b'The following grew out of the October 2020 GDS Pop-up Learning panel onRacial Justice .Our three panelists tell theirGDS stories and much more.By Jane GutsellDANETTE MORTON likes a challenge.build confidence by consistently being in her corner, protecting space Growing up in Brooklyn, the daughterfor her, and allowing her to grow. of Caribbean immigrants, she decided that her best path to college was theNavigating a predominantly white institution, with the support of prestigious Brooklyn Technical Highthe schools leadership, fueled her ambition. When Ann Adams left School, a Math and Science Magnet.in 2003, Danette assumed the role of the Director of Admissions But first, she had to do well on difficultand Financial Aida position she held until 2009, when she went to standardized tests. No problem. Inthe Summit School in Winston-Salem as the Head of Upper School, her senior year, a couple of her friendsgrades 69. She remembers the recession of 2008 as one of her talked her into applying to schools inbiggest challenges as our Director of Admissions.the ACC, so she did and was accepted by Duke University. Never having beenIn 2012, Danette took the position of the Head of Middle School South, she headed to Durhamat Westminster in Atlanta, a K 12 Christian school with rigorous and discovered that she liked the pace ofadmission standards and widely regarded as the citys top academiclife and the cultural differences sheinstitution. With a student body of almost nineteen hundred, over experienced there. In 1991 she was invited to lunch through the35% are students of color. This summer, as the nation reckoned with universitys Career Services office where she met Tommy Webb, whoracial injustice, the school made commitments to expand andwas actively recruiting teachers of color for GDS. After graduatingdeepen anti-racism education and cultural competency development. with a B.A. in Economics, Danette originally intended to enter business school for the sake of financial security. Danette is grateful to be in a position of leadership to help further those goals. Over the years at Westminster she has helped Instead, she enrolled in Leslie University, a teachers college into champion the role of affinity groups to support identity Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she also had a year-long internshipdevelopment for students, foster belonging for parents, and at the K8 Brookwood School. In 1996 she earned an M. A. instrengthen allyship within the school community. Today, the school Middle School Education and reconnected with Tommy and washas a number of affinity groups that support students in their racial, hired as an associate teacher alongside Sue Mengert, who would retireethnic, sexual, gender, and religious identities.at the end of that year; Danette was a part of the 6th-grade team with Marilyn Jones, Donna Greeson, and Craig Head for a number ofMore recently, the school has added student and parent groups years. She remembers how closely the team worked and committedexploring the concepts of racial diversity and allyship. Danette admits they were to engaging issues of race and diversity. Looking back, shethat it was hard to step into these waters, but she believes the work does regret how much we did not know then about effective anti- is essential to building truly inclusive, strong school communities.racist curriculum and teaching. Danette says, as a Black woman at GDS she was always confident in the schools support for equityWhen asked her for any final thoughts, Danette said that she and inclusion. Ed Dickinson, Middle School Director, and Ralphcontinues to be sincerely grateful for her time in Greensboro, the Davison, Headmaster, were particularly encouraging and helped herplace where she formed her adult life, and at GDS, which was such GDS Magazine | 53'