Troy Schools creates new educational equity position

By: Mary Beth Almond | Troy Times | Published January 14, 2021




TROY — Cornelius Godfrey is the Troy School District’s new supervisor of educational equity, inclusion and community relationships.

District officials said they are excited to welcome Godfrey, who they said has spent both his career and his personal life as an advocate for inclusion, to the new position within the district.

“We are very excited to bring Mr. Godfrey’s experience and passion,” Christine DiPilato, the assistant superintendent of secondary instruction, said in a statement.

Godfrey comes to Troy from the Clarkston Community Schools district, where he served as a special education teacher and in a leadership role in the district’s equity, inclusion and social justice work. District officials said Godfrey was a leading partner of the CCS Equity Taskforce, working to increase the cultural competence of instructional staff and cultural responsiveness of curriculum, as well as to develop and implement practices that honor the specific needs of marginalized communities within the district.

He received a bachelor’s degree from Eastern Michigan University in special education/emotional impairment and a master’s in school principalship and site-based leadership from Central Michigan University. He is a member of the Oakland Schools Social Justice Cohort, and district officials said he has significant training and experience in trauma-informed instruction and restorative justice.

Officials said the Troy School District renewed its commitment to addressing issues of equity and inclusion over the past two years, joining the National Equity Project; forming a new administrative, staff and student task force; and providing targeted professional development and book studies.

“Our work around educational equity and inclusion is core to TSD’s mission to provide learning for all. This work is not one person’s work; it requires all of us to lean in to difficult and challenging conversations, to question our beliefs, structures and processes, and to be willing to act,” DiPilato said in a statement.

The new position, according to officials, was developed as part of “a comprehensive plan to focus the district’s efforts around critical issues in schools and the community.” School officials said recent staff vacancies enabled a natural transition point to elevate the district’s social-emotional learning work to become more inclusive of equity.   

DiPilato said the new position establishes a new teammate and advocate who “will collaboratively design opportunities for the district’s students, staff, and community to engage in equity work together.”

“Troy has always been dedicated to the development and well-being of the whole child; our red pillar identifies many of these commitments,” she said in a statement. “Identifying and hiring our supervisor for educational equity, inclusion and community relationships was a natural next step in our work to recognize, support and celebrate all that our students and families bring to our learning community.”

Godfrey, who will work in the teaching and learning department in the services building, will begin his duties Jan. 19. The position was advertised with a salary of between $78,310 and $97,632.