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Will Ruffin named diversity director for Rochester Public Schools

Most recently, Ruffin held the role of community schools facilitator at Gage Elementary.

Will Ruffin
Will Ruffin (Submitted photo)
Contributed

Will Ruffin II has been named the new executive director of diversity, equity and inclusion for Rochester Public Schools , elevating an equity-related position to the district's cabinet level.

The Rochester School Board announced the hiring Tuesday night. Ruffin will begin in his new position July 1.

"We're excited to work with Will at the cabinet level, and excited for the work he's going to do," Superintendent Michael Muñoz said.

The idea of creating a cabinet-level position focused on equity came about in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd in 2020. The School Board decided to dedicate more funding to the issue, which resulted in the creation of the district's three-year equity plan. Part of that plan called for the hiring of what was originally proposed to be "an associate superintendent of equity and accountability/opportunity."

"This is a new position at the cabinet level, responsible for supporting the district's urgent focus on equity work across all departments at RPS," a press release said.

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Muñoz said Ruffin first came to the district in 2006. According to the press release, Ruffin has served in multiple positions. He volunteered for the Lunch Buddy Program at Riverside Central Elementary School. He was a substitute teacher while working on his master's degree in education from Augsburg University. He was a paraprofessional at Century High School, and a minority liaison at John Marshall High School.

He went on to teach at Riverside Central Elementary School and Lincoln K-8 District-Wide School. This past school year, he has held the role of community schools facilitator at Gage Elementary.

Ruffin also is an executive board member of the Rochester Education Association (REA) and a co-lead of the district's Employees of Color Resource Group.

Board Chair Jean Marvin described Ruffin as a "huge asset" and a "born leader."

"I'm excited to be a part of this leadership team," Ruffin said during the School Board meeting. "And, I'm even more excited to continue working for the students, staff and families of Rochester Public Schools."

Jordan Shearer covers K-12 education for the Post Bulletin. A Rochester native, he graduated from Bemidji State University in 2013 before heading out to write for a small newsroom in the boonies of western Nebraska. Bringing things full circle, he returned to Rochester in 2020 just shy of a decade after leaving. Readers can reach Jordan at 507-285-7710 or jshearer@postbulletin.com.
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