Help us congratulate Candi Fulcher in her new role – Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) at Common Ground!

Candi began transitioning into her new role at CG, at the start of the fall semester, as a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Specialist. She now serves as the Director of DEI, having officially started in this position at the start of the spring semester. She recently sat down with After School Media Club member Camila and Media Club’s facilitator, Amanda Byam, for an interview and shared her passion for working with students and education.

What’s your job at Common Ground?

I foster an inclusive and equitable environment for all members of the school community. I work closely with faculty, staff, students, and families to develop and implement initiatives that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout the school. This includes reviewing and revising policies, providing training and professional development opportunities, and advocating for the needs of students and staff. I also help plan activities and work with the Culture teams to implement planning and behavior structures.

What were your previous work experiences at CG?

I was the Manager of Environmental Leadership and Portfolios. I worked with students on their capstone projects, managed the portfolios for all students, and supported post-secondary planning. This is my 6th year at CG.

What part of CG made you come here? What motivates you to work here? 

The students. I enjoy working with young people and motivating students to learn something new and step out of their comfort zone. I also like how Common Ground is an environmental school.

What makes you want to work in an environment with young people/young adults? 

I come from a whole family of educators, and I have had a lot of great teachers as well. As a kid, I didn’t want to be a teacher but as I grew up and learned what I wanted to do, I realized that I wanted to work in education. I love encouraging people and teaching them what they don’t know.

What’s your approach to working with young people?

Trying to figure out what they are passionate about and figuring out how to tie that passion to completing what I need them to work on.

What’s your approach to DEI?

I believe it’s important to see where people are, understand their feelings and build from there. As an educator committed to fostering an inclusive and supportive environment, my approach to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) centers on proactive strategies aimed at creating a culture where all staff and students feel valued and respected. I believe in educating myself continuously about DEI issues and leveraging that knowledge to assess the current climate of the school, set clear goals, and establish a DEI committee comprising diverse stakeholders.

What life experiences made you want to work in education?

I’m from New Haven and, like I said, my family members are educators. I have had some great role models that were educators. Some of my teachers were men and women of color, not many, but when I thought about this becoming a career path for me, I wanted to serve as a role model for my students. I also think it’s important to learn from teachers of color.

What life experiences made you want to work in DEI?

I worked at a lot of different organizations and different things have happened while I was a participant in non-profits that led to different conversations around DEI. Serving the population of students that we have at CG makes DEI important. My previous position was about student voice and choice, and I think that lends itself to this position.

How does your current job relate to students?

This current job still centers student voice and choice, to give them a space to share and feel like they’re being heard. My role will serve as a pivotal advocate and resource for students within the school community. I can provide direct support to students from diverse backgrounds, ensuring their voices are heard and their needs addressed, through organizing cultural competency workshops, leadership development programs, and student engagement initiatives. It will help continue the work CG has been doing to foster an environment of empathy, respect, and appreciation for diversity among students and staff.

What’s one change you’d like to see at CG, and why?

I would like to see more opportunities for staff and students to collaborate on making change happen on and around campus, ensuring all stakeholders can see how their voice is valued in our community. And the goal is to make all feel welcomed, valued and included.

What do you want students and families to know about you as a person? 

That I could be a resource to them and can be a part of their support team. My goal is to collaborate with families, students and staff to address systemic barriers and create a culture of belonging where every individual can thrive academically, socially, and emotionally, regardless of background or identity.

Would your younger self see you working in DEI?

My younger self would be surprised to be working in a high school but wouldn’t be surprised at what motivated me to start working in education. I would also be happy to see that I was able to find a job that I am passionate about and that I find joy in the work I do every day. And that I’m making a difference!

What are any goals you have completed while working here?

Strengthening the portfolio and capstone process, which made me comfortable to step into a new role. As co-teacher of the senior capstone, I helped a number of students graduate from college, and I’ve stayed connected with many of those students as they transitioned into adulthood. Overall, I have had the wonderful opportunity to be a role model and changemaker in the community where I was raised.


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