Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion



In February 2014, the Minority Inclusion Plan (MIP) was approved by the MIAA and MSSAA Board of Directors. MIP, as presented by Executive Director Bill Gaine to the Board of Directors had two major components:

Recruit staff to be more diverse and representative of those served by the organizations.

Restructure and revisit the MSSAA/MIAA plan and policies for minority inclusion throughout all areas of governance.

Since MIP’s inception under the guiding leadership of Bill Gaine, the task has been to build an organization where diversity and inclusion are an important part of our culture and who we are.

In the Fall 2016, as a direct response to the Minority Inclusion Plan (MIP), the MSAA and MIAA established the first ever Inclusion Committee. The Inclusion Committee was comprised of a variety of individuals and community partners. Since renamed the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee (DEIC), the DEIC strives to redefine what DEI means, how schools practice, monitor, and evaluate DEI programs and services, and to provide DEI leadership trainings to increase the capacity to meet the DEI needs across the state. For the MSAA/MIAA memberships, it means creating an opportunity for all students to participate in interscholastic athletics.

Following the development of the Inclusion Committee in 2016, the MSAA/MIAA hosted its first Inclusion Symposium at our Franklin headquarters in May 2017, which reached more than 80 participants. The committee then began planning for its first Inclusion Summit for students, which was held at Holy Cross College in January, 2018. 125 middle and high school students attended the initial summit.

In May 2018, the DEI Committee hosted their 2nd Annual Inclusion Symposium in which 90 educators attended. Based on feedback from the membership after the inaugural summit, the summit was moved to December 2018 and 323 students attended the event, again hosted by Holy Cross. The 2019 Symposium had 85 registrations and the 2020 DEI Summit held at Framingham State University in January had 283 participants.


To promote diversity and encourage participation, interaction, and understanding in our ever-increasing diverse society.

To make leadership roles within the MSAA/MIAA accessible to all athletic directors, coaches, and students, including those who are racially, ethnically, culturally diverse, women, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, and persons with disabilities.

To challenge the members of the association to leverage differences as strengths. Balance DEI initiatives and sports initiatives

To promote partnerships to assist in creating and implementing strategies that will promote our mission of inclusiveness, awareness, and acceptance.

Provide professional learning programming, resources which schools can access and utilize to help create a more inclusive space for students in their schools and communities.

Committee Members

Michael Rubin – Liaison- MSAA/MIAA Assistant Director

Current Members – listed in Alphabetical Order

Ashley Bailey-O’KeefeDirector of DEI. Collegiate Charter School of Lowell
Dr. Carrol Blake-Founder & President, Blake Associates
Mackenson Charles
– Black economic Council MA
Thomas Claiborne,  Athletic Director, Catholic Memorial 
Steve Martin –  Assistant Principal, Woburn High School
Joel Giacobozzi Principal, Watertown High School,
Patricia GonzalezDirector of Athletics, Newton South HS, *Co-Chair*
Steve Kendall, AD, Ayer Shirley Regional School District
Christopher LaBreck, Principal, Chocksett Middle School
Landon Callahan, Safe Schools Program for LGBTQ Students
Nampeera LugiraPrincipal, Academy of the Pacific Rim
Kathy LutzUnified Sports Manager, Special Olympics MA
Ted McCarthy, Principal, Sutton Memorial HS *Chair*
Gwen NaulsGuidance Counselor, Southeastern RVT High School
Lynsey PagePrincipal, Topsfield Vocational Academy
Jeff PerrottiFounding Director, DESE Safe Schools for LGBTQ Students,
Kevin RossBoston Supervisor, Becoming a Man (BAM)
Stephanie SibleyRegional Principal,  Boston Public School
Henry Turner, Principal, Newton North High School
Joseph WalshPresident, Adaptive Sports New England

Founding Committee Members

Special Thanks to the founding members of the Inclusion Committee for their work.

