Community, Inclusion, and Diversity

In the Statement of Purpose, St. Mark's affirms its commitment to fostering a "diverse community of teachers and students who share a love of learning" and the ultimate goal of "preparing young men for assuming leadership and responsibility in a competitive and changing world." On campus, these ideals come to life as teachers expose students to new, unique points of view and open their eyes to the realities experienced by people across the world. Fostering an inclusive and diverse community is a crucial part of what makes St. Mark's special. Around the Harkness table, in the art studio, and on the playing field, boys share their own unique experiences and backgrounds, enriching the lives of everyone around them. In turn, St. Mark's teachers bring as many viewpoints as possible into their lessons, often challenging students' assumptions and preexisting beliefs. 

Inclusion and diversity are fundamentally important to educating and helping every Marksman reach his full potential. Creating a sense of belonging, knowing and loving every boy, and fostering a climate where respect, empathy, and compassion are central to building and sustaining community.  As a school, we must continue to strive for improvement to support and care for every boy, knowing full well that the work is never complete, and that each day brings new challenges and new opportunities. Goals for St. Mark’s IV helped underscore the importance of continually setting higher aspirations and working together to provide the best environment possible for our boys. From strengthening and expanding faculty recruitment efforts to breaking down financial barriers for students who would thrive at St. Mark’s, we continue to focus on strengthening the experience of every Marksman.

Committee on Community, Inclusion, and Diversity

St. Mark's is fully committed to exploring additional opportunities to ensure that every Marksman is known, loved, and valued equally. While there has been continuing emphasis placed on the value and importance of inclusion and diversity at St. Mark’s, the tragic events of discrimination and racial injustice have highlighted the need to bring greater intentionality, resources, and focus to our efforts that underpin a sense of belonging for everyone on campus. Thus, the School has invested increased time, energy, and effort to these topics, and a strategic Committee on Community, Inclusion, and Diversity was formed to strengthen and improve the overall St. Mark’s experience. 

This Committee grew out of extensive conversations and is reflective of a clear commitment from the Board of Trustees, the administration, and the faculty to strengthen and enhance the bonds we all share. Made up of faculty members, administrators, Trustees, alumni, and parents, this Committee is reviewing, evaluating, and assessing current and prospective programs and activities across campus that support the School’s commitment to being a welcoming and inclusive community for every boy.

Director of Inclusion, Diversity, and Human Resources

In an effort to realize key goals outlined in Goals for St. Mark’s IV and bring greater alignment, coordination, and intentionality to the School’s inclusion and diversity priorities, a new senior administrative position was established in 2020. After more than three years as a member of the St. Mark’s family, Lorre Allen was appointed to serve as Director of Inclusion, Diversity, and Human Resources and plays an even more important role of supporting both students and employees across the campus. Lorre joined the St. Mark’s team in 2017 as Director of Human Resources to support and strengthen employment policies, faculty training, and best practices, bringing over 15 years of professional expertise from her work in higher education and the corporate world, most recently at the University of Washington and Boeing. She has played an active role in leading annual professional development experiences for employees, including harassment prevention training and implicit bias training. Throughout her career, she has presented at national conferences on inclusion, diversity, and human resources. Lorre also has embraced her interactions and work with the boys, supporting the Dallas Area Diversity Youth Organization (DADYO) on campus and attending the Annual NAIS People of Color Conference. 

Working alongside and in close partnership with other senior administrators, faculty members, and Marksmen on campus, Lorre guides best practices that support and nurture community, inclusion, and diversity for both students and employees, while also communicating the importance of these values across the School community. In addition to her work with student programs and professional development, Lorre is focused on strengthening and expanding the School’s efforts to attract, retain, and support a broadly diverse faculty and contribute to the School’s ongoing commitment to foster an environment that is respectful, inclusive, and welcoming for all students, families, and employees. As with any strategic priority, it is important to focus on deliberate, thoughtful, and comprehensive planning to ensure that meaningful, sustained, and impactful results are achieved now and into the future. These efforts require the collective commitment of individuals across the St. Mark’s community as we strive to strengthen and improve the experiences of every Marksman.
“The world is changing, and, with that change, we ourselves are called to change. We ourselves are called to be more aware of the struggles of other people and better embrace their value. There is always a new perspective, a new idea, a new story to embrace.”
~Cristian Pereira ’21

Community Perspectives

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  • Lee Smith ’65

    First African-American Student Enrolled at St. Mark's

    I think there’s no question that St. Mark's has grown and changed and evolved — so many of the principles and values that were instilled in the School from its founding have led to significant growth and improvement with time. In this past quarter-century plus, the School has become a far more diverse community than it was when I arrived. And I think we will continue to become an even better school.

