The head of one of Manhattan’s swankiest private schools will be exiting his position at the end of the school year.
Jim Best, who’s run the Dalton School for 16 years, said he would be looking at “other exciting and inspiring opportunities,” the New York Post reports.
His departure comes amid “an internal war” over the school’s critical race theory-based anti-racism initiatives.
Dalton diversity chief Domonic Rollins left the school in February.
Late last year, Dalton faculty put forth two dozen demands — allegedly “in the spirit of eager collaboration” — of Best and the school. They included the creation of courses which “explicitly center Black liberation,” an “anti-racist audit” of existing courses, the expansion of the school’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to 12 full-time staff, and the abolition of “leveled courses” (such as honors) if black student achievement did not match that of non-black students by 2023.
The Post reported in January that an anonymous parent group had objected to Dalton’s direction. The group called for an “immediate pause” to the anti-racism programs, and an “impartial ombudsman” to investigate changes to the curriculum. In a letter, it said
Every class this year has had an obsessive focus on race and identity, ‘racist cop’ reenactments in science, ‘de-centering whiteness’ in art class, learning about white supremacy and sexuality in health class. Wildly inappropriate, many of these classes feel more akin to a Zoom corporate sensitivity-training than to Dalton’s intellectually engaging curriculum.
Best had claimed the reporting on Dalton’s diversity programs was “blatantly and erroneously mischaracterized.”
The Dalton head emphasized diversity in a list of his tenure’s “notable achievements”: “attracting and supporting a historically diverse student body,” “assembling a historically diverse faculty, staff, and Leadership Team” and “advancing an ambitious Diversity, Equity & Inclusion mission.”
Regarding Best’s departure, former Fox News host Megyn Kelly tweeted out a warning of sorts:
Bloomberg.com reports Ellen Stein will serve as Best’s replacement while the school looks for a new school chief.
Famous Dalton School graduates include CNN’s Anderson Cooper, comedian Chevy Chase and actress Claire Danes.
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