Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Our students are our mission

We exist to educate young women for a life of faith, integrity and truth. Compelled by our Catholic Dominican charism of Veritas to seek truth, we act for a just world for the sake of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Our fidelity to our mission calls us to work constantly towards becoming a more just, equitable, diverse and inclusive school community.

A Community Committed

We value and choose diversity, equity and inclusion because these practices reflect our commitment to create and sustain a vibrant, collaborative and just community where the uniqueness of each person is honored as a sacred expression of God’s own imago, imago dei.

Our commitment is rooted in our Catholic, Dominican identity & key to our mission.

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Things are not as they should be

Our world is grappling with multiple assaults on our shared humanity: ongoing systemic racism, Covid-19, political polarization and natural disasters. More specifically, we acknowledge as a school community that Flintridge Sacred Heart has not articulated clearly our response to the historical and social reality of anti-Black racism and other forms of hatred. We know we can no longer be silent. We can no longer be complicit. Through social media and direct contact with school leaders, we have heard our students and alumnae describe their pain at being dismissed, excluded, unrecognized and unsupported.
Our community is predicated on the gospel values of love, compassion, mutual acceptance and growing into the virtues of Veritas, the Latin word for truth. As one of our alumnae wisely reminded us, “Veritas is not a goal, it is a standard.” We acknowledge that we have missed opportunities to live Veritas and have not consistently provided our students adequate and safe spaces to share their experiences of racism and marginalization and to find healing. We specifically acknowledge that we have not adequately assisted our faculty and staff in responding to the concerns of our Black, Indigenous, people of color (BIPOC) students and our LGBTQ+ students. We apologize for our lack of a school-wide response and public acknowledgment to the criticisms raised by our students and alumnae. Flintridge Sacred Heart hears you, and we are making positive changes. We want to share what we have begun and what we commit to create for a future that is true to the standard of Veritas.

List of 6 frequently asked questions.

  • Dominican Justice Community

    To grow the equitable and inclusive culture our Catholic, Dominican mission demands, we will initiate the Dominican Justice Community (DJC), a multi-constituency group within Flintridge Sacred Heart. Guided by Catholic social teaching, DJC members commit to train together in order to initiate, implement and evaluate our progress towards equitable practices, processes and systems among our Flintridge Sacred Heart community.

    The Dominican Justice Community meets via Zoom.
    Statement of Purpose
    We convene as a multi-constituency group within the larger Flintridge Sacred Heart community to serve the greater mission of the school:  called to faith, integrity and truth.  As a Dominican school guided by the principles of Catholic Social Teaching, we will take systemic, equitable steps to catalyze our emerging future as a safe, brave and inclusive space, where the dignity of every human is honored.
    We embrace the invitation to deepen our understanding of Veritas and commit to:
    • growing in personal knowledge and practice of cultural competency, deepening our capacities of inclusion, equity and diversity;
    • initiating, implementing and progress monitoring equitable practices, processes and systems among all constituents of our Flintridge Sacred Heart community to advance the work of institutionalizing an antiracist, anti-bias school culture;
    • becoming a model community exercising mutual respect, authenticity, collaboration and trust.
    DJC Members
    DJC members are committed to train together in order to initiate, implement and evaluate our progress towards equitable practices, processes and systems among our Flintridge Sacred Heart community. Their primary purpose is to advance the work of institutionalizing an antiracist, anti-bias school culture at Flintridge Sacred Heart. Members of the DJC serve a one-year term with the option to renew (two-year maximum). This inaugural term will be for 1.5 years, ending in June 2022, with the option for a second one-year term.

    Ava DeFranco '23 
    Sara Gutierrez '23 
    Emma Hartley '21 
    Lena Hwang '23 
    Skye Price '23 
    Lingyun Zhang '22

    Sara Espinoza '09 
    Shannon Morzov '94

    Anthony Costanzo 
    Juan Mah y Busch 
    Tina Price 
    Claire Robinson

    Faculty & Staff
    Leslie Miller 
    Alexis Salazar 

    Board of Directors
    Sarah Sima McCann '96 
    Gloria Ventura '96

    Ex Officio Roles
    Sr. Celeste Marie Botello, O.P., Principal
    Juli James, Director of Community Life
    Breeana Koemans Gumpert '12, Director of Alumnae Relations & Special Events
    Sr. Carolyn McCormack, O.P., President
    DeShawn Samad '11, Alumnae Association DEI Co-Chair
  • Student Life

    Our Commitment to Our Students
    As we grow through this time of pandemic and social action for racial justice, we, your teachers, staff and administration want you to know our commitment to you, our Flintridge Sacred Heart students.

    You are the reason we are here.  You are at the center of our mission.  We exist so that you may come to know and experience the gifts and talents that you alone can offer this world.  At Flintridge Sacred Heart we are committed to your full flourishing as young women within this Catholic, Dominican context.  As you grow, we are here to support, guide, encourage and challenge the very best YOU that seeks to come to being.  Relationships are at the heart of our human becoming, so we commit to being a community of “right relationship” where we all grow into the best version of ourselves through our practice of VERITAS:  connection, belonging, truth-telling, and compassionate accountability.  Read more.
    Co-Curricular Programs
    Student experiences dedicated to issues of equity and inclusion occur through the co-curricular program that includes affinity groups, clubs and (non-affinity group/club) co-curricular groups that reflect the diversity and diverse interests of our students.

