Board of Education Appoints Dr. Janelle Alexander as Director of Diversity, Inclusion, Equity and Belonging
The Board of Education unanimously endorsed the appointment of Dr. Janelle Alexander to the newly created position of Director of Diversity, Inclusion, Equity and Belonging (DIEB) at its May 25, 2021, Board meeting. Dr. Alexander will assume the role on July 1, 2021.
In this position, Dr. Alexander will serve in a senior administrative role and will provide vision and leadership in promoting an inclusive culture that values and supports diversity. She will oversee the implementation of the District’s overall goals and will work closely with the District’s senior leadership team, faculty, staff, students, and the entire community to develop and facilitate strategies, decision-making, priority-setting, and actions necessary to ensure all students at all levels receive what they need to be successful. Dr. Alexander also will oversee the District’s comprehensive harassment, intimidation, and bullying (HIB) program, and will supervise the District’s anti-bullying specialists.
“The creation of this post is the culmination of a great deal of dialogue and work from all levels of this District,” Superintendent of Schools Joe Bollendorf said. “We have held the mirror up to ourselves, identified our shortcomings and are committed to putting strategies and best practices into place to ensure that our schools, and all of our classrooms, create climates where every child and staff member feels welcomed, seen, heard and supported. We will rely on Dr. Alexander’s extensive background to identify barriers and to bring team-building and conflict-resolution skills. We will rely on her to deliver training and professional development on bias, sensitivity, and cultural competency. She has invaluable experience in leading diversity and inclusion initiatives and is committed to a community-focused and relationship-driven approach to developing, implementing, and assessing strategies and practices. We are excited to have someone with her education, experience and enthusiasm embrace this role and its challenges.”
A 2001 graduate of Rowan University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in special education, Dr. Alexander earned her master’s in administrative science at Fairleigh Dickinson University (2005) and completed her Ph.D. in education with an emphasis in access, success and equity at Rowan University (2020). She holds New Jersey certifications in K-12 special education and K-6 elementary education, administrative science certifications in global leadership and human resources, and a New Jersey principal certification.
“We are pleased to welcome Dr. Janelle Alexander to the Washington Township Public Schools and are confident that she will provide data-driven change to ensure every child is supported and is able to be as successful as possible,” Board of Education President Julie Kozempel said. “It is our hope that her leadership will be impactful and empowering as we work toward creating equitable opportunities for learning, growth and success, and a spirit of inclusivity for every child enrolled in our schools.”
Dr. Alexander spent nine years (2002-11) as a special education teacher in the Deptford Township School District before serving as the founder (2010-11) and principal (2011-13) at The Kingdom Charter School of Leadership, the first charter elementary school in Gloucester Township. In this capacity, Dr. Alexander developed all aspects of the school’s educational program and curricula, as well as achievement and culture efforts, human resources hiring procedures and protocols, and schoolwide policies, including behavioral and disciplinary procedures and HIB policies. She successfully secured more than $1 million in grants that helped launch the school’s opening. Dr. Alexander then served as the PK-8 Special Services and Curricula Program Administrator for The Woodlynne School District (2013-15), where she provided leadership and vision, implementation and evaluation of the curricula and instructional programs.
Dr. Alexander was recruited into higher education with a return to her alma mater in 2015, first as adjunct faculty member of the Rowan University College of Education (2015) and then as the Assistant Director of Equity, Access and Strategic Enrollment Management (2016-21), a position she held until accepting her new post in Washington Township. In this capacity, she was tasked with measuring and tracking the results and impact of Rowan’s equity and access initiatives for prospective and incoming students. She served as the primary liaison for strategic enrollment management to enhance the University’s diversity, and formulated and implemented strategies to identify and recruit minority students, students who identified as LGBTQA, first-generation college students, and students from vulnerable socio-economic households.
A frequent and sought-after speaker and presenter on the topic of creating and supporting a diverse educator workforce, mentoring minority students, and classroom inclusion strategies, Dr. Alexander was a participant in the 2018 Equity Audit of the Camden City School District performed by the Rowan University Center for Access, Success and Equity. She has authored one publication- Illusion of Preparedness: Self Concepts of African American Students with Learning Disabilities – and is currently preparing two additional texts for publication:
Until superheroes learn how to use their power: Exploring the triple consciousness of African American male students identified as dis/abled; and
A Review: Retention of African American Students with Disabilities at Predominately White Institutions.