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Northeast Metro Tech’s first Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator Dawon Dicks, right, stands with senior and 2020 graduate Joshua Yandoli. (Courtesy Photo Northeast Metro Tech)

WAKEFIELD– Superintendent David DiBarri is pleased to announce that Northeast Metro Tech has appointed its first Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator.

The district’s School Committee approved the creation of the position and the appointment of Dawon Dicks to the role at its Thursday, June 11 meeting. Dicks has worked a Prevention and Intervention Coordinator at Northeast Metro Tech for the past year and has worked with the administrator of student services and guidance department to identify student needs that require intervention and prevention services. He joined the district in April 2019, and also launched the Student Athlete Leadership and Mentoring (SALM) program at the school. He is additionally an assistant football coach.

“Right and “wrong” can be hard, but love, kindness, and integrity are choices we can all make in the pursuit of equality, and equality for all of us,” Dicks said.

In his new position, Dicks is tasked with working on the district’s goal to ensure Northeast Metro Tech is supportive of all students and reduce opportunity and achievement gaps based on race, ethnicity, disability, gender and other factors. As Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator, he will be responsible for working with administration to address issues of equality, inclusion, and cultural proficiency through professional development and group curriculum implementation with students.

“Systemic racism in particular is being examined and addressed at every level nationwide at this moment, and we felt it was our duty to take this step to promote diversity, compassion and acceptance at Northeast Metro Tech,” Superintendent DiBarri said. “Dawon has become an invaluable member of our community and we’re confident he will flourish in this role and that he’ll deftly identify opportunities for growth at our school and what our students need to feel valued, included and accepted.”

Dicks is also the co-founder of the nonprofit Student Athlete Youth Academy (SAYA), an organization that works closely with young people in Lawrence to assist them with reading comprehension, life skills, sports and sports training.

He also operates Grit Athletics Performance Strength out of Methuen, a program that offers strength and conditioning training for football players. Dicks spearheaded the creation of Grit Athletics while working at Andover Youth Services.

He has also worked at Boston Sports Clubs as a sales manager, and was the director of development and athletics at BFIT Exercise and Nutrition from 2007 to 2014. He worked as a student liaison and world history teacher at Notre Dame Catholic High School from 2011 to 2013, and as a middle school reading and religion teacher, health and wellness coordinator and admissions committee member at Washington Jesuit Academy from 2007 to 2011 where he created an in-depth health and wellness program. He also served as the vice-president of athletic development at SiSu Systems from 2004 to 2007.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Georgetown University. He has been inducted into Notre Dame Catholic High School’s Hall of Fame for football and track, is a former assistant strength and conditioning coach for Washington’s NFL team and, as an offensive coordinator led his team to being among the top-ranked offenses in the New England Football League.

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