    Latinas United in Action
    Latinas United in Action at the Club Fair
    Veritas Circles
    Veritas Circles allow varied constituencies within our community to come together in smaller groups to share their stories as part of the healing and reconciliation process. Christina Hale-Elliott facilitates these sessions.
    Residential Life
    The residential life staff created and continues to implement culturally competent and relevant programming for students living on the Hill that build the foundation of belonging and inclusion. Translation services are now available for individual parent/student meetings as well as for live and online events. In 2020, an English Language Learning Specialist joined the staff to support students whose native language is not English and to meet the academic needs of students with language differences.
  • Parents, Our Partners in Veritas

    In this webinar, parents and caregivers are given an overview of the work that Flintridge Sacred Heart has been doing, and plans to do, to support our emerging identity as an anti-racist, anti-bias school community. Key ideas and terms related to the work will be unpacked, with opportunities offered for participants to consider their own understandings. Finally, tools and tips are provided for supporting and continuing conversations about diversity, equity and inclusion at home.
    Partners in Veritas Parents' Inservice - Feb. 4, 2021
    Partners in Veritas Parents' Inservice - March 18, 2021
  • Faculty & Staff

    Led by Christina Hale Elliott
    • Cultivating Diverse, Equitable and Inclusive Learning Spaces
    • Listening, Learning and Leaning in Towards Justice
    • Meeting the Moment:  Creating Opportunities for Learning and Healing to Combat Anti-Asian Racism
    Led by Sister Teresa Maya, CCVI '85
    • We Are All Connected Retreat 
    Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Professional Learning Community
    A professional learning community dedicated to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI PLC) convened in 2017 for study and reflection on practice. PLC members as well as selected faculty and school administrators participate in professional development through the National Association Independent Schools (NAIS) People of Color Conference, the Independent School Alliance for Minority Affairs and the SoCal People of Color in Independent Schools. Their recommendations have improved curricula and contributed to the ongoing evaluation of broader campus practices.
    Educational Therapist
    Flintridge Sacred Heart hired an Educational Therapist in 2010 to support neurodiverse students and to create equitable practices for all learners in our community.
    Faculty & Staff Affinity Groups
    More information coming soon
    Curriculum Review
    In consultation with the faculty and staff DEI Professional Learning Community (PLC), the faculty will embark upon a curriculum audit during the 2021-22 school year that will focus on three areas: pedagogical practices, policies and procedures, and curriculum and content. Academic departments, grade-level teams, and other stakeholders will examine everything from homework policies to textbooks to instructional methods to ensure the Flintridge Sacred Heart academic program aligns with the instiution’s anti-bias, anti-racist goals. Using the groundwork laid by both the PLC and the Dominican Justice Committee in the 2020-21 school year, faculty will engage in ongoing collaborative conversations and professional development.
    Human Resources
    Employment opportunities are posted on Nemnet, a website dedicated to recruiting BIPOC applicants. The HR Director and hiring managers attend annual independent school hiring fair(s) to recruit diverse candidates, and prospective employees are interviewed to assess the candidate’s level of cultural competency.
  • Alums

    Alumnae Association
    The Alumnae Association created two additional leadership chairs for the Alumnae Association Executive Board: two DEI chairs and an international relations chair.
  • Voices for Veritas

    Acknowledging our need to seek forgiveness and reconciliation, we hosted “Voices for Veritas,” a whole Flintridge Sacred Heart community virtual gathering. At this gathering we named and apologized for past and present hurts caused by inequities. We grieve our failure to live our Catholic, Dominican mission and we sincerely wish to make a way forward with our students and alumnae by sharing specific steps on our journey to become a safe, brave and inclusive space, where the dignity of every human is honored.
Veritas is not a goal, it is a standard.
—Flintridge Sacred Heart Alumna
The dignity of others is to be respected in all circumstances, not because that dignity is something we have invented or imagined, but because human beings possess an intrinsic worth superior to that of material objects and contingent situations
—Pope Francis

Cassandra Gonzales

Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

In this newly created senior leadership position role, Ms. Gonzales will continue the good work we have been doing to bring our community in right relationship with our Catholic, Dominican charism. Ms. Gonzales’ wealth of experience working in Catholic schools and her deep commitment to fostering a climate of inclusion on our campus promises to build on the foundation of our dedicated work through Mission DEI. Ms. Gonzales comes to us from Mayfield Senior School, where she served as Co-Director of Justice, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a major in Art and Design Education and a Master of Science in the same field of study, both from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. She is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Education – Educational Leadership for Social Justice at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Team

Sister Colleen Mary Mallon, O.P.

Director of Adult Mission Formation

Sister Colleen Mary Mallon, O.P. is a theologian, an educator and a leader in mission formation. She helped to found and subsequently direct the Ashley-O’Rourke Center for Health Care Mission at Aquinas Institute of Theology, St. Louis, MO where she designed and implemented a variety of theological and spiritual formation programs for Catholic Health Care systems.

Christina Hale-Elliott

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Consultant

Christina Hale-Elliott, Ed.M., an educational equity consultant, is assisting our Flintridge Sacred Heart community in initiating and implementing processes to support our school on its journey to becoming a safe, anti racist, anti-bias space. With Mrs. Hale-Elliott’s guidance and the inclusion of all voices in our community we commence our reconciling journey with two specific initiatives: Voices for Veritas and the Dominican Justice Community. Most recently, she served as the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Consultant for La Cañada Unified School District. 


440 St. Katherine Drive
La Cañada Flintridge, CA 91011

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Flintridge Sacred Heart, a Catholic, Dominican, independent, college-preparatory, day and boarding high school, educates young women for a life of faith, integrity, and truth.

Flintridge Sacred Heart admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in the administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, financial aid, and athletic and other school-administered programs.