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  • Michael Morris

    English Department Chair

    Several years ago, we determined that we should include more diverse voices in our curriculum. Thus, we have added a core multicultural text at each grade level. Moreover, many teachers incorporate additional diverse texts, including the poetry of Langston Hughes and Gwendolyn Brooks, the tragedy of Shakespeare’s Othello, and Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon. We believe that reading and discussion of such work, as well as writing about it, enables boys to gain a greater sense of their own humanity and of their role, challenge, and potential in their communities. 

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  • Marty Stegemoeller, Ph.D.

    Malcolm K. and Minda Brachman Master Teaching Chair

    Inclusion is a fundamental behavior in our Character and Leadership lexicon, applying to everyone, including, but not limited to, race and ethnicity. If somebody is on the margin, help bring him in if you can. The whole group will benefit. Character and Leadership education is meant to open boys to how the quality of their own lives is bound to the quality of the lives of their fellow citizens and to inspire and support the boys to expand the circle of their ownership of the well-being of their fellows as far outward as possible.

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  • Scott Gonzalez

    Cecil H. & Ida Green Master Teaching Chair

    In Humanities 8, we focus on America’s growth from Reconstruction to recent times. It is impossible to talk about “Tramping the Perpetual Journey” without discussing the immigrant and the multicultural experience. These experiences reveal the positive aspects of our nation’s growth as well as the horrific truths of violence and discrimination supported by national laws, practices, and policy enforcement. In reflecting upon The Constitution and The Bill of Rights, students often ask difficult questions concerning recent events.

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  • Lorre Allen

    Director of Inclusion, Diversity, and Human Resources

    We strive to educate the whole boy; I believe that we also strive to create a positive and inclusive working environment for the whole person. We have broadened our diversity recruitment resources to include Historical Black Colleges and Universities and other diverse disciplined-focused organizations to support the implementation of Goals IV, specifically the call to "strengthen and expand recruitment strategies to attract the most qualified and diverse candidate pool available."

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  • Shannon Nadalini

    Fourth-grade Teacher

    As an educator, I believe it’s my duty to ask the question, “Whose voice is not heard in the curriculum I teach?” This intentional inquiry guides my planning, the choices on my bookshelf, and the creation of a safe space that encourages all students to use their voices. Our job is to teach the becoming of a man. Diverse voices of classmates, role models, authors, and mentors enrich the Path to Manhood, deepen the hue, and strengthen the character of the boys we teach.

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  • SeMaj Musco ’21

    It is important for students to learn about others with backgrounds dissimilar to their own because that's what life is like once they leave the St. Mark's bubble. Learning about people with different backgrounds will help to build empathy and allows students to become more understanding of others in different situations.

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  • Zach Gilstrap ’18

    2020 Convocation Speaker

    While discussing the book Black No More in a class, a white student in the group mentioned how he and his family, whenever TV news programs run stories surrounding police brutality, institutional racism, or protests, they like to turn off the TV so as to avoid the heavy emotions. I and a few other black students remarked how that option is simply not available to us. I spoke to him after class and he acknowledged that he simply hadn’t thought about what that meant, how different his experience was from mine. He was able to practice empathy for me and got a better understanding of a facet of racial realities. This honesty, this vulnerability, this dialogue is needed.

    Click here to watch Zach's 2020 Convocation Address.

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  • Korey Mack ’00

    Admission Officer

    Affording all Marksmen a well-rounded physical, intellectual, and spiritual education requires a diverse student body. The School continues to make significant efforts to broaden and diversify its applicant pool. We are building new pipelines with schools in areas that we currently lack a considerable footprint and broadening existing pipelines. We are also working to remove financial barriers to the admission process to expand student access and affordability.

Community Conversations

Student journalists at St. Mark's are given broad leeway and important responsibility to highlight and address topics for discussion that, while not always easy, are necessary for the community to consider. In addition to articles and opinion pieces printed in The ReMarker student newspaper, the journalism staff also publishes a biannual magazine called Focus, which delves deeper into a wide range of important issues and topics and prompts the St. Mark’s community to engage in conversation in response to these publications. 

In the midst of nationwide protests in response to racial injustice, The ReMarker staff spent several months developing its first Focus magazine of the 2020–2021 school year which was released on the opening day of school in early September. "When we were working on Focus, we were worried the topics we were discussing would be too difficult for a school magazine," said Cristian Pereira ’21, Editor-in-Chief of Focus magazine. "When Mr. Dini looked at the magazine before we shipped it, he did not ask us to make a single edit. Because we can write about the issues we chose, students can get exposure to unique perspectives and ideas from their peers. That’s a really effective way to educate people and it’s extremely valuable to the community." 

