Board of Education Chair Candice Savin said that Thomas met with Michel earlier today after the letter was published.
“They are looking into her concerns, so I’m waiting to hear more back from them,” she said.
“I have confidence that they are handling this with sensitivity and care,” she said of the administration.
Coincidentally, Savin said that on Tuesday she attended a meeting of TEAM Westport—the town-run committee centered on issues of diversity—which she described as “a great group of people who are really interested in working with the district to improve sensitivity.”
“I know that everyone on our board is fully committed to doing everything they can to create and encourage an environment that is equitable, respectful, supportive and fair to every student,” she said.
“I know that we always are interested in a more diverse staff,” she said, “and that’s a goal.”
In her letter, Michel also states that the hiring of Thomas as principal was done “for the Images, meaning he was only really out there to show that Staples looks diverse.”
While he didn’t respond directly to her accusation, said John Bayers, director of human resources and general administration, outlined the process for hiring any new principal, which in this case included the work of an outside consultant.
“Westport is continually seeking to diversify its workforce,” Bayers said.
Owing to a statewide push to diversify the workforce in public schools, he said Westport is one of eight districts participating in a pilot program called “Creating a District Plan to Increase the Racial, Ethnic, and Linguistic Diversity of Your Educator Workforce.”
“The work will not only assist us with the recruitment of a diverse workforce, but with the retention process as well,” Bayers said, noting an initial meeting was just held last month, with many workshops planned this year.
“We are excited about the work and eager to apply the learning to our district recruitment and retention efforts,” he said.