BFS

A Q&A With Dr. AnaMaria Correa, Director of Diversity, Equity and Belonging

When Dr. Correa arrived at Brooklyn Friends she did so with strong credentials. Dr. Correa has made an immediate impact on the world of BFS. Having worked in both the worlds of education and art in education—Dr. Correa has quickly merged her experience as a ‘bridge builder’ and ‘conscience raiser’, with her love for students, colleagues, and the BFS community and is ready for anything!

Q: You have a vast experience doing DEIB work, whether inside or outside of the education space, but what made it the right time for you to step back into an independent school at this point in time?

A: I studied education and am arts trained so whether it’s a public school or an independent school, it is the community that I have always been drawn to and I thought it was important to return to an independent school for a few reasons. One, the leader was very important to me. I needed to work for a person of color and a person who is aligned with mission, vision, and values for this work. Two, I know the importance of who I am in the PWI school space. I know what being in this space as Dr. Correa, a brown person with my humanity and my lived experience is sort of a counter‑narrative to the ways the identities show up in this school. It’s important for children to see me, for families to see me, and to engage with me and learn with me as partners. 

Q: Is there one moment in your short time here that stands out?

A: I would say that the most extraordinary thing that has happened so far this year is feeling seen and welcome. That is a new experience for me despite the fact that I have earned leadership positions. It is the first time in a historically white space where I have been fully seen and embraced. … Another moment or moments that nobody sees that I have experienced that are very touching are the little cards and tokens of appreciation that are left on my desk. Those move me to tears. 

Q: What has surprised you most about the BFS community that you may not have been expecting?

A: I think the all around joy and commitment of the people who work here, that demonstrated gusto that people bring to their work is something that is consistent from top to bottom across the board. Joy is a counter‑practice to opression. A lot of folks are not aware of the power joy has to heal and create community and belonging. 

Dr. AnaMaria Correa received her B.A. in Literature and Secondary Education from Hunter College, an M.F.A. in Theater from Brooklyn College and, in 2020, her Ph.D in Urban Education from The Graduate Center.

This article appears in our print magazine The Life for Fall/Winter 2021.

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