Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Vision: Promoting a culture of inclusive excellence for students, staff, and families
Olentangy Local School District believes in promoting an environment of inclusive excellence for all of our students, staff members, and families. In order to achieve this goal, we emphasize the following beliefs, values, and actions:
- We strive to ensure structures, processes, and opportunities meet the needs of all students.
- We recognize that our success is integrally linked to how well we value, engage, and affirm the rich diversity of our students, staff, families, administrators, and community members.
- We focus on ensuring access to educational opportunity, cultivating student success, and fostering high-quality learning.
- We believe in active, intentional, and ongoing engagement with diversity and inclusion - not the delivery of isolated initiatives.
MEET THE TEAM
Jackie Merkle, Supervisor of Equity and Inclusion
A former high school social studies teacher in Los Angeles, Jackie has earned her Ph.D. in Multicultural Studies at The Ohio State University. She currently lives in Gahanna with her husband Tyler and their black lab Zeke. Jackie is a strong advocate for empowering student voice and she believes in developing platforms where all stakeholders can have input and be heard.
Heather Cole, District Diversity Coordinator
Heather has been in the district since 2001; the first 13 years serving as an elementary level educator in first, third, and fourth grades. She currently lives in Westerville, OH with her husband Michael and two sons Maxton and Zeke. Heather is passionate about the work that she does and enjoys her interactions with students, families and community members in breaking down barriers through relationship building, authentic conversation, and mindful listening.
Mikela Thomas, K-12 District Diversity Chair
Mikela is a wife and mother of three. She has been an educator for over 11 years and is currently working on her Ph.D in Educational Leadership at Northcentral University. Mikela has an infectious passion for diversity, inclusion, cultural awareness, and social justice and she hopes to continue to spread awareness to all.