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Girard College Invests in Educational Equity and Excellence with Appointment of Principals, Talent Director

Raymond Roy-Pace, Britney Batson, and Castwell Fider, Jr. join a diverse leadership team under new President Christopher Goins.

Girard College President, Christopher Goins, has announced the appointment of career educators Raymond Roy-Pace, M.A.T. and Britney Batson, M.S.Ed. as High School Principal and Elementary & Middle School Principal, respectively, to lead the College’s academic divisions for the 2022-23 school year. Both principals share a commitment to elevating underserved students, challenging systemic inequities, and making Girard College the most innovative educational institution in the country.

The College’s administration will also be bolstered by the arrival of Castwell Fider, Jr. in the role of Managing Director of Talent and Culture. Fider will apply his experience in teacher recruitment and talent development to ensure that Girard can attract and retain skilled and dedicated faculty and staff.

Roy-Pace, Batson, and Fider, Jr. will help Girard College embark on a bold direction of achievement, equity, and justice for its students as members of President Goins’ leadership team. They join Sylvia V. Bastani, CFRE, CPC, Chief Advancement Officer and Executive Director of the Fund for Girard College; James D. Turner, Chief of Student and Campus Life; Clinton A. Walters, Jr., Controller; Zoë Rankin, Interim Chief of Staff and Strategic Consultant; Summer Sheridan-Zabre, LCSW, Director of Student Achievement; Dr. Lisa D. Belfield, Director of Data, Strategy & Impact; Jonathan C. Price, M.Ed., Academic Dean of Instruction for Elementary & Middle School; Denise Colbert, Dean of Residential Life; and Allie Becker, Interim Operations Consultant. A community-driven search for a Vice President of Administration and Operations is underway.

Girard College Leadership Team

F. Christopher Goins, M.Ed.

President

Sylvia V. Bastani, CFRE, CPC

Chief Advancement Officer

James D. Turner

Chief of Student and Campus Life

Clinton A. Walters, Jr.

Controller

Zoë Rankin

Interim Chief of Staff and Strategic Consultant

Raymond Roy-Pace, M.A.T.

Principal, High School

Britney Batson, M.S.Ed.

Principal, Elementary & Middle School

Castwell Fider, Jr.

Managing Director of Talent & Culture

Summer Sheridan-Zabre, LCSW

Director of Student Achievement

Dr. Lisa D. Belfield

Director of Data Strategy and Impact

Jonathan C. Price, M.Ed.

Academic Dean of Instruction, Elementary & Middle School

Denise Colbert

Dean of Residential Life

Allie Becker

Interim Operations Consultant

Raymond Roy-Pace, M.A.T. | Principal, High School

Raymond Roy-Pace comes to Girard having most recently served as Assistant Principal at Robert E. Lamberton Elementary with the School District of Philadelphia. He will be charged with evaluating and implementing curriculum and assessment for all grades, 1-12.

“Raymond brings a robust skillset to Girard College,” Goins said. “His experience as a classroom teacher, administrator, and talent developer will infuse energy and direction into our academic program.”

While at Lamberton, Roy-Pace worked to enhance teachers’ mathematical practices, ensure the delivery of special education services, and expand partnerships to support teachers’ long-term growth. He has served as a teacher leader, instructional coach, cultural context facilitator, and classroom teacher focusing on STEM and inquiry-based learning.

Understanding cultural context has been central to Roy-Pace’s educational philosophy. He completed a residency with the PhillyPLUS program, a two-year principal certification program that prepares accomplished educators to lead dramatic improvement in urban schools. This mentoring experience cemented his belief that all students can learn when exposed to positive adult relationships and rigorous instruction that is differentiated to meet their needs.

A lifelong advocate for educational equity, Roy-Pace co-published “A Love Supreme: Reflections on Why We Continue to Teach,” was a mentor facilitator with Thurgood Marshall’s College Fund: Teacher Quality Retention Program, Ambassador with Teach.org and Co-Founder and Leader of The Fellowship: Black Male Teachers for Social Justice. These are in addition to national, state, and local initiatives that support the recruitment and retention of Black male teachers.

“I’m honored to join the Girard College community,” said Roy-Pace. “My focus will be to ensure that our students are supported academically, socially, and emotionally. I see this as an opportunity to close the achievement gap for Black and brown students, who often must work twice as hard to thrive in a system that has historically discredited them.”

