About MBA

Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity and Inclusion

Montgomery Bell Academy believes that diversity and inclusion (defined as those with different Race, Sexual Orientation, Cultural Identity, Socio-economic Status, Religion, and Physical Ability) centrally inform the quality of the school. Our commitment to develop gentlemen, scholars, and athletes demands an underlying commitment to ensure that all members of the MBA community are valued and respected, that our programs and curriculum engage complex histories and present realities, and that our extra-curricular offerings inculcate empathy and friendship among students whose diversity spans race, religious preference, physical ability, sexual orientation, and socio-economic status.
MBA believes that racism, sexism, religious intolerance, classism, and any other form of prejudice divides and damages our civil society. We further believe that, as an educational institution devoted to the formation of gentlemanly character, the qualities of inclusive and diverse communities should define each of our students as they learn to become gentlemen: respect, humility, kindness, empathy, and courage. Developing and reinforcing these values within our boys is essential to our individual and collective well-being in an ever-changing world. Finally, we believe that our community is enriched by differing and even conflicting perspectives and life experiences. By fostering an environment in which all boys feel welcomed and accepted, we will provide a richer and more transformative education.
MBA firmly believes that strength of community will stimulate honest, individual growth, self-awareness, and inspire us to build life-long, authentic friendships, born out of an aspiration to be gentlemen, scholars and athletes. To that end, the school pursues a wide array of institutional practices, events, and strategic plans at the administrative, faculty, student, and community levels in service of our goal to build a diverse and inclusive school. Some of these activities are detailed in the drop-down menus at right.
Despite the aristocratic origins of the term ‘gentleman,’ MBA affirms its value and adaptability as a pedagogical tool in the 21st century. When we speak of gentlemanly characteristics, we speak of character attributes, nuanced and rich knowledge acquisition, and social engagement that distinguish gentlemen. Embracing diversity complements the part of our mission that aspires to help boys become good men.

List of 5 frequently asked questions.

  • Administration & Curriculum

    Although the students, faculty, and staff of MBA foster diverse learning and conversation by virtue of their being in community, MBA has further committed itself to ensuring that its curriculum includes diverse authors, thinkers, and leaders. From class-wide trips to sites like the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute to a compulsory study of the Harlem Renaissance, MBA students will engage with the complexities of the past and present through careful learning, analysis, and discussion. At the administrative level, MBA has organized a school-wide Diversity and Inclusion Committee that meets regularly to assess the school’s progress and to identify strategies for continued growth. MBA also has added both a Director and Associate Director of Diversity and Inclusion. MBA administrators also complete summer reading assignments pertaining to issues of inclusion, as well as participating in parent discussions focused on diversity. Through the advisory system at MBA, administrators and faculty have further developed channels through which students feel comfortable discussing their daily experiences, whether related to social difference or otherwise.
  • Students

    The composition of our student body is one measure of MBA's success in fostering a diverse community. Over the past 10 years, our percentage of students of color has grown from 9% to 18% according to the latest NAIS report. Additionally, our geographic diversity has expanded; Our upcoming (2023-2024) student body comes from more than 50 zip codes and 70 sending schools with this year's incoming students representing 31 zip codes and 43 sending schools. Relatedly, MBA has expanded an investment in the need-based financial aid program of the school, growing the budget from $1.1 million to $3 million and to 20% of the student population.
  • Faculty and Staff

    MBA endeavors to hire faculty members that represent a range of perspectives and backgrounds both personal and professional to enhance the mission of the school.  The school offers competitive compensation packages and strives to attract and retain the best faculty possible that reflects our commitment to diversity. Additionally, in 2017 MBA established  the Ralph Ellison Chair for Teaching to acknowledge and celebrate a faculty member who regularly contributes a diverse perspective to the community. The MBA internship program also provides an entry point for recent college graduates to explore independent school education. Such a program attracts candidates to campus that might not otherwise consider employment at a school like MBA.

    As a committee we are here to Educate, Support, and Connect. We have eight sub committees that are committed to supporting our students, faculty, parents, and community in a variety of ways. 
    Professional Development/Faculty Focus Pat Killian, Camille Hackney, Josh Clark, and Michelle Ardisson 
    This group strives to make sure that current faculty and staff are supported and equipped to discuss topics related to D&I both in and outside of the classroom and to become more knowledgeable on these topics.  

    Student-led Clubs - Michael Kelly, Ying Zhang, Jake Lawrence, Brad Perry, Pat Killian, Camille Hackney, and JoAnn Welch
    This group supports student-led clubs, planned events, and programming. This committee will also be responsible for relaying information to designated student leaders about items on which the D&I Committee as a whole is working.

    Mothers/Fathers Club Liaison - Ric Radar and Jamie O'Neal    
    This group works with parents to inform on different initiatives and programs the committee is working on and support any initiatives and events they are leading. 

    Outreach/Admissions/BIG Red Blast - Tim Boyd and D’On Coofer    
    This group will aid in increasing MBA’s visibility in the community, particularly within groups that are currently underrepresented at MBA. The responsibilities include working on ideas to help with admissions, hiring of new faculty, expanding and creating extracurricular programs for current and prospective students, and gaining alumni support for D&I initiatives on campus. 

    Alumni Liaison - Gracie Bassett and D'On Coofer    
    This group seeks to connect with alumni to understand their experiences and how that could help support our current students.

    Board Liaison - Gracie Bassett, Caroline Scholer, and Ronnie McMahan 
    The goal of this group is to ensure that the goals and initiatives of the D&I Committee are communicated to the Board of Trustees.  

    D&I Investigation - Annie B. Williams, Caroline Scholer, Jamie O'Neal, D'On Coofer, and Michelle Ardisson 
    This group supports the Deans’ Office in investigating incidents on campus related to D&I reported incidents when requested.
    Student Education and Restorative Support - Caroline Scholer, Brad Perry, Tim Boyd, and Jamie O'Neal    
    This group focuses on providing education and support to students who have been associated with an incident related to D&I concerns. This could include cultural sensitivity training and/or activities around restorative justice. 
  • Student Groups and Programs

    There are a number of student clubs that explore the value of difference and diversity in the school community. Club meetings are open to all students and faculty. An example of some of the club offerings are:
    • African American Studies
    • Asian Cultural Club
    • Fellowship of Christian Athletes
    • French Club
    • German Club
    • Hispanic Achievers
    • Islamic Studies Club
    • Jewish Advisory Group
    • Martin Luther King, Jr. Society
    • Tearing Down the Walls
    MBA also offers 15 international exchanges, which broaden a boy’s cultural understandings through an immersion experience. Through these exchanges, students develop a heightened understanding of the politics and culture of their host countries. Our students will spend from four weeks to three months enrolled in these great schools where they will absorb an educational experience rich in culture and tradition.
    The MBA service club actively engages MBA students in the Nashville community. Working with 26 different non-profits, MBA boys contribute close to 5000 hours of community service annually. We hope that over time MBA gentlemen will learn to appreciate their relationships with others across the sometimes limiting lines of race, ethnicity, economic status, and other group identifications and to experience the value of working together towards common good.
  • Community and Events

    Each January, on the Tuesday following MLK day, MBA hosts an annual King Society Induction ceremony to honor students who best carry on Dr. King’s work of furthering equality, justice, freedom and peace. MBA has also hosted a variety of speakers to campus who facilitate further learning and dialogue about diversity, including Dr. Cornel West, Dr. Robert George, and Chris Bradford, among others.

Montgomery Bell Academy

4001 Harding Road
Nashville, TN 37205
(615) 298-5514