Diversity and Inclusion

University School of Milwaukee believes that, in order to develop students as leaders, learners, and citizens, we must foster a diverse and inclusive community for students, their families, and our faculty and staff. USM embraces diversity in all of its various forms, including race, ethnicity, national origin, socioeconomic status, religion, sexual orientation, ability, gender, and age. 

This commitment is reflected in our mission statement, which drives us to provide “… an exceptional PK–12 independent school education in a supportive, inclusive community built on the foundation of our Common Trust.” The Common Trust calls for us to treat everyone at the school with respect, trust, honesty, fairness, and kindness.

Recognition of and respect for diverse backgrounds and experiences is fundamental to building a learning community where students learn to think broadly, critically, and independently. We strive to ensure that the uniqueness of every individual is celebrated. We believe all members of this community should feel empowered as they live and work equitably together. Our students leave USM well-prepared for the opportunities of a diverse world because they have been provided with a supportive environment in which to reach their full potential.

We know that our students can only be truly prepared for college and life if they are exposed to thinking and viewpoints beyond their own. And we know that our teachers and staff can only aid in that responsibility when they feel supported and part of this community. As the premier educational institution in the state of Wisconsin, USM has a critical responsibility to create a vibrant school culture that reflects the world our students will help to shape upon graduation and beyond.

We invite you to explore and learn more about the many ways in which we support diversity at USM.

In Our Community

Diversity and inclusion work at University School of Milwaukee is viewed as a shared responsibility by all of the adult educators in our community. We believe cultural competency is a requirement for every faculty and staff member as we recognize the complexity of this important awareness and work. Teaching empathy and respect is a requirement at the school as we aspire to prepare our talented student body to be ethical leaders, both now and in the future. To this end, we have an ongoing cultural competency professional development plan for faculty as well as developmentally appropriate curricular emphasis in prekindergarten through 12th grade that ensure lessons and experiences for our student body. We continue to work on updating each of these areas as the needs change in our rapidly evolving community and within the context of the broader local, regional, national, and international communities.
The wide variety of individual and group student needs that can arise in the area of diversity and inclusion have reinforced our belief that there needs to be more than one person for students to go to with questions or concerns. Each of the affinity groups in the Upper School has an advisor who is readily available to students. Each Upper School student also has an individual advisor. Additionally, we suggest the following contact people at each division level:

Upper School
  • Stuart Cushman, head of Upper School
  • Charlie Housiaux '02, Upper School dean of students
  • Elizabeth Perry, Upper School counselor
Middle School
  • Elaine Griffin, head of Middle School
  • Elina Kats, Middle School counselor
Lower School
  • Michael Tauscher, head of Preschool and Lower School
  • Paul Salerno, Lower School counselor
  • Isabel Ornelas-Davila, director of human resources

For questions about cultural competency professional development or curricular coverage please contact each division’s assistant head:
  • Upper School: Sue Bolly
  • Middle School: Brad Dunning
  • Lower School: Gina Bongiorno

SEEK Diversity Committee

SEEK's (Speak, Engage, Empower, Know) mission is to cultivate a supportive school community that instills in all members an appreciation for individuals and their diversity. To educate ourselves and others, we ask important questions; gather helpful resources; encourage thoughtful conversations and advocate for increased equity, opportunity, and involvement. To prepare our students for the opportunities of a global and diverse world, our group promotes an inclusive education in a pluralistic setting and makes recommendations for school improvement.
Prekindergarten (age 3) - Grade 12 • Independent • Coeducational
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