After 10 years in education and an early career in corporate banking, Taquil Foster Lewis has stepped out of the classroom to become Cape’s first coordinator of diversity, equity and inclusion.
In this new role, Foster Lewis said she will support district leaders, administrators and staff in ensuring all children have what they need to reach their full academic and social potential.
“I do that through the curation and facilitation of professional development, direct coaching and support for educators, establishing and sustaining community and student partnerships, human resources recruitment and retention efforts, curriculum development, data analysis, and the mobilization of district and building initiatives,” she said.
Foster Lewis said the position resulted from a state-level push to ensure equity in schools and broaden the scope of instruction by relating content to individual students.
“That means allowing our kids to teach us who they are, where they come from and how their experiences relate to what we’re trying to provide them,” she said. “That kids can see themselves in content and make connections is important.”
Most people are proud of their backgrounds, norms and culture, Foster Lewis said, and educators need to position themselves to learn as much from their students as they expect students to learn from them. Teachers might feel overwhelmed trying to connect with every student, Foster Lewis said, but teachers and students both need to feel they can share their ideas and know they’re being heard.
Foster Lewis previously taught business at Caesar Rodney High, where she served on several equity teams and helped develop the equity plan recently approved by that school board, and in the Appoquinimink district. She was also a Jobs for Delaware Graduates master specialist in schools including Chipman Middle, Dover High and Positive Outcomes Charter.
After receiving her bachelor’s degree in business from Howard University, Foster Lewis was an analyst for two years at JP Morgan Chase, where she worked with people from many different countries and cultures. She also served a human resources internship, which she said developed her understanding of the need to retain and diversify staff.
“We are all citizens of a global community,” she said. “The work of equity is all-encompassing.”
As a Gates Millennium Scholar, Foster Lewis returned to school to earn a master’s degree in teaching with a concentration in business education from Delaware State University and a doctorate in educational leadership from Wilmington University.
“I am blessed to transition from the corporate world to education and help students transition to postsecondary opportunities,” she said.
A Milford High grad, Foster Lewis grew up in Lincoln, where many of her extended family still reside.
“I am passionate about coming back to the community and giving back in a way others have given to me,” she said.
Foster Lewis lives in Camden with her husband and two children, an 8-month-old baby boy and a daughter who is in second grade at Sussex Montessori School. She enjoys traveling, and spending her spare time with family and friends.