Lawrenceville Welcomes New Senior Staff Members
This past Wednesday, Head Master Stephen Murray H'54 '55 '65 '16 P'16 '21 announced that the Lawrenceville community will welcome two new staff members on July 1. Rick Holifield will join the School as the new Dean of Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement, and Jessica Welsh will be the new Director of Communications and External Affairs.¬†
Holifield has over two decades of experience in the fields of diversity, inclusion, and community engagement affairs in education at the local, regional, and national levels; he currently serves as the Assistant Head of Upper School and Director of Community Life at The Walker School in Marietta, Georgia. He also serves on The National Center for Civil and Human Rights Advisory Board and the National Association of Independent Schools People of Color Planning Committee.
Along with Lawrenceville's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee and its Office of Multicultural Affairs, Holifield will work alongside the School's Diversity Council and Affinity groups to promote inclusion of all community members on campus.
Looking ahead, Murray said, "I want [Holifield] to work on faculty and staff awareness and on creating an even deeper skill set for the adults in the community to respond to student needs and their own needs, [including] the alumni community and beyond. [He] will be a bridge-builder with all those groups."
Holifield has previously said that he anticipates his first year at Lawrenceville will be spent getting to know the students in order to effectively find the best way to approach diversity and equity at the School. In a past interview with Director of Public Relations Lisa M. Gillard Hanson, he mentioned wanting to learn about daily life at Lawrenceville to "[execute] a climate assessment and equity audit for the purpose of creating a strategic plan for diversity, equity, and community engagement at Lawrenceville."
Welsh will be joining the School alongside Holifield to fill the position of Lawrenceville's Chief Communications Officer. She will also serve as a member of the senior leadership team. Drawing from her previous experience as the Director of Marketing and Communications for the Baldwin School and the Haverford School, she plans to use strategy and public relations to build Lawrenceville's reputation as a prestigious boarding school.
"When you talk to [Welsh] about how to connect to people effectively, she really is extremely thoughtful and has a way of thinking strategically that is more than just being eloquent and a good communicator or writer; she really understands the dynamic of communications," said Murray.
Ultimately, Welsh hopes to enhance Lawrenceville's brand in today's competitive educational environment and highlight all aspects of our community.
In a separate interview posted on the Lawrenceville School website, Welsh said,
"I plan to honor and sustain the level of excellence for which Lawrenceville is known, while advancing its branding and positioning in an increasingly competitive and evolving educational environment...I hope to work with the community to establish a cohesive brand across platforms that speaks to Lawrentians past and present, and that aligns with a shared vision of who we are and who we aspire to be."