Carrie Wolf Bragonier, FNSBSD Diversity Committee Member
To me, diversity means learning. There are so many ways we can be different, but if we’re open to our differences and explore them, we learn from one another. A side-effect of this learning is empathy and understanding.
My love of diversity came through studying foreign languages and living in other countries. I studied Spanish, then German, then Russian, then Spanish again. I lived in Germany, Russia, England, and Guatemala. My love of diversity also came from teaching English to speaker of other languages. I taught in Russia, New York, China, and Alaska. Seeing the world through someone else’s language was like sunlight. It exposed my own culture and language and gave me warmth. I want others to experience these bright, warm, “learning” rays—that’s why I joined the Diversity Committee.
Alyssa Quintyne, FNSBSD Diversity Committee Member
Diversity for me is how we honor, value, welcome, celebrate, and remember our histories, cultures, identities, and all the things that make us, us. Diversity is the embodiment of who we are and who we want to be as people. In our community, we are extremely diverse. We all have vastly different backgrounds, stories, lessons, and perspectives. And diversity is having the privilege to be able to highlight and lend space to all of those different perspectives and backgrounds in a way that values and celebrates them respectively. When it comes to our youth, young adults, our teachers, and administrators, I think it is equally important to welcome and celebrate who they are as their whole selves and foster that sense of self and communal love and trust.
I joined the Diversity Committee because I saw an opportunity to highlight the different voices of our students and staff in the policies and projects the District works on. I felt I had an insight on how to connect our student body with our administration, and how to engage our community more with the District. The FNSBSD has always had a mission to improve and advance the impact of equitable and inclusive policies. I wanted to be able to assist in that process and offer that advocacy to our community on how we can grow, learn, and move forward together.
Jazzanne Gordon-Fretwell, FNSBSD Diversity Committee Member
My name is Jazzanne Gordon-Fretwell, but everyone just calls me Jazz. I have a very diverse background in my family, both immediate and extended. We come from very different backgrounds and as we have children they have become a reflection of that. Wish I could show you my family photos! I am a community member of the FNSBSD Diversity Committee and have been for the past 4 years.
For me diversity means recognizing the individual differences of each person, acknowledging and respecting that each person is unique in their own way and has something to contribute.
Marilyn Russell, FNSBSD Diversity Committee Member
What does Diversity mean to me/Marilyn? To wit: Diversity intrigues me. I welcome it. Whether it be ideas, people, cultures, points of view, traditions, material things, I’m curious to explore! Diversity to me is an eclectic mix of people, things, thoughts, attitudes. It is a variety, perhaps opposites and/or things that go together. Some say it’s God’s paintbrush — it’s groupings. Diversity is a joy! How boring life would be if there weren’t diversity in every part of life. Think mixture — like jelly beans. Do you only like one flavor?
Why am I on the Diversity Committee? To wit: I want to make a difference. We all want a civil society. Working with a group of people who care about addressing our community’s diversity and needs, I trust that we’ll collaborate on issues and more… toward a better, more open/accepting community.
Being on a committee allows one to speak up, spark discussion, hear new ideas and issues. Diversity committees can address cross-cultural and economic divides. We each bring different experiences and ideas to the table. Being on the Diversity Committee, we come together to share ideas on how to spark commonality and ways to bridge divisions, as well as to show care about people and things in Fairbanks. We’ll encourage respect for and celebration of the multiple diversities that have created our country.
David Rucker, EEO Officer for the FNSBSD
I moved to Fairbanks from the deserts of Arizona in hope for new adventures. After working in Civil Rights for over 25 years, my work as the EEO Officer for the District has energized my career and reaffirmed my passion for civil rights. Not only do I chair the District’s Diversity Committee, but I was also appointed to the City and Borough’s Diversity Council. As exciting as my work is, my weekends are equally full of activities from outdoors activities to taking classes at Fairbanks’ Pioneer Park in woodworking and boat building. Since moving here, I have been embraced and made to feel welcome by everyone.
Diversity and inclusion are the backbones that have made us the greatest country in the world. No matter where we come from or who we call our ancestors, we are all welcome to make the most of our lives and thrive in all our endeavors. My family is a prime example of this truly ‘American Stew.’ We can trace our roots to the four corners of the globe. We have been able to find peace and prosperity, no matter what part of the country we now call home. Diversity and inclusion also embrace and support those of us with disabilities. We have been brought into the mainstay of American life through the realization that everyone is deserving of respect and allowed to contribute to our communities.
Flora Roddy, FNSBSD Diversity Committee Member
Hi, Flora Roddy ~ Admin Secretary for Teaching & Learning at FNSBSD. I am half Inupiaq Eskimo and the other half is a melting pot of about 5 different Caucasian parts. I am a member of the FNSBSD Diversity Committee as a representative for the Education Support Staff Association (ESSA). I am a member of the National Education Association ~ Alaska (NEA-AK) Human & Civil Rights (HCR) Committee. I belong to the Pavva Inupiaq Dancers of Fairbanks and the Soaring Eagle Inter~Tribal Drum. I have been involved with the World Eskimo Indian Olympics for the past 20 years or so. I attended a training and will be one of the trainers with regards to “Safety, Bias, and LGBTQ Issues Training” from NEA’s “Human and Civil Rights Training”.
To me Diversity means acknowledging, accepting and celebrating our differences in the world around us. I was lucky enough to grow up in a very diverse neighborhood and have enjoyed learning about other cultures throughout the years.
Shayna Ellingrud, FNSBSD Diversity Committee Administrative Support
Diversity is more than the color of our skin, religious beliefs, political stance, or outward appearance. Diversity is a culmination of our life experiences that define us. Even within a group of people that share the same heritage, there is a vast diversity through the experiences of the people within. The wonderful thing about Diversity is that we can belong to many different groups and take pride in our similarities and our differences, whether they be the color of our skin, our sexual orientation, religion, or any other opinions we feel strongly in. We can celebrate one another in our differences and really take the time to develop an understanding that each individual is unique. While one person may be physically different from me, we may share life experiences that can bridge understanding and empathy.
I grew up an Army Brat so being exposed to new people and experiences is not uncommon for me. I have moved over 20 times, both within the US and overseas, and have finally settled in Alaska with my husband and four daughters. I love to meet new people and hear their stories that help define them. I am currently the EEO/Title IX Assistant for the School District and enjoy meeting new individuals who have the same passion for people as I do.