New consultant hired to assist the Diversity and Equity Task Force

Walker to train and guide the district towards equity


Photo courtesy of Dr. Terry Walker

Photo of Dr. Terry walker, an educational support service group consultant for Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Rudd & Romo (AALRR).

Though the Diversity and Equity Task Force formed in January of this year, a turning point, for the country and the district, came with the death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020. 

“Since then, [the task force has] really been focused a lot more on … racial justice … racial diversity and bringing healing and more attention to the needs in our district,” Coordinator for Safety and Equity and head of the Task Force Holly Baxter said. 

Dr. Terry Walker, an educational support service group consultant for Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Rudd & Romo, was hired as an independent consultant to provide training to staff, the Task Force, site and district administrators, Superintendent and board members. 

Walker’s career began over 25 years ago when she started out working as an elementary and secondary school teacher. From there, she was promoted to assistant principal and principal. She held those titles for around 18 years then went on to work with Los Angeles, Pomona and Upland unified school districts. 

According to the Director of Curriculum and Instructor Dr. Jay Greenlinger, it was Walker’s work with local school districts and her experience as a public school educator that “made her the right match [for OPUSD].”

Currently, Walker teaches at Cal State San Bernardino and works as a consultant with AALRR. Her work as a consultant typically consists of training and advising administrations on how to work towards and achieve equity. 

“She’s [going to] come in and guide [OPUSD] through the process of what to do, rather than coming in to say, ‘You need to do that,’” she’s coming in and saying ‘Okay, let’s figure out together, how will you, as a group, figure out what you need to do? What are the areas that need your attention? And what’s the best way for you to address those areas?’” Baxter said. 

Walker described her work similarly stating that she’s “[providing] guidance, direction, and support so that they can continue this work, even after [she’s] gone.” 

Walker’s passion for equity in education stems from her own childhood. Walker grew up in Los Angeles and bused to a predominantly white high school. It was the inequities she either faced or saw in the system that steered her towards education as a career path. 

“They were not ready for me,” Walker said. “But being able to support [districts] in a way that we talk about equity, it’s deeper than just looking at the cultural differences.” 

Walker was hired in September after receiving a unanimous vote from the Board. Baxter’s search for a consultant began by making a list of suggested people and began eliminating those who had other commitments that prevented them from working with the district. From there, a shorter list was curated and the individuals were interviewed by Baxter, Greenlinger, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Stew McGugan and District Superintendent Dr. Tony Knight.

Following the interviews, the four convened together to nominate a recommendation and Walker was presented to the Board where they asked her questions and she provided information regarding her background and qualifications via a 45 minutes presentation. 

“The Board made a decision. They voted yes, unanimously, which I’m very pleased about,” Baxter said. 

According to Baxter, Walker and Greenlinger, the district is working to achieve and address issues regarding equity and diversity.

“I’m very proud of our school district for being open to identify its shortcomings, and then to address them and to do it openly,” Greenlinger said.  I think, hopefully, [this] communicates to our students and their families that, you know, we’re taking this very seriously and we want to become the absolute best school district in all aspects we can.” 

Walker echoed that statement, stating that “[OPUSD students]  have a school board, and [a] superintendent that really is fighting and pushing and making sure that equitable services are provided to everyone, and that no matter who you are, no matter what your beliefs are, no matter what gender … none of those things matter. It’s all about you as an individual. And so to me, it doesn’t get any better than that, because it starts with your leadership.” 

Walker began training staff on Oct. 15 and is set to continue as an independent consultant for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year.