Michael Rubin- Liaison- MSAA/MIAA Assistant Director, Rachel Moo-Liaison– MIAA Assistant Director, Evan Bjorklund, General Counsel, MA Office of Disability, Dr. Carrol Blake, Blake Associates, Dawud Brown, MSAA Technology Coordinator, Mackenson Charles, Athletic Program Coordinator, Scholar Athletes, David D’Arcangelo, Director, Massachusetts Office of Disability, Dr. Omar Easy, Director of Organizational Assessment, City of Everett, Pam Garramone, Positive Psychology Speaker, Patricia Gonzalez, Director of Athletics, Newton South High School, Dr. William Henderson, Retired Principal, Boston Public Schools, Albert Holland, Retired Principal, Boston Public Schools, Rashaun Martin, Supervisor of Social Studies, Haverill Public Schools, Lindsa McIntyre, Headmaster, Jeremiah E. Burke High School, Mary Beth McMahon, President and CEO, Special Olympics of Massachusetts, Jerome Singleton Jr., Paralympic Athlete, Marilyn Slattery, Assistant Principal, Malden High School, Dr. Dwayne Thomas, Associate Professor of Sport Management, Lasell College, Garin Veris, Director of Athletics, Massachusetts Maritime Academy, Joseph Walsh, President, Adaptive Sports New England


The MSAA/MIAA host two annual events that address current topics in:

  •  Racial and ethnic diversity;
  • Gender equity;
  • Inclusion of LGBTQ students, coaches and administrators; and
  • Inclusion of students, coaches and administrators who have disabilities
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Summit

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Summit
The initial Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Summit was hosted in January 2018 at the College of the Holy Cross and reached more than 125 middle and high school students. Since that time, the program has grown to host over 300 student and adult attendees from across the state.

7th Annual MIAA/MSAA Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Summit

January 19, 2024
Program – Click on link for program

6th Annual MIAA/MSAA Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Summit

January 20, 2023
Program – Click on link for program

5th Annual MIAA/MSAA Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Summit

January 21, 2022
Program – Click on link for program

4th Annual MIAA/MSAA Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Summit
January 19-21, 2021
Program – Click on link for program

3rd Annual MIAA/MSAA Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Summit
January 13, 2020
Video – https://vimeo.com/402272918
Program –Click on link for program

2nd Annual MIAA/MSAA Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Summit
December 14, 2018
Video – https://vimeo.com/327974178
Program – Click on link for program

Inaugural MIAA/MSAA Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Summit
January 18, 2018
Video – link for video coming soon
Program – Click on link for program

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Symposium

Following the development of the DEI committee in 2016, The MSAA/MIAA hosted its first Inclusion Symposium in May 2017, which reached more than 80 school administrators, athletic directors, teachers, coaches and school personnel. Since that time, the program has continued to grow in size and is conducted annually for school staff members.

7th Annual MSAA/MIAA Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Symposium
May 3, 2024
Program – Click on link for program

6th Annual MSAA/MIAA Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Symposium
May 5, 2023
Program – Click on link for program

5th Annual MSAA/MIAA Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Symposium
May 12, 2022
Program – Click on link for program

4th Annual MSAA/MIAA Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Symposium
May 13, 2021
Program – Click on link for program

3rd Annual MSAA/MIAA Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Symposium
May 01, 2019
Program – Click on link for program

2nd Annual MSAA/MIAA Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Symposium
May 18, 2018
Program – Click on link for program

Inaugural MSAA/MIAA Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Symposium
May 19, 2017
Program – link for program coming soon

DEI Leadership
The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee was formed to support all of the MSAA/MIAA constituents through the five pillars of Educational Athletics and serve in an advisory capacity for both associations.


The MSAA/MIAA DEI committee is committed to promoting social inclusion and attitudes of nondiscrimination towards cultures, gender, race, disabilities, sexual orientation and religion. Massachusetts has nation leading programs in support of LGBTQ individuals, Special Olympics, Unified Sports and Para Sports inclusion integrated with MSAA/MIAA sports and Educational Athletics programs. For example, the MSAA/MIAA and Special Olympics are partners in Unified Track and Field as well as Unified Basketball. Approximately 100 schools participate in Unified Track and Field and over 80 schools participate in Unified Basketball. We are looking to grow all inclusion programs and be the model for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion that other state associations can emulate.

