Newark Academy has appointed Rochelle Outlaw Edwards as the new Director of Equity and Inclusion. Rochelle, who joined NA in 2018, has served as a humanities teacher, the Humanities Department Chair, and Upper School Equity and Inclusion Coordinator. Rochelle brings over 25 years of experience in a wide variety of fields, including law, business and non-profit management and education to this role.
Here are five things to know about Rochelle:
She practiced law before switching her career to be an educator.
Rochelle earned her J.D. from Ohio Northern University and previously practiced labor and employment and employment discrimination work, mainly defending corporations.
“Practicing law was just not feeding my soul, at all,” said Rochelle, explaining why she pivoted from law to education. As a result, she enrolled in a Ph.D history program at the University of South Carolina and began teaching college students before arriving at Newark Academy.
She’s jaw-droppingly good at jigsaw puzzles.
“I love jigsaw puzzles,” Rochelle said. “I started doing puzzles when I was three or four years old. I can now do a 1,000 piece puzzle in about six to eight hours.”
She’s married to an Army veteran and has four children.
When everyone’s home, it is a full house for Rochelle. Her husband Clarence is an army veteran of 24 years and she has three daughters, Keanna, 24, Zariah, 22 and Naja, 13, and a son Micah, 9.
Her first protest was in 1991.
Rochelle first became involved in activism during her senior year of high school when she participated in a sit-in following the acquittal of the police officers involved in the Rodney King case.
Ever since, she’s been actively involved in diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, working for the Office of Multicultural Affairs in college, mentoring law students of color and being a member of the Association of Black Women Lawyers, to name a few.
Her favorite thing about Newark Academy is the students.
She admires their wide variety of talents, love of learning and passion for social issues. She is most looking forward to hosting “Diversi-teas” with the students in her office — drinking tea together while discussing any issues the students are facing in a safe space.
“It’s part of why I became an educator...I love building relationships with young people… because I think this is the most important part of their development right now,” Rochelle said.