Equity coordinator resigns at York Tech

Junior Gonzalez
York Dispatch

Local community advocate Carla Christopher has resigned her post as equity coordinator at the York County School of Technology after nearly six months on the job.

York County School of Technology equity coordinator Carla Christopher poses for a photo at I-ron-ic Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017, in York City. Amanda J. Cain photo

Following a video that surfaced last November showing students holding up a Trump-Pence yard sign and chanting “white power,” officials at the school created a new position to improve the school’s climate and serve as a connection to the community. The school brought Christopher on board in early February.

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Christopher left the school over summer break on Aug. 15, according the district’s latest Joint Operating Committee agenda.

There was no public discussion on the resignation during the committee’s recent regular monthly meeting.

During her time at York Tech, Christopher oversaw several diversity initiatives, including a diversity celebration in May in which she declared the school had “come a long way.”

Students dance to B-Tropical during a York County School of Technology assembly celebrating Diversity Week, Thursday, May 4, 2017. The assembly included testimonials from students about their experiences as immigrants, attempting suicide, and race issues.  John A. Pavoncello photo


York Tech: 'We've come a long way'

York County School of Technology director David Thomas said he was sorry to see Christopher depart from the school, adding the school climate significantly improved over the course of the 2016-17 school year under her tenure.

“The kids will miss her,” he added.

Back to school: In a telephone interview, Christopher said resigned after deciding to return to school full time to attain a masters of divinity from United Lutheran Seminary in Gettysburg.

"I expected to have at least a few years before I would go back to school," Christopher said, but added she was given an opportunity she couldn't refuse.

Christopher said she was awarded a generous scholarship, and as part of her studies, she will work with a program centered on youth and family outreach in York City.

Christopher said her time working with students at York Tech had a "big influence" in her decision to return to school in hopes to positively impact even more students after she graduates.

"(YCST administrators) knew I felt very strongly about doing faith-based work (from the start)" she said.

Christopher said she offered to do part time or consulting work, but the school declined.

Many students have stayed in touch with Christopher over the summer and are aware she is not returning, she said, but she will never be gone.

"You don’t leave kids," she said.

"You might change jobs, but you never let your kids go."

Future of equity role: Joint Operating Committee members Lois Ann Schroeder (York Suburban) and Darvin Shelley (Eastern York) both stated they hope some form of the position continues at the school.

Christopher said she hopes the school will build on the success of the spring semester by investing further in equity personnel.

"We started a really amazing foundation last year. The goal from the door was that this should not be a project centered on (me)," she said, adding accountability, transparency and diversity work is something the school must continue to improve.

"There's a lot of other great folks that do (equity) work in York County that would be thrilled to continue to do this work for them," she said.

With Christopher’s resignation official, Thomas said administrators will take a closer look at it and determine what the role would entail with another employee.

“We’re doing something, we’re just not sure (what it will be yet),” he said.