INDIANAPOLIS, IN (August 17, 2022) — A four-week national book study discussing diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) will be conducted via a virtual webinar series by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) from October 19 to November 9. Registration for this first-ever free national initiative is open now through September 15 at meetings.nfhs.org/NFHSNationalBookStudy/.
All members of the high school sports and performing arts community – students, parents, coaches, officials, athletic directors, school administrators and others – are encouraged to participate in the NFHS National Book Study, featuring the book entitled, “From Athletics to Engineering: 8 Ways to Support Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for All,” co-authored by Johnnie Johnson and Dr. Michael E. Webber.
“This book study will allow readers to gather a collection of diverse perspectives from other readers and participants,” said Mautrice Meriweather, NFHS chief talent officer, who led the development of the national book study. “Each of the four sessions is intended to stimulate thinking, encourage self-reflection and move readers toward intentional action steps that demonstrate support for work in the diversity, equity and inclusion space.”
The webinar-based virtual discussions will take place October 19, October 26, November 2 and November 9. At that time, book study participants will have the opportunity to join the NFHS, members of its 51-member state associations, and national DEI experts to gain a better understanding of DEI-related issues.
“The NFHS is a learning organization. In that light, the book study represents a solid educational initiative that has the infrastructure of the NFHS to extend to those who champion education-based sports and performing arts participation at the grassroots level,” Meriweather said. “It’s important to engage in collaborative learning around concepts that drive effective diversity, equity and inclusion practices to broaden one’s overall intellectual perspective.”
Throughout each of the book study’s four weeks, master facilitators, equipped with experience in athletic administration, coaching, school administration, teaching and DEI consulting, will rotate in leading the discussion on all eight chapters of the book. Links to the webinars will be distributed to participants prior to the first discussion on October 19.
Master facilitators include Natalie Iwamoto, director of information at the Hawaii High School Athletic Association (HHSAA), who as a student-athlete at Kaimuki High School in Honolulu earned varsity letters in basketball, volleyball, softball and soccer, and later served as assistant coach for the school’s varsity and junior varsity girls basketball teams; Dr. Tamika Pollins, who for 23 years has held positions as a teacher, principal and school administrator, in addition to serving as the director of diversity, equity, access and inclusion at West Orange Public Schools in New Jersey and as a consultant for Pollins and Associates, providing educational services on social justice, strategic planning, diversity, equity, inclusion, communication and “think tanks;” Mark Robinson, an educator of 30 years, who currently teaches and coaches at St. Georges Technical High School in Middletown, Delaware, and has experienced a diverse educational journey as an educator, connecting with students from varied backgrounds, including at-risk youth in alternative settings; and Janet Mauldin, senior vice president of relocation for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Georgia Properties, who has served on the Metro Atlanta Relocation Council Board of Directors, its advisory council and as a member of other distinguished national relocation councils, in addition to supporting her three children in football, baseball, wrestling, competitive and sideline cheer as a mom and booster club member.
Authors of the book are entrepreneur Johnnie Johnson, a former high school, collegiate and professional athlete, and Dr. Michael E. Webber, an educator and engineer. They use decades of experience in education, coaching, mentoring and leadership to suggest eight concepts to help in forward moving and sustaining programs that support diversity, equity and inclusion with an attitude that promotes harmony and prosperity for all in education-based activities, the workplace, community, and for everyday living.
The NFHS first engaged Johnson and Webber early last year, ahead of adopting “From Athletics to Engineering” in April 2021 when its internal DEI team began studying the book. The entire NFHS staff followed with a study of its own from August to October, featuring discussion led by the internal NFHS DEI team. This past spring, several of the NFHS member state association staffs and boards participated in the initiative.
“Diversity, Equity and Inclusion” was one of five strategic priorities developed in 2021 by the NFHS Strategic Planning Committee, which was composed of 17 state association executive directors/assistant directors representing all eight NFHS sections, and is included in the 2021-2025 NFHS Strategic Plan.
“We believe the opportunity to involve thousands of individuals in our nation’s schools in the study of this book dealing with diversity, equity and inclusion is exactly what our membership envisioned in formulating the Strategic Plan,” said Dr. Karissa Niehoff, NFHS chief executive officer.
The NFHS’ efforts in leading this study have since received support from the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA), which is recommending participation in the book study to its network of more than 13,000 interscholastic athletic administrators. Similarly, the National Organization of Minority Athletic Directors (NOMAD) is encouraging participation in the book study to its membership.
At the conclusion of the National Book Study on November 9, participants will have an opportunity to register to facilitate a book study with their own groups.
To register and to learn more about the NFHS National Book Study, its authors and master facilitators, please visit meetings.nfhs.org/NFHSNationalBookStudy/. Questions regarding the book study may also be directed via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
or by phone to (317) 822-5715.