Diversity, Inclusion, and Opportunity Series: Embracing All

True to the tradition of our founders, the Daughters of the Heart of Mary, Nardin Academy promotes the values of fostering connections and embracing all. In living these values, Nardin seeks to provide a warm and welcoming environment for all members of the Nardin community, students, families, faculty, staff, and alumni alike. In this effort, the Board of Trustees prioritized diversity, inclusion, and opportunity (DIO) in its strategic plan, and, as part of a student and administration collaborative effort, adopted a new diversity statement.

“Learning is a lifelong activity, and a love of learning requires encouragement and nurturing. A challenging curriculum, promoting diversity of thought, educating students from multiple perspectives, and qualifying them to think in a global context will push students to achieve their full potential,” according to Nardin’s diversity statement. “Understanding, respect, and appreciation of cultural, economic, racial, religious, and personal diversity are essential to developing compassion and building world peace,” it states.

Central to Nardin’s DIO commitment is the work of Kendra Brim ’07, who assumed the role of the Academy’s first Director of Diversity, Inclusion, and Opportunity in 2020. With significant professional and community experience, Brim’s brings her expertise in helping to advance diverse and equitable practices within organizations to her work at Nardin. Previously, she served as a project manager at BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York where she served as the external chair of its Diversity and Inclusion Steering Committee. She also serves as the National Urban League Young Professionals Executive Vice President and past president of the Buffalo Urban League Young Professionals, is a board member of the Buffalo Urban League, and serves as the Chair of the DEI Committee for the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County.

“Here at Nardin, I am proud to say, we are working towards not just academic excellence, but educational excellence. To me, this means we seek to ensure our students are prepared not only academically, but socially and mentally, so they have all the personal tools they need to go out into the world and do amazing things,” said Brim. “At the core, Nardin’s DIO work is people-centered with the goal of building bridges among communities to foster a culture of respect, trust, and understanding. I am grateful for the full support of President Sandra E. Betters and the members of the Board of Trustees, who are fully engaged in this work and excited about the future of Nardin,” she added.

In developing her strategy and programming, Brim turns to the mission and values of Nardin, rooted in “inspiring students to reach their true potential to do amazing things in the world.” Over the coming months, you will learn more about the priorities of the DIO office focused on culture, policies and procedures, and systems change, and Nardin’s commitment to promoting inclusivity and a sense of community.

“It never ceases to amaze me just how diverse our Nardin community is, with children coming from a wide-range of neighborhoods in Buffalo and Western New York and representing nearly 20 different faiths and a multitude of ethnic backgrounds. What Kendra and her fellow senior team members are doing through the DIO programming is helping ensure that Nardin Academy is a vibrant educational community where all students feel welcome and celebrated; can develop their God-given gifts; build connections; live and serve through faith; spark intellectual curiosity; and explore all the possibilities our world offers,” said Tish Van Dyke ‘82, Chair, Board of Trustees. “This work aims to put action against our mission, values, and vision and build a stronger Nardin community, one where every student can truly say, ‘I am welcome, I am heard and I have a place in our Nardin community.’”