Stephanie Hawley hired as Austin ISD's first equity officer

Austin ISD has hired a new equity officer to oversee equity within the district.

Austin ISD has hired a new equity officer to oversee equity within the district.

Stephanie Hawley has been hired by Austin ISD as the district’s first equity officer, filling a new position the district has discussed frequently as a way to assure fairness and equality across the district as it progresses through its ongoing “school changes” process.

“[I'm] really excited about this opportunity for an individual to look at all areas of equity in our district—looking at functional items of policy, of staffing, of finance, of academics [and] of facilities—so it is multifaceted,” Superintendent Paul Cruz said at a board meeting June 17.

He said the equity officer will call out where the district has done well in terms of equity, and where it has not succeeded. Then, it will be on the district to address problem areas and make sure "we have improvements and mover this in the positive direction," Cruz said.

According to a news release about the hire, Hawley had been serving as the associate vice president of equity and inclusion at Austin Community College and has also worked in positions at City Colleges of Chicago, Morton College, Oklahoma City University, and Del Mar College. She also has a doctoral degree in higher education administration from the University of Texas, according to the district.

Although the hire was approved with a unanimous vote June 17, trustee Yasmin Wagner said she was concerned that the role “may not have the teeth or support” to have a significant effect. She pointed to the city of Austin’s hiring of an equity officer in 2016 and said it took years for that position’s role to be clarified and for the position to have the resources and staff in place needed to be effective.

"More than anything right now, we need this role to be effective, and this role has to be not only given a list of responsibilities, but we have to make sure as an organization that there is true support for change management," Wagner said.

She said the recommendations and research that come out of the position must be applied to establish the district's culture, guiding principles and values.

Trustee Jayme Mathias said he and others from historically underrepresented communities in the district were elated when Cruz brought a candidate to the board, but that the hire does not let the board off the hook.

“Together, with the help of this person, we may be able to address the persistent inequities and racism and segregation that we still struggle to shake” he said.
By Nicholas Cicale
Nick has been with Community Impact Newspaper since 2016, working with the Lake Travis-Westlake and Southwest Austin-Dripping Springs editions. He previously worked as a reporter in Minnesota and earned a degree from Florida State University.


MOST RECENT

Early voting runs from Oct. 13-30. Election Day is Nov. 3. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Find a polling location where you can vote early in Travis County

Voters can cast their ballots at any of the 37 early voting locations from Oct. 13-30.

Overall, the Southwest Austin market has sold 2.5% more homes in 2020 compared to 2019 through the month of August, with 3,204 total sales. (Kelly Schafler/Community Impact Newspaper)
DATA: Southwest Austin housing inventory drops to under 1 month after 523 sales in August

Overall, the Southwest Austin market has sold 2.5% more homes in 2020 compared to 2019 through the month of August, with 3,204 total sales.

Photo of students entering Dripping Springs High School with masks on
Dripping Springs ISD seeks to provide support for students who missed instruction during spring semester

Dripping Springs ISD leaders said they hope to close the gap for students experiencing learning loss during the spring semester of remote learning.

Mercury Hall will close in 2021. (Courtesy Mercury Hall)
Mercury Hall property cleared for 5-story apartment development

Mercury Hall will close after 2021, and a dense multifamily development is set to arrive in its wake.

City Post is located at 113 E. Eighth St., Georgetown. (Courtesy City Post)
Georgetown to get steakhouse, speakeasy plus more Central Texas news

Read the latest Central Texas business and community news.

Pflugerville's testing location is operated from 8 a.m.-noon Monday through Saturday where a maximum of 300 people can be tested each day at the site. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Coronavirus testing site in Pflugerville to move and more Central Texas news

Read the latest Central Texas business and community news.

Central Health administrative building in Austin
Central Health finalizes budget with increased tax rate, more health care services for low-income residents

Local health care district Central Health is budgeting a nearly $20 million increase in health care delivery services for Austin’s low-income residents.

"This season is a big, black box, and there are a lot of unknowns, as far as what the season's going to look like," said Dr. Bradley Berg, a BSW pediatrics doctor in Round Rock. (Courtesy Fotolia)
Baylor Scott & White Health to host 9 Austin-area drive-thru flu shot clinics

"This season is a big, black box, and there are a lot of unknowns, as far as what the season's going to look like," said Dr. Bradley Berg, a BSW pediatrics doctor in Round Rock.

South Austin-based gym Austin Barbell relocated to a new space Sept. 10.  (Courtesy Austin Barbell)
Rolling in Thyme and Dough opening a new drive-thru, plus more South Austin and Dripping Springs business news

Here are five recent updates from South Austin and Dripping Springs businesses.

A band performs at the Mohawk on Red River Street. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)
Six months into pandemic, Austin officials scrambling to save music venues, child care facilities and restaurants

City Council is set to begin making choices on which businesses to try to save on Oct. 1.

Dr. Sam Rolon is a physician for Baylor St. Luke's Medical Group Creekside Family Medicine in The Woodlands. (Courtesy St. Luke's Health)
Q&A: St. Luke's physician shares advice on flu season, vaccine and prevention

The influenza vaccine is recommended for nearly all patients of all ages ahead of this year's flu season, Dr. Sam Rolon said.

student in mask
TEA launches statewide COVID-19 dashboard for public schools

The Texas Education Agency, in collaboration with the Texas Department of State Health Services, has launched its latest COVID-19 dashboard for positive cases in Texas public schools.