- Faculty Essays
The work of inclusion and belonging at St. Andrew’s is to lift up the voices of our students, faculty, and staff; to appreciate the diversity of our community; and to fully recognize each other’s humanity. Our classrooms, our residential spaces, and our playing fields offer countless opportunities for us to embrace inclusive practices, celebrate differences, and consider our collective responsibility to create the just and equitable world in which we want to live.
To share a bit about myself, I am a native Delawarean who also calls South Carolina “home.” I am a fourth-generation educator who follows a long maternal line of Black women who’ve served both within the classroom and in school administration. My great-grandmothers were teachers and principals in segregated high schools in Montgomery, Alabama. My grandmother and mother, both English teachers, were outstanding influences in my life—and are the reasons I chose English as a major in college. My late mother, Alice Carson Tisdale, was selected as District Teacher of the Year in Smyrna, Delaware, in 1986. As one of a handful of Black teachers in the district at that time, this distinction was one in which she, and our entire family, took great pride. My mother retired in 2019 after 21 years in secondary education, and a subsequent 25 years of service as a college administrator.
Standing on the shoulders of these women, I see education as a calling and feel grateful to work at a school where my talents can be put to good use. I am a very proud graduate of Spelman College, a private, historically black, women's liberal arts college in Atlanta, Georgia. I completed an M.A. at Temple University and a doctorate at Emory University. My career has taken me all over the country, and I have had the great fortune of working in both higher and secondary education settings. To share what I’ve learned as a student, as an educator, and as a servant leader with this community is an incredible privilege.
My decision to join St. Andrew’s as a dean of inclusion and belonging was not made lightly. In my first conversation with Head of School Joy McGrath ’92, however, I began to understand just how special this school is and how committed our students, faculty, and staff are to the practice of inclusion and belonging. When I visited the school last spring, I met with students who were enthusiastic about rolling up their sleeves and working diligently to ensure that St. Andrew’s is a place where all students can thrive. I was also deeply inspired by the faculty and staff whose unwavering commitment to students is unmatched. I knew, after that visit, that St. Andrew’s was not only a place where I could be impactful, but a place where every day would offer me—and my family—opportunities, as American author and social activist bell hooks writes, “to work in community, and to be changed by community.”
I am honored to be entrusted with the awesome responsibility of building upon the foundation laid by those committed to this important work at St. Andrew’s before me: Treava Milton ’83, Stacey Duprey ’85 P’04,’10, Giselle Furlonge ’03, and Devin Duprey ’10. I lift these names up to acknowledge the considerable contributions of alumnae of color whose dedication to advancing diversity and inclusion at St. Andrew’s, both past and present, cannot be overstated. My goals for this year extend from their work and include developing a formal infrastructure for the office of inclusion and belonging; offering effective and meaningful diversity education programming for students, faculty, and staff; and providing robust educational opportunities for affinity group faculty leaders and affinity group members.
I look forward to working in collaboration with colleagues, students, parents, and alumni to meet these broad goals and to reconnect. I welcome your ideas, your curiosity, and your honest feedback on our work together. I am deeply grateful for your generous support and am excited about all that is to come!
Danica Tisdale Fisher
Dean of Inclusion and Belonging
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