'Welcome to My World' | Terri Roberts-Leonard publishes first children's book [Photo 1]

Center for Diversity and Inclusion Director Terri Roberts-Leonard poses with her new children's book, "Danda the Panda."

After nearly nine years at Franklin College, Terri Roberts-Leonard will be leaving her position as director of diversity and inclusion in January to serve as the first diversity, equity and inclusion coordinator for Carmel Clay Schools.

Starting Jan. 19, she will be providing trainings and leading programs around diversity, equity and inclusion, developing hiring practices to hire and retain diverse staff, creating and tracking diversity and equity-related goals for the district, and tracking student academic achievement data in the school district.

Roberts-Leonard was vocal upon the announcement of the college’s diversity initiative in August, warning that the college needs to be careful not to over-utilize its few Black students. She also said that the changes being made were ones she had been advocating for since her hiring in 2012.

Roberts-Leonard is the only full-time staff member at the Center for Diversity and Inclusion. Kalyn Johnson, the newly hired program coordinator, splits her time with residence life duties.

In her time at Franklin College, Roberts-Leonard spearheaded many diversity initiatives including Safe Zone 2, an upper-level LGBTQ education training course; the B.O.S.S. Mentoring Program, which pairs underrepresented Franklin College students with professionals in the community; Brother to Brother, a peer-led role-modeling program for minority male students; and the Diversity Lunch and Learn Series, which provides faculty and staff the opportunity to learn more about various dimensions of diversity.

Outside of her work at Franklin College, Roberts-Leonard released a children’s book focused on adoption called “Danda the Panda: Welcome to My World” in November. In 2017, Roberts-Leonard was honored as a Champion of Diversity by the Indianapolis Minority Business Magazine.

According to the Indy Star, the Carmel Clay School Board approved her hiring in a 5-0 vote to approve the consent agenda which included hiring at its meeting Monday evening. Over 100 people applied for the position.

Roberts-Leonard declined to comment on her departure at this time.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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