The Bangor School Department has hired two new employees who will be charged with advancing the school system’s efforts to fight racism and improve communications in emergencies.
Dana Carver-Bialer has been hired to serve as the district’s new Title IX and affirmative action coordinator, and Ray Phinney is the school department’s school safety and communications director, the Bangor School Department said Thursday.
Phinney started his role on Oct. 6 and Carver-Bialer began on Nov. 16. Both jobs were posted in July.
Former Superintendent Betsy Webb has said over the past year that the school department intended to hire a communications director as the administration and school committee have drawn criticism for being closed off.
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Webb announced in July that the Bangor School Department would hire an affirmative action and Title IX coordinator as one of a number of measures in response to a June BDN article in which five Black students shared their experiences with racism at the predominantly white Bangor High School. The position will focus on anti-discrimination and gender equity.
Vine Street School Principal Lynn Silk also serves as a Title IX officer for Bangor schools.
Carver-Bialer, who previously worked at the Health Equity Alliance in Bangor, will coordinate with Affirmative Action Officer Dan Chadbourne, who is primarily responsible for K-8 grades. Her office will be at Bangor High School.
“Tackling these issues in education are frequently the very topics that we are uncomfortable talking about,” she said. “To ensure student success, every student needs to feel represented, heard and respected.”
Phinney also coordinates emergency planning and responses with other Bangor School Department administrators. Bangor parents have called on the school department to communicate better during emergencies, such as when a social media threat prompted a district-wide lockdown in March 2019.
“I look forward to sharing the successes of our students, teachers and administrators as well as providing clear communication that informs the community as well as maintains the safety of the Bangor students,” Phinney said about his new role.