by Rob Taylor Jr.
Courier Staff Writer
The New Pittsburgh Courier has learned that Charles Herring, Ed.D., was recently named Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for the South Fayette Township School District, based in McDonald, Pa.
The position was created “to provide further support for the district’s efforts with the diversity/cultural competencies” for the district’s strategic plan, the district said in a release.
Dr. Herring left his teaching position as K-5 Enrichment Coordinator for the district. He’s been with South Fayette Township since 2015.
“We are excited to have Dr. Herring in this new role in continuing to create an inclusive culture for all students,” the district’s release read. “Additionally, the Board of Directors” passed a resolution “supporting the development of an anti-racist school climate.”
“Dr. Herring is empathetic, compassionate, and a great listener,” district Superintendent Kenneth Lockette, Ph.D., told the New Pittsburgh Courier. “He has a calming effect on people and is able to help people see multiple perspectives.”
Dr. Herring holds a Doctorate of Education in Language, Literacy & Culture from the University of Pittsburgh and served in an extracurricular position as Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator for the district over the last school year. In this role, the district said, Dr. Herring created the Student Diversity Leadership Committee that was recognized by the Allegheny County Human Relations Commission for a 2020 Diversity Award, which was presented to student leaders by Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald in the spring.
The South Fayette Township School District has four schools—an elementary, intermediate, middle and high school. The district sits west of Bridgeville and South of Oakdale. The district’s student makeup is 73 percent White, 19 percent Asian, four percent multi-racial, two percent African American and two percent Hispanic.
According to Dr. Herring, he’s not “the typical educator,” he said in an interview with Kidsburgh.org. Dr. Herring was a hip-hop producer in Pittsburgh, and also was manager of an Enterprise Rent-a-Car location. But it’s some of those experiences, including attending Wilkinsburg High School, that he feels makes himself more relatable to students.
“A lot of people don’t get it when they get into education. They feel like they’re the bastions of knowledge, and should be disseminating it to the students, and the students don’t bring a lot to the equation,” Dr. Herring told Kidsburgh.org. “The teacher has a certain knowledge, and the student has a certain knowledge, and the hybrid space is where they meet. It’s a symbiotic relationship. There are times when the student is the teacher, and you’re learning from them.”
Dr. Herring added: “The main thing you want to do as a teacher is allow the students to be the constructors of their own education. Set up the parameters of whatever you want the students to learn.”
The South Fayette Township School District realized that Dr. Herring’s non-traditional but effective style should be implemented district-wide. Dr. Herring will help to coordinate teacher and student training, assist with audit/revisions of curriculum to address multiple perspectives, develop recruitment strategies to have a more diverse faculty and staff, and create student and community outreach and partnerships.
CHARLES HERRING, PH.D.