New Hanover County Schools




Equity Workgroup

The Equity Workgroup is a selection of district staff who meet once a month and are dedicated and committed to improving equity within the district. The group has been meeting regularly for over two years and was instrumental in helping to form the Equity Diversity and Inclusion Board Committee. Today both groups work in collaboration to increase awareness and a capacity for learning in areas of equity in the community. Members of the NHCS Equity Workgroup are below:
Dr. LaChawn Smith
Dr. Lachawn Smith graduated from UNCW in 1991 with a BA in Special Education. Demonstrating her love of learning she completed her Doctoral Degree in Educational Leadership from UNCW in 2011. She has been happily married for more than 25 years and has 2 living children. During her 29 years in the field, she has held the position of special education teacher, assistant principal, principal, principal coach, K-12 Director of Instructional Services, Assistant Superintendent for Instruction and Academic Accountability and is currently the Deputy Superintendent for New Hanover County Schools.
Jakki Jethro
Dr. Jakki S. Jethro is the Director of Elementary Education and Federal Programs for New Hanover County Schools. She believes in order to strive toward more equitable practices, we must first recognize the inequities that exist. Her commitment to the work of equity is based upon a trust in our ability and calling to create healthy communities and influence a more promising future for every individual.
Bobby Garcia
Bobby Garcia is an eighth-grade science teacher at Williston Middle School.  His passion for education stems from a core belief that all students – regardless of race, gender, or socioeconomic status – should be provided with the tools and skills necessary to be successful throughout their education journey and post-education. Equity is the key to success for all students!
Caress Clegg
Caress Clegg is a member of both the equity workgroup and Equity Diversity and Inclusion Committee. As an African American who is a part of the LGBTQIA+ community, she is dedicated to inclusion for all and ensuring that opportunities and resources that the district provides are available and communicated to families across the community with an emphasis on those in marginalized communities. Caress currently works in the Communications and Outreach Division of NHCS and is pursuing a Masters in Communication Management and Resolution from UNCW. 
Rachel Greer
Rachel Greer serves staff, students, and families of New Hanover County as the Principal of Codington Elementary. In her experience as an administrator of Pre-K through High School grades in the mountains, piedmont, and coast of North Carolina, it is evident that the most pressing issue in education is equity.  Her passion is to advocate for students to have access to equality through excellence in education.
Elizabeth Felts
Elizabeth Felts is an English and Service-Learning teacher at New Hanover High School. She was named the 2020-2021 New Hanover County School’s High School Teacher of the Year and Overall Educator of the Year. She is dedicated to empowering students, educators and members of the community to reimagine public education that best supports each and every student.
Tyler Shumate
Tyler Shumate is a 5th-grade teacher in NHCS, currently serving at Alderman Elementary. Equity is such an important issue in the classroom as schools work to dismantle centuries of injustice and inequity in education. He is dedicated to equity work because he wants to ensure that ALL students have an advocate fighting for them in every level of education from the classroom to the BOE and beyond.
Meranda Kohlenberg
Meranda Kohlenberg is a School Counselor at Winter Park Elementary. She is dedicated to equity because she believes every person deserves the chance to be personally and academically successful without barriers beyond their control. She is passionate about all of her students being given the opportunities they need to succeed and wants to continue to develop an understanding of inequalities so she can advocate and help create growth and change.
Andrea Raines
Andrea Raines is the Beginning Teacher Program and Staff Development Specialist for New Hanover County Schools. She is dedicated to making our schools a place where all students are seen and heard. Recruiting minority teachers, providing our unrepresented students' curriculum that tells their story and supporting our teachers in becoming advocates for equity in their classrooms and schools.
Loretta Kimble
Loretta Kimble is an assistant principal at Trask Middle School. Ms. Kimble is dedicated to providing a voice for the voiceless who want a better, more diverse, and inclusive education for their children, a better quality of life for their families, and overall change in the NHC community.
Al O'Briant
Al O’ Briant is the Director of Secondary Education. He has been a member of the Equity Workgroup and EDI Committee since its inception.