Roy-Pace has earned a Master’s degree in Education at Cheyney University, a Bachelor of Science degree in Community Health from Lock Haven University, and a graduate certificate in Childhood Trauma Studies from Thomas Jefferson University.

Britney Batson, M.S.Ed. | Principal, Elementary & Middle School

Britney Batson, M.S.Ed., brings more than a decade of experience in education, teaching, coaching, and administrative leadership to her new role as Principal of the Elementary & Middle School at Girard College. She has gained a reputation as a champion for all students, employing a tireless commitment to excellence and achievement.

“Britney represents the bright future of educational leadership here at the College,” said Goins. “She supports students and teachers equally, ensuring a collaborative pathway to success.”

Batson’s educational journey began in the elementary classroom, and from the beginning she has been compelled to serve underprivileged, minority students. Her drive and dedication led her to facilitate leadership symposiums and educational summits with Teach for America (TFA), followed by the opportunity to serve as an Instructional Leadership Coach. Britney currently holds the position of Treasurer on the board of The Collective, TFA’s national association for alumni who identity as Native, Indigenous, or people of color. In this role, she grows leadership capacity, strengthens community, and increases access to opportunities—all in the interest of serving students.

Batson is known for being highly responsive to teacher and community needs, a skill she developed in distinct instructional and administrative roles in Florida’s Pinellas County Schools and Tennessee’s Shelby County Schools. Her emphasis on supporting teachers while closing achievement gaps and turning around low-performing schools allows her to face obstacles head-on and identify the opportunity in every circumstance.

Batson most recently served as an Assistant Principal with Green Dot Public Schools in Tennessee. This charter high school opportunity rounded out her public-school experience to give her a full scope, pulse, and unique skill set for K-12 education that she will build upon in her role with Girard College.

Britney is profoundly respected by school system leaders, colleagues and her school community for her fortitude, passionate spirit, and acute focus on building authentic relationships. She knows how to expertly assemble positive coalitions for change with teachers, parents, and community partners to achieve the school’s mission and goals. Her servant-leader spirit of “High Impact, High Care, and High Support” will undergird her determination to live out Girard’s values and vision with fidelity.

“Joining a community like Girard is an amazing opportunity,” said Batson. “I approach every day with passion, respect, and humility, and look forward to building authentic relationships with students, families, and faculty in support of student achievement and values-based educational experiences.”

A native of Memphis, Tennessee, Batson holds a Master of Science degree in Educational Leadership from Johns Hopkins University and earned her Bachelor’s in Psychology at Baylor University.

Castwell Fider, Jr. | Managing Director, Talent & Culture

Castwell Fider, Jr. joins the Girard College administration in the role of Managing Director of Talent and Culture. Fider will apply his experience in teacher recruitment and talent development to ensure that Girard can attract and retain skilled and dedicated faculty and staff.

“We are looking for teachers who are experienced in the classroom and have a deep understanding of this community demographic,” said Goins. “Castwell has shown he has a knack for finding the best educational leaders for any given community.”

Fider has worked for two years as the Teacher Recruitment and Selection Manager for Mastery Charter Schools in Philadelphia, the first Black man to hold that position. He was responsible for staffing all of the secondary schools in Mastery’s network.

Fider spent nearly 10 years in higher education and nonprofit roles in Tennessee. After completing his university experience at Southern Adventist University in Tennessee, he worked at his alma mater as a senior admissions counselor and later as an adjunct professor teaching a course to incoming first-year students accepted to the university on academic probation.

Fider then took his talents to Project Inspire, the leading education nonprofit in the Tennessee Valley. There, he served as head of talent for a teacher residency program. During his time there, Castwell exceeded recruitment goals, diversified the teaching profession, and pushed the program to national recognition.

Fider has also partnered with The Education Trust and Tennessee Educators of Color Alliance (TECA) for its inaugural chapter in Chattanooga, TN. He led new teacher induction professional development for Hamilton County Schools and fostered relationships with children and families for the Teach For America Chattanooga chapter.

“The potential of Girard College excites me,” Fider said. “I want to be part of making Girard a leading place to teach and work in Philadelphia.”

With the merging of new talent and established leaders, President Goins begins his tenure with a diverse, skilled team ready to chart a path of success.

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