VIRTUAL SOAPBOX SERIES
presented by Alumni Council
 
Health Edition
The MV Alumni Council hosted a virtual Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) panel with the hope that alumni can share their Maumee Valley experiences.

Our goal is to specifically highlight stories from diverse alumni of various class years while working to create a safe space for open dialogue and celebration of the diverse makeup of MV. We hope that this open and honest conversation is one of many that will help inspire and support the MV community’s efforts to create a more inclusive culture for all alumni, alumni parents, students, parents, faculty, and staff.

Panelists:

Rachel Watkins ‘89 
Rachel started attending Maumee Valley in the third grade. Some of her best "Lower Intermediate" memories include “Dance Fever-Esque” competitions during recess hosted by classmate Everett Woodard, who passed away last month. She also enjoyed dance classes and performances with Mari Davies and Mrs. Zaliouk. After graduation, Rachel attended Howard University, where she majored in anthropology. She is sure that her “Facing History and Ourselves” themed history class with Mr. Sprandel in middle school – and her history class on prejudice with Mrs. Morrow her junior year – influenced her path. At Howard, Rachel was nurtured in the African Diasporic scholar-activist traditions that continue to shape her work as a biocultural anthropologist. After Howard, Rachel pursued a master’s degree in applied anthropology at the University of Maryland, College Park – followed by a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is entering her 18th year of teaching at American University, where she is an Associate Professor. Last but certainly not least, she has the great joy of being the mom of an amazing 14-year-old daughter.
Asma Elgamal ’15
Asma was a Maumee Valley student for six years and graduated from Maumee Valley in 2015. She completed her undergraduate studies at Harvard University in 2019, where she double majored in Government and Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations. Asma has spent several years working on various editorial and advocacy initiatives related to global gender issues, Middle East history/politics, and international relations. She is currently based in New York City and works at a human rights organization researching human rights abuses in the Middle East. 
Grace O'Leary ’16
Grace is a 2016 graduate of Maumee Valley and a 2020 graduate of the College of Wooster with a degree in Communication Studies and Philosophy. She is currently located outside of Chicago and works as a Scholar Coach for the Schuler Scholar Program. At MV, Grace was involved in Student Council, Field Hockey, Theatre, Cheer, and whatever else she could fit into her schedule. She is a new member of the Alumni Council and hopes to work with the current MV administration as well as fellow alumni to make Maumee Valley a safe and inclusive space for all. 
Jai "Valentina" Xu ’18
Valentina is a junior at Cornell University studying in Hotel Administration and International Relations. She is an MV alum who graduated in 2018. Originally from China, she found her first family and friends at MV. She lived in Dayal House for her first two years and with Weezie's family (best host mom!) alongside two other exchange students from Germany and Japan. At MV, she founded the Global Communication Program to translate newsletters for international families and worked on a Cookbook project that collected 22 recipes from 15 countries in the MV community. During one of her independent studies, she helped a Syrian refugee write a restaurant business plan and later shared her experience at the TEDx event MV hosted. In senior year, she worked with a lobbyist to overturn an Ohio State sports bylaw to allow international students to play in games, three years after practicing with field hockey and lacrosse teams. Looking back at her journey, she has always appreciated all the host family, teachers, friends, and coaches at MV. 
Lynn Casto has served as Head of School at Maumee Valley Country Day School since July 2018. 

“I love the student-centered focus of the school. That’s originally what drew me to MV -- the focus on the students. It’s a place where each child can define his or her passion, discover it, and explore it,” Casto said. “That learning by doing is very much ingrained in how I ran my own classroom as a teacher and what I cultivated in my kids.”

Prior to leading Maumee Valley, Casto served as Head of the Upper School at Sanford School Hockessin, Del., she taught and coached at the Brookwood School in Georgia, and at Charlotte Country Day School in North Carolina. 

Casto attended the Columbus School for Girls, discovering a dual love for athletics and the arts. At Davidson College, she earned a bachelor’s degree in Art History while playing NCAA Division I lacrosse. She went on to earn two master's degrees in education, one in art education from The Ohio State University, and a second in private school leadership from the prestigious Teachers College at Columbia University.
Nihal Kattar '13 (moderator)

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Maumee Valley Country Day School is the only age 3 - 12th grade accredited, co-educational, independent school in Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan.