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Getting to Know… Mikael Yisrael

What is your role at AFS?

I am the Director of Equity, Justice, and Engagement, an all-school role with a range of responsibilities and duties.

In this role, I provide strategic leadership through the lens of diversity, equity, inclusion, justice, and belonging. Through close collaboration with the Head of School and Division Directors, I aim to improve effectiveness and success in recruiting and retaining diverse faculty and staff by establishing best practices and leading hiring protocols. I also serve as a resource for faculty with respect to curriculum design, instruction, and student support, through which I aim to develop deep, working relationships with all members of our community—students, faculty, staff, and parents.

What is your favorite activity or program that you lead/participate in at AFS and why?

After two years of teaching what was formerly 10th grade seminar, I redesigned and rebranded the course to be Power, Identity, and Social Change. This course introduces students to the concepts of power, identity, and social change through critical analysis, research, and reflection.  Students explore how these concepts intersect and shape our individual experiences and the world around us. Ultimately, this course teaches students how to think with a critical lens, not what to think. Students have shared that this course challenged them in relevant ways and has grown them as students and humans.

If given the chance, who would you like to have dinner with (anyone in history, living or past) and why?

Ideally, I would host a dinner party and invite several guests; however, to honor the question, I would like to have dinner with the ancestor Toni Morrison. I was first introduced to Toni Morrison and her brilliance when I read The Bluest Eye in high school. She was, and through her work remains, a fearless freedom fighter who used powerful prose to center black identity, culture, and experiences. Morrison created intentional space to amplify black voices and offered insightful critiques of racism and the white gaze. It would be a tremendous honor and learning opportunity to share a meal and conversation.

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