Working to Make Mercy an Agent of Change

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Our Lady of Mercy School for Young Women has formed a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. The work of the Committee has been shaped by the feedback from the virtual listening sessions we conducted throughout June 2020 when we heard concerns and ideas for change and action from students, parents, and alumnae. The sessions, Racism – Working to Make Mercy an Agent of Change, were facilitated by Linda Dickey, Chair of the Cheryl Speranza Leadership Institute. One of the key takeaways was the desire for Mercy to take a more consciously anti-racist stance, as well as an active role in ensuring diversity and equity among the Mercy community.

During the past year, the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee has worked to create a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Report. The report – sparked in large part thanks to initial concerns from Mercy alumnae last summer – includes data from the June 2020 Listening Sessions, faculty/staff surveys as well as interviews with staff, parents, alumnae and students. The DEI report helps us, as a school and community, generate and answer question such as: how can we more effectively recruit, hire, retain and promote a diverse workforce; include diversity, equity and inclusion professional learning for everyone in the Circle of Mercy; defeat racism and classism; and ensure that Mercy continues to be a fully inclusive and a safe place for all girls.


In alignment with the Sisters of Mercy’s Critical Concern of combating racism, the Committee will focus its energies on providing ongoing strategic direction and operational guidance to support development of a comprehensive Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion plan at the school. The Committee developed a Strategic Plan with the following Key Goals:

#1 – Continue to Provide a Safe Place for all girls.

Promote Mercy’s diverse, equitable, and inclusive school experience for all students by creating structures and capacity so that all girls continue to feel safe.

It is essential all members of the Circle of Mercy continue to feel safe and that their faces, voices, and experiences are heard, reflected and valued.

  • Strategic Areas of Focus: 
    • 1.1 – Support Systems
    • 1.2 – Enrichment
#2 – Develop a Professional Learning Plan for Faculty/Staff, Students, Parents, Alumnae, and the Board of Trustees.

Provide professional development on diversity, equity and inclusion for all members of the Circle of Mercy including staff, faculty, students, parents, alumnae and the board of trustees.

All members of the Circle of Mercy are essential partners in creating and sustaining actions that are vital to ensure diversity, equity and inclusion as the work of diversity, equity and inclusion is a responsibility of all. 

  • Strategic Areas of Focus:

    • 2.1 – Faculty and Staff

    • 2.2 – Students

    • 2.3 – Parents

    • 2.4 – Alumnae

    • 2.4 – Board of Trustees
#3 – Diversify Mercy in the areas of faculty, staff and academic offerings.

Diversifying all components, programs and people within Circle of Mercy affirms student cultural identities, enhances the learning environment and prepares Mercy girls to be global citizens.

It is essential that all areas of Mercy reflect diversity, equity and inclusion. 

  • Strategic Areas of Focus:
    • 3.1 – Diverse Faculty and Staff
    • 3.2 – Diverse Board of Trustees
    • 3.3 – Diverse Student Body
    • 3.4 – Diverse Curriculum
Click to read the full report

The Committee is chaired by Sharon Murrell Dilbert ‘84; Linda Dickey is the program director. It has representation from our students, faculty, staff, administration, Board of Trustees, the Sisters of Mercy, and the community. It is composed of the following members:


Meet the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee Chair

Sharon Murrell Dilbert ’84 was born and raised in Rochester, New York. She is the daughter of the late Rev. Johnnye Murrell and the late Samuel Murrell, and is sister to Beverly Murrell Frasier ’84 and Matasha Murrell Jones ’94. Sharon is married to Arthur Dilbert, the Pastor of Abundant Life Faith Center and is the mother of Samiah and Arthur III.  After graduating from Mercy in 1984, she studied Art and Spanish at Nazareth College to become a certified Art and Spanish teacher, and studied Spanish abroad in Mexico and Spain. She taught Spanish in Churchville-Chili and the Rochester City School District several years before studying School Administration and Supervision at SUNY Oswego. Sharon is currently the Principal of Clara Barton School #2.

  • Parent Subcommittee: Ted Jordan P ‘21, Chris Garnish P’24, Silvia Caraballo P’22, Karima Miller P’24, Kate Komara P'23, Chandra Cuyler P'22, and Claudia Reyda P'22
  • Academic Subcommittee: Sonya Sampson, Sherylanne Diodato ‘93, Katy Miller, Sarah DeMulder, and Sr. Karlien Bach ‘75
  • Alumnae Subcommittee: Matasha Murrell Jones ‘94, Tae’lor Jackson ‘16, Caitlyn O’Toole ‘10
  • Student Subcommittee: Emma Phelps ’22, Molly Kantz ‘22, Janaa Smith ‘22, MariArelis Flores ‘23, Grace Reese ’23, Lola DeSantis ’22
  • Cheryl Speranza Leadership Institute Subcommittee: Paul Speranza P’92, ‘94, MariArelis Flores ‘23, and Grace Reese ’23
  • Program Support: Mike Waters GP’25, Teri Edom, Elizabeth Ciaccio ‘79, Donna Horn, Dana Whipple, and Lori Purcell P’20
  • Sponsors: Pamela Fennell Baker ‘74 P’12, Martin Kilbridge
  • Community Advisors: Ed Doherty P’05, Caroline Whelan Tolbert ‘02, and Megan Bell ‘99 (Mercy Board of Trustees Member)

Our Lady of Mercy School for Young Women is committed to working alongside everyone in the Circle of Mercy as we strive to learn from the past and better our future; thank you for your support as we conduct this important work. We anticipate communicating regular updates to keep everyone within the Circle of Mercy well-informed as to our progress. To learn more or to get involved, contact Program Director Linda Dickey at ldickey@mercyhs.com.

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