ADL Education

Resources for Educators, Parents & Families

Challenging Anti-Asian Bias and Acting as an Ally. This collection page of resources for educators and families can help open doors to conversations with young people about anti-Asian bias and how to engage in ally behavior.

Why are States Trying to Ban Transgender Athletes? Use this lesson plan to help students explore their own experiences with playing sports and participating in other activities and learn about bills that aim to limit transgender athletes from participating in school sports.

National African American Museum
Connect 3 Resources

Connect 3 Resources

This week’s focus for Connect 3 is Race, Racism and Law Enforcement.

As our country continues to grapple with the issue of police-involved deaths of Black and Latinx men, young people, educators and families are looking for ways to discuss this important topic.

1: Students

The Hate U Give, a young adult novel, tells a necessary and powerful story about what happens when an African American teenager witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood friend at the hands of the police. Use our Sutori activities to read and reflect with young people about issues of bias, stereotypes and police violence toward African Americans.

2: Teachers

In our society, public conversations about race and racism have increased in volume and intensity. Race Talk provides tips and strategies for engaging young people in thoughtful conversations about race and racism.

3: Families and Communities

Use our latest Table Talk, George Floyd, Race and Law Enforcement, to explore and discuss with your children the recent death of George Floyd within the larger context of systemic racism and the Black Lives Matter movement.

‌We continue to send best wishes for safety and good health to all.


Haley House
Massachusetts Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) Leadership Council
An Open Letter to School Leaders on the Racial Uprisings in Response to Police Violence Against Black Americans

Dear School Leaders,

None of us is doing ok right now, especially our black students. Each horrific incident of state-sanctioned violence against black Americans intensifies the trauma for black students, already suffering disproportionate isolation and fear from the COVID-19 pandemic. And you, leaders of the learning organizations that are central to so many of their lives, are reaching out to them with solace and support.

At this point in our history, we all recognize that they—and the schools we lead—need much more from us. Words of sympathy are not enough. This moment in time calls on all of us to reject the complicit message of silence. This moment demands our outrage. This moment demands that we reaffirm our role as champions of equity. This moment calls us to loudly condemn not only overt racial violence but also the less obvious structural racism that permeates every dimension of American life—economics, health, the environment, housing, and, yes, education.

This moment in time calls on us as leaders to build our own cultural competence to recognize and address the racial disparities in our discipline policies and our academic systems, and in our use of school resource officers. It calls on us to lead conversations with all students and stakeholders that will build culturally responsive schools. These are difficult and challenging conversations, but we have to lead that dialogue in service to our schools and communities. Embracing racial equity in schools is a service, not only to our black students but to all of us. Our role is to advance our schools and influence the nation toward becoming the best version of ourselves—worthy of our highest ideals and intolerant of the idea that one man has the right to end the life of another because of his skin color.

Like you, NASSP is outraged by the recent displays of fatal violence against black people and the abrogation of our right to assemble peacefully. We echo the frustrations of peaceful protesters and the urgency for justice felt by all citizens of conscience. But we are not helpless to effect change. Far from it. As leaders who have risen to the challenges imposed on us by COVID-19, we recognize the vital role we play in building a more just future for all our students. NASSP commits to accompanying you on our shared journey of empathy and learning until one day we can finally declare the horrors that ended the lives of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor a thing of the past. We are better than this.

Thank you for all you do to build an ever more just future that we all—black, brown, and white—will share. And thank you for allowing NASSP to play a small part in your amazing work.

JoAnn Bartoletti
Executive Director

Peter Kruszynski

Message from Dr. Karissa L. Niehoff, NFHS Executive Director

Message from Dr. Karissa L. Niehoff, NFHS
Executive Director

High School Sports, Activities: Opportunity for Everyone to be Included, Accepted

Dr. Karissa L. Niehoff, NFHS Executive Director

Seemingly overnight, the focus across the country is not on the COVID-19 pandemic or the restarting of sports. The horrific tragedy in Minneapolis and the ensuing protests in major cities across our nation have resulted in a sobering wake-up call that there are issues that must be addressed as fervently as the development of a vaccine for the novel coronavirus.

