St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s Welcomes Candice Powell-Caldwell, Associate Director of Admission and Strategic Outreach, Engagement, and Diversity Initiatives

As we continue to settle into the 2021-2022 school year, St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s remains committed to fostering a diverse, equitable school community in which all members feel a sense of belonging. This has always been one of the central tenets of our founder Mother Ruth’s mission to create a school that reflects the diversity of the city surrounding it. 

One major step forward to that end is our hiring of Candice Powell-Caldwell in the newly created position of Associate Director of Admission and Strategic Outreach, Engagement, and Diversity Initiatives. 

Ms. Powell-Caldwell brings with her a wealth of experience from her 17 years as a classroom teacher, senior administrator, and DEI practitioner in independent schools. Most recently, Ms. Powell-Caldwell was the Director of the Office of Identity, Culture, and Institutional Equity at Horace Mann School. Prior to that, she was the inaugural Director of Equity and Inclusion at Newark Academy, and she taught at Mary McDowell Friends School. 

Earlier in her career, Ms. Powell-Caldwell was a Site Dean at SEEDS Access Changes Everything in Newark, New Jersey and an English teacher at the Oliver Scholars Summer Program. These two roles sparked her dedication to building strong and authentic family-school-community partnerships. Ms. Powell-Caldwell is also a faculty member on the NAIS Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC), where she has designed and led workshops for 1,900+ students across the U.S and beyond at the annual multicultural conference in support of student leadership and cross-cultural communication. Ms. Powell-Caldwell has presented at national and regional conferences, and her 2016 TedTalk on educating and advocating for children with Selective Mutism has received more than 63,000 views. Since 2016, she has run an independent educational consulting company providing training sessions for non-profit organizations, and for both public and private schools in inclusive leadership and cultural competence for administrators, trustees, teachers, students, and parents.

Ms. Powell-Caldwell earned her master’s degree in African American Studies at Columbia University and majored in English at McMaster University as an undergraduate. Originally from Canada, she lives in Millburn, New Jersey with her husband and their five children. 

Ms. Powell-Caldwell will be coordinating and implementing admission efforts for Early Childhood, Lower Division, and Upper Division, with a key focus on community outreach and engagement. As a member of the senior administrative team, Ms. Powell-Caldwell joins Kate Dworkoski, Director of Admission, and Soeurette Florio, Admission Associate. Ms. Powell-Caldwell will also serve as a member of the DEIL Team.

At St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s, our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Leadership (DEIL) Team is dedicated to working with faculty, staff, and the broader school community with an explicit focus on diversity, equity, inclusion, and multicultural fluency and support. The DEIL team serves as a facilitator, resource, and partner to St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s students, families, and faculty and staff by continuing the mission-critical work of community- and relationship-building. The DEIL team also helps our faculty foster an authentically multicultural school community for the benefit of all students and families. The work of the DEIL team is on-going and transformative, and it requires focus and commitment to ensure progress.

Her work as the liaison between St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s Diversity Committee of the Board of Trustees and the DEIL Team will be an important part of Ms. Powell-Caldwell’s focus in her new role. She will work with the DEI subcommittee of the Board of Trustees to establish and implement a strategic plan to advance St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s goals around DEI. She will also work with faculty, staff, and her fellow senior administrators to find new and meaningful ways to recruit, hire, and retain faculty and staff of color. Additionally, she will facilitate affinity groups and educational programs for parents, guardians, and faculty and staff that align with our school’s mission of uniting the community through difference. 

“When I learned about Mother Ruth’s moving story of courage and revolution within the founding of St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s, I knew I had found the place for me,” says Ms. Powell-Caldwell. “The focus of my career has always been on building community. To me, relationships and people are everything. In the world of admissions, this is key for developing and maintaining thriving school communities in which everyone feels seen, heard, and known.” 

We are so excited about Ms. Powell-Caldwell joining our team and helping us build upon this mission-focused work that is so central to our school’s ethos. While we have made incredible strides to ensure a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable experience for all members of St. Hilda’s and St. Hugh’s, our school community still has work to do—and we look forward to doing it together.