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Wednesday, June 19
The Indiana Daily Student


Hanks chosen as MCCSC diversity specialist

Diane Hanks has been an educator as far back as she can remember.

“Teaching began for me as a young girl,” Hanks said. “I was the third oldest of six, and I would often teach my younger siblings.”

Her career in education will continue in a new role as Talent and Diversity Specialist for the Monroe County Community School Corporation.

Growing up in South Carolina, Hanks said she saw many people go into blue-collar careers and knew that wasn’t for her.

“I didn’t want to wake up at 40 or 50 doing something I didn’t want to do,” she said.

So, after high school, she went to Northeastern University, got a degree in teaching, and a few years later moved to Bloomington to start working with MCCSC.

“I started as a substitute teacher, then worked part-time at North and Tri-North,” she said. “After about a year I was asked to be assistant principal at Tri-North."

“I loved working with children who had problems, who were struggling, and helping them reach their full potential," she said.

Hanks was at Tri-North for 16 years. The school board hired her to be the talent and diversity specialist for MCCSC on Oct. 22, and she will be working full time in this new role.

This comes after she was passed over for principal of Tri-North Aug. 27 when the board selected assistant principal Craig Fisher.

“Of course I was disappointed I didn’t get the job,” Hanks said.

After the decision, the school board received public outcry that Hanks wasn’t selected. Some said it had to do with her race.

“There was concern for the diversity of MCCSC staff, which is primarily white,” Hanks said.

A new role was created at MCCSC to handle this issue. Hanks will maintain her assistant principal salary of $76,913.47.

“MCCSC is open to input, and the outgrowth of the public’s concern was what led us to create this new position,” said Beverly Smith, MCCSC School and Community Services

Hanks’ job deals with finding and focusing on ways to promote talent of all kinds in the school system, and she will make sure all the schools are more diverse.

“We are moving to a globalized world, and our schools haven’t kept up with that pace,” Hanks said. “We want to find out from the community what they think a diverse school is. We want the community to play a big role.”

Hanks will work to create a strategic diversity plan for MCCSC and present it to the board for approval.

“I want the plan to be thoughtful, transparent and be able to stand the test of time,” Hanks said. “I want our schools to become more culturally relevant so that it doesn’t matter which school you go to. You’ll feel welcome at all.”

Smith said MCCSC is open to input from different sources in the community.

“With diversity work, it is good when change is driven from the outside,” she said. “It should be organic and shouldn’t just be top-down.”

Hanks said she will miss parts of working at Tri-North.

“I’ll miss working with students every day. I’ll miss the hustle and bustle,” she said.

However, she said she is confident her new work will improve MCCSC greatly.

“It’s not going to be easy or happen overnight,” she said. “But I hope everyone will look at it and see that improving diversity is good for the community.”

Follow reporter Stephen Kroll on Twitter @stephenkroll1.

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