Since arriving at The Hill in 2018, the Rev. Khristi Adams has become a trusted mentor for Hill School students and has shared important guidance among her employee colleagues. The School’s Firestone Endowment Chaplain, Dr. John W. Riegel Chair of Religious Studies, and Interim Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Adams possesses an extensive knowledge of the student body and of school life. In addition to teaching two popular courses, Religion and Film in Contemporary Society and Religious Radicals, Adams is a dorm parent in Upper School East Dormitory; she leads the contemporary Wednesday night worship service, 840 Worship; she oversees the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) Student and Faculty Committees; and she serves as the faculty adviser of Black Student Life (BSL).
Next year, Adams will further extend her impact on The Hill community, as she recently was appointed the School’s Dean of Spiritual Life and Equity, effective July 1, 2021.
I am looking forward to helping Hill foster a campus culture where everyone can feel a sense of belonging. I want to make sure that every one of our students' backgrounds, identities, and perspectives are integrated into the Hill School experience. I once heard someone say that they were committed to the work of equity and inclusion because they want to be the person they needed when they were younger. I echo those same sentiments. I want to be to our students, the person that I needed when I was a young woman.
A graduate of Temple University and of Princeton Theological Seminary, Adams is a speaker, youth advocate, and acclaimed author whose recent book Parable of the Brown Girl received awards for Best Young Adult/Children’s Book from The African American Literary Awards and the New York Black Librarians Caucus. She is the founder and director of “The Becoming Conference,” an annual conference designed to empower, educate, and inspire teenage girls. Adams is an alumna of Lead New Jersey, a select group of fellows that participate in a year-long program designed to educate, transform, and empower the next generation of leaders from the public, social, and private sectors, and she also currently sits on the advisory board for Word Made Flesh, a non-profit organization existing to serve among the most vulnerable of the world’s poor.
In her expanded role as Dean of Spiritual Life and Equity, Adams will seek to intertwine her experience in public service and programming with her institutional knowledge to establish campus initiatives around DE&I and spiritual life, with the goal of creating a more inclusive and welcoming community. To accomplish this, Adams’ responsibilities will include tasks such as:
- Developing and implementing a strategic plan to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion across campus, based on the School’s mission and long-term strategic plans;
- Continuing to oversee student-based affinity groups, organizations, and the DE&I Student Committee;
- Responding to diversity and equity-related issues amongst the student body when they arrive, including shaping discussions around national events;
- Working with the Admission Office to recruit and retain a diverse student body, and with the Human Resources Director to continually improve employee diversity and inclusion efforts with regards to recruiting, employee relations, internal communication, and conflict resolution;
- Organizing School participation in local, regional, and national multicultural events such as the NAIS People of Color Conference; and creating and marketing diversity and inclusion-focused education, programs, and events for faculty, staff, students, and families that can be promoted to the greater Pottstown community when appropriate.
“I am very excited about the conceptual design of our new position and delighted that the Rev. Adams will continue to be dedicated to diversity, equity, and inclusion at Hill,” said Hill Trustee and Co-Chair of the Board’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force Michael Harris ’84 P’22. “Her wealth of knowledge, professionalism, expertise, and interpersonal skills will help to advance our continual focus to make sure that all members of The Hill community are welcomed, valued and empowered.”
Associate Headmaster Sylvia Rodriguez Vargas, Ph.D., spoke highly of the DE&I-centric work Adams has already accomplished on campus in preparing her for her new role.
“The work that the Rev. Adams has done over the past several years, and her work over the summer and fall as the interim director of DE&I this year, continues to shape an understanding of the values of spiritual life with an emphasis on the dignity and worth of all people,” Rodriguez Vargas said. “This natural combination that the Rev. Adams brings to the position includes strong relationships with students, colleagues, alumni, and parents, as well as the ongoing development and interaction of our Chapel program and DE&I initiatives as experienced this fall.”
The Hill community is excited and grateful that Adams will continue leading these two important areas of school life in a full-time capacity.