Berwick Academy is proud to announce the hiring of its first Director of Cultural Competency, Michael Buensuceso. This new position for the School supports Berwick Academy’s deep commitment to becoming a distinctive leader in the work of diversity and inclusion and Michael brings extensive experience and commitment to the role.
Currently, Michael serves as Director of Diversity at the Trinity School in New York City, a private, preparatory, co-educational day school for grades K-12.
The hiring of a Director of Cultural Competency is one element of a larger process the School has undergone in the last three years. As part of the School’s NEASC accreditation, Berwick launched a comprehensive approach to cultural competency and inclusion in 2012, which has included the Assessment on Inclusivity and Multiculturalism study within the community, the formation of a Diversity Committee, and the creation of a Statement of Community, which can be found on the School’s website at www.berwickacademy.org under About Us > Cultural Competency and Inclusion. Berwick Academy believes cultural competency is an essential element of "useful knowledge" in the 21st Century. Graduates must navigate a diverse world guided by empathy, understanding, listening, self-reflection, self-awareness, and humility. These habits and skills are formed through engagement with people, places, and ideas from many cultures and multiple perspectives.
Some of Michael’s responsibilities as Berwick’s first Director of Cultural Competency will include working with the School’s Curriculum Council to evaluate and strengthen multicultural curriculum across the divisions, providing support and consultation to faculty, students, and parents, acting as a liaison between the School and the larger community, and strengthening the School’s cross-cultural travel program and its related protocols.
“We could not be more excited to welcome Michael and his family to our community.” said Head of School Greg Schneider, “Given his prior experience leading diversity and cultural competency initiatives at two other fine K-12 communities in the New York area, he is well positioned to add expertise to our organization at all levels. More than ever, Berwick Academy is committed to the idea that providing our students with cultural competency skills is essential to our mission of ‘promoting virtue and useful knowledge’ in the 21st century. These skills include self-awareness, empathy, and appreciation of difference; our graduates will rely heavily on these tools as they leave the Hilltop to enter not only a global workplace but some of the most diverse colleges and universities in the country.”
Michael has been the Director of Diversity at Trinity School since 2010. An experienced facilitator and trainer, Michael was one of the founding faculty of the Educators’ Institute, a joint effort between the American Conference on Diversity and the Peter Sammartino School of Education at Fairleigh Dickinson University. He served as Vice President of Programs for the American Conference on Diversity responsible for the development of strategic program initiatives, the development and implementation of adult and youth programs and research statewide. Over the course of his career, Michael has consulted with businesses, community groups, local governments and educational institutions to offer training, professional development and strategic planning on diversity and multicultural related issues. He has also consulted with the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities and the University of Richmond, in designing and implementing programs focusing on multicultural awareness and bias reduction for their students, faculty, and staff.
Michael earned a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Rhode Island and a M.S.W. from Columbia University. He and his wife Kathy plan to relocate to the Seacoast area with their two children this spring.