These are worrisome scenes from across the country and are signs that we have much work to do regarding racial injustice and equality for everyone. Many of the cities ravaged this past week are homes to our member state associations, including the city of Indianapolis where the NFHS and the Indiana High School Athletic Association reside.

In due time, the national health crisis will subside, businesses hopefully will be able to re-open and people will be able to return to their jobs. But what is the timetable for an end to racial injustice in our nation? If the clashes of this past week do not provide the necessary signal that these issues are more important than anything we have ever faced and could make or break our nation, nothing will.

Sports often provide an escape from the ugly scenes on the news. With high school sports – like most other sports – sidelined during the pandemic, we cannot “escape” the scenes of the past week. Perhaps, for the moment, that is a good thing as the nation can collectively focus on one goal.

That goal is to treat everyone the same, treat each other with respect, regardless of the color of one’s skin – the very fundamentals of high school sports and activities in our nation’s schools where all genders, all races, all religions – as in teamwork – work together to accomplish a goal. Nationwide, we have much work to do.

Our hearts are broken at what we have seen and heard this past week. Our thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to the families of Dreasjon Reed, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and many other African Americans who have lost their lives in racially motivated tragedies just this year.

We must value the life of every single person in our country, and we must continue to provide opportunities for all people to succeed. Everyone must be a part of the solution, including participants, coaches and others in high school sports and performing arts in our nation’s schools. And to those students, coaches, officials and school administrators who represent these targeted populations, the NFHS stands with these groups for positive change.

By the end of the sixth day of the recent protests, one thing seemed to be crystal clear: the lack of a strong national voice emphatically calling for Americans to value the life of every single person – calling for an end to prejudiced, bigoted behavior.

We believe there is no better national voice than high school sports and performing arts programs, where opportunities exist for boys and girls of all races, all religions, all levels of ability to work together, to trust each other and to eventually make a difference on the streets of our nation.

Is everything perfect in education-based athletics and performing arts? Certainly not as we noted in this column last fall after reports of a couple of incidents of racism and disrespect had surfaced. We stated that high schools must establish a culture that values the worth of every single person – both players on the school’s team and players on the opposing team. There must be a no-tolerance policy regarding behavior that shows disrespect for another individual.

School-based sports and activities provide that unique opportunity to be part of a team and to provide identity, a sense of self-worth and a reason for engaging in academics. In high school sports and activities, all students are included, accepted and feel like a valued member of a community. Those protesting this past week are demanding much of the same.

When it comes to the opportunity that sports provides to bring everyone together, no one said it better earlier this week than Patrick Mahomes, the star quarterback of the Kansas City Chiefs. Mahomes said he was thankful that he had grown up in locker rooms with people from “every race, every background” and he hopes America “can learn from the injustices that we have witnessed to become more like the locker room where everyone is accepted.”

In one of our columns last fall, we stated that racism was one of our greatest concerns nationwide. By mid-March, we were sure that fighting the COVID-19 pandemic was our greatest concern. This past week has been a rude awakening that indeed dealing with racial injustice MUST take center stage.

Dr. Karissa L. Niehoff is in her second year as executive director of the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) in Indianapolis, Indiana. She is the first female to head the national leadership organization for high school athletics and performing arts activities and the sixth full-time executive director of the NFHS, which celebrated its 100th year of service during the 2018-19 school year. She previously was executive director of the Connecticut Association of Schools-Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference for seven years.


Resources for BPS Educators on Race, Racism and Police Violence

Please note: All educators must make a deliberate, accurate self-assessment in partnership with their school leaders and peers about opening up these conversations. For all teachers, particularly White teachers, our vital role requires us to ask ourselves how much our own academic, personal, and professional journeys have prepared us to hold these deep, complex, and often profoundly painful and vulnerable discussions. For example, only those trained in restorative justice skills should facilitate restorative circles, but more broadly, we must each consider our level of readiness for setting and implementing discussion norms, leading these conversations, and following up when the lessons surface deeper needs.

Click here for resources: 

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