic venues including Sociological Theory, American Educational Research Journal, American Behavioral Scientist, Race and Society, and Anthropology and Education Quarterly, The Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, and The Du Bois Review. Her new book with co-author John Diamond, is titled Despite the Best Intentions: Why racial inequality persists in good schools (Oxford University Press, 2015). She lectures and consults regularly on issues of educational equity and contemporary forms of racism. Amanda’s daughter, Nyla, is in 3rd grade.

Crystal Laura

Crystal Laura — Crystal T. Laura (Ph.D.,University of Illinois-Chicago) is Associate Professor of Educational Leadership at Chicago State University. Crystal’s work has focused on the social foundations of education, diversity and equity in schools, and building the capacity of school-based educators to promote social justice. Crystal’s scholarship has appeared in a variety of education-focused journals, including Race, Ethnicity and Education, Cultural Studies-Critical Methodologies, Gender and Education, Critical Questions in Education, and also in her award-winning book, Being Bad: My Baby Brother and the School-to-Prison Pipeline. She lectures across the U.S. and is a frequent presenter at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, to which she has belonged since 2006, currently serving as Chair of the Equity and Inclusion Council. Crystal is a practicing vegan and 200-hour registered yoga instructor who specializes in yoga for educators and justice workers. She is a mother to two Black boys at Lab: Zachary (3rd grade) and Logan (1st grade).