When the ISAS Visiting Committee issued its report for St. Mark's reaccreditation in 2018, they noted: "School leadership is clear and transparent in its intention to keep all constituents involved in potentially challenging conversations—about race, sexual orientation, political activism, etc. [Student journalists] help to push these issues into the public consciousness of the School."
“We thought that the social and racial issues facing our country were so important for us as a staff to discuss and explore that we decided to dedicate an entire Focus Magazine to the topic."
~Robert Pou ’21
Editor, The ReMarker 
Contributing Editor,
Focus

Visiting Voices

Exposing Marksmen to a wide range of voices and experiences is one of the most enriching parts of a St. Mark's education. Speakers from many different backgrounds and perspectives are routinely invited to campus to share their experiences with the boys and the faculty in Chapel, the Visiting Scholars Program, STEM Festival, Literary Festival, Senior Leadership Dinner, Assemblies, Cum Laude Induction, classroom discussions, Convocations, Commencement, and more. Following is a small sampling of speakers and guests who have visited the campus in recent years.

  • Sandra Cisneros ~ Author The House on Mango Street
  • Ed Mabrey ~ Four-time National Poetry Slam champion
  • Sharan Shetty ’09 ~ Associate editor of The New Yorker
  • Naia Butler-Craig ~ NASA Space Technology Graduate Research Fellow
  • Ana Castillo ~ Chicana Novelist, Poet, and Playwright
  • Annu Subramanian ~ Human Rights Advocate and Novelist
  • Cornel West ~ Princeton Professor and activist
  • Kevin Teal ’83 ~ Neurosurgeon
  • Clarence Thomas ~ United States Supreme Court Justice
  • Emmanuel Acho ’08 ~ ESPN commentator and author
  • Wallace Jefferson ~ former Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court
  • Joaquin Zihuatanejo ~ American Slam Poet and teacher
  • Grace Lin ~ Taiwanese-American children’s writer and illustrator
  • Kesha Harris-Henderson ~ Radiation Oncologist
“We want the boys to have a well-rounded experience and part of how we do that is exposing them to a variety of voices. All of those experiences are important and help shape a sense of perspective about the world they are going to encounter as adults.” 
~David W. Dini,
Eugene McDermott Headmaster

Global Ambassadors

It is very important for Marksmen to understand that they are members of a diverse global community that includes many cultures, languages, customs, and religious traditions.

Student travel programs provide an opportunity for St. Mark’s students and faculty to broaden their global perspectives, build relationships, practice skills, and apply knowledge beyond the confines of the classroom or campus. Travel also promotes critical thinking, self-awareness, independence, confidence, curiosity, adaptability, cooperation, and ethical leadership. Most important, the school believes that travel has the unique ability to erode ethnocentric perceptions, reveal the common human condition, and strengthen universal similarities. These skills are crucial to cross-cultural collaboration and contribute to the development of empathetic global citizens while sharing and demonstrating the values of St. Mark’s School of Texas within an increasingly interconnected global community. Marksmen and their teachers routinely travel to far corners of the globe and participate in immersive experiences that prepare them to live meaningful, impactful, and purposeful lives.

Along with other student travel programs, St. Mark’s Model United Nations club (MUN) is another example of students learning more about the interactions of the global community. Student "delegates" from across the country gather to roleplay a simulation of the United Nations General Assembly and its other multilateral bodies. Students perform an ambassador role while debating topics such as gender equality, climate action, global health, and more. “A lot about MUN is working together to come to a solution and solve the problem at hand in a timely matter," said Aaryan Puri ’21, Co-Chair of St. Mark’s Model UN Club. "MUN creates many opportunities to meet new people, and I think the ability to communicate with them and use knowledge and diplomacy to solve problems and write resolutions is something special that you can’t find anywhere else.”

These and many other global experiences are fundamentally important for Marksmen to develop a better understanding of the world around them and the responsibilities they have for making a positive difference.
"Citizenship and effective engagement with politics and economics in our time must mean involvement with others in the world. The more we become aware of countries, cultures, and perspectives other than our own, the more successful we can become at cooperating with others and addressing the challenges we face in common."
~David Fisher
History and Social Sciences Department Chair
St. Mark's Model UN Sponsor

St. Mark’s School of Texas

10600 Preston Road
Dallas, Texas 75230

214-346-8000

About Us

St. Mark’s School of Texas is a private, nonsectarian college-preparatory boys’ day school for students in grades 1 through 12, located in Dallas, Texas. St. Mark’s aims to prepare young men to assume leadership and responsibility in a competitive and changing world.

St. Mark’s does not discriminate in the administration of its admission and education policies on the basis of race, color, religion, sexual orientation, or national or ethnic origin.