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Alumni take the helm of RE’s DEI office

Wendell Graham ’74 assumed the role of Ransom Everglades Director of Inclusion and Community Engagement and Victoria Beatty ’00 agreed to assist the office as Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Consultant to Ransom Everglades effective July 1, Head of School Penny Townsend announced in late June.
The two appointments further RE’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, while also cementing the school’s connection to two accomplished alumni who share a passion for community building, serving the underserved and youth development. Both have participated since last summer on the Ransom Everglades Anti-Racism Task Force, with Beatty as a co-chair. 

Ransom Everglades announced the moves on June 21, a school holiday in honor of Juneteenth.

“I couldn’t be more delighted to share this news with the Ransom Everglades community,” Townsend said. “We are incredibly fortunate to welcome Judge Graham back to our campus and bring Ms. Beatty more fully into our daily DEI efforts. They will bring extraordinary talent, experience and energy to one of our school’s highest institutional priorities and will continue to help ensure all members of our community feel included and heard.”

Graham, the first Black male student at Ransom Everglades, has been a member of the Florida Bar for 38 years. During that time, he worked as a state prosecutor, defense attorney in federal and state courts, traffic magistrate, hearing officer for Miami-Dade County, the Miami-Dade County School Board, and for 24 years as a County Judge for the State of Florida. In these roles, Graham handled both the criminal and administrative performance aspects of students, faculty, administrators, and staff.

On a daily basis as a judge for more than two decades, he worked with Miami's diverse population, both in the courtroom and out, balancing the social, cultural and political dynamics of the community while seeking to dispense fair results. 

“I see my charge as assuring that each student, teacher, and employee in this diverse school community comes to know and believe they are respected as an equal participant who is fully included in every aspect of the academic and cultural life of this school,” Graham said. “While some see this as a daunting task, I see it as an absolute necessity for the continued stature of this institution. This is a labor of love, for this is my school and I am personally obligated to ensure it continues to thrive.”

Graham has served on the boards of numerous institutions, including Camillus House, the Center for the Fine Arts, Art in Public Places, and the Black Lawyers Association. He also served a number of years as a member of the Ransom Everglades Board of Trustees. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Columbia University and Juris Doctorate from the University of Miami School of Law.

He replaced Carla Hill, who is committing full-time to her duties in the admission office and continuing her work on the RE Anti-Racism Task Force and school DEI Committee. Hill arrived at Ransom Everglades in summer 2019 and helped expand and strengthen the school’s programming in DEI while working to broaden the school’s reach in the admission realm.

“We are pleased that Mrs. Hill will be able to invest more fully in our recruiting and admission process, while helping with the transition to new leadership,” Townsend said. “This move will position her to help RE grow even more in the future.”

Beatty is a tenure-track law professor at Barry University School of Law.  She has served as a litigation associate at the largest law firms in Florida until shifting her career to education in 2014. Since her transition, she has served as Vice President of Operations for Miami Youth Garden, Inc., a servant-leadership and youth development organization in Miami, where she wrote and taught a Black-identity development course for middle and high school students. She also served as an adjunct legal writing professor for DePaul University Law School in Chicago for four years.

Since her graduation from Ransom Everglades, Beatty has been an active member of the Miami community, serving as a board member of Communities in Schools, a member of Leadership Broward Class XXXII, a member of the inaugural class of New Leaders Council, Broward County Chapter, and the Links, Incorporated, Fort Lauderdale Chapter. She founded the Martin Luther King Elementary School Mentorship Program and was the first Black recipient of the Cushman School Alumni of the Year award.

She attended Universidad Complutense de Madrid; received her Bachelor of Arts at Spelman College; earned her JD at Howard University School of Law; received a master’s in education at the University of Miami with a specialty in student life and development; and is currently completing her educational leadership doctorate at DePaul University. Her research interests center on Black student achievement and identity-development.

“I joined the Anti-Racism Task Force to assist in the creation of substantive recommendations that will guide Ransom Everglades in the construction of an effective DEI program,” she said. “As DEI Consultant to Ransom Everglades, it is my sincere hope to continue this very important work. Specifically, I intend to aid the institution in the implementation of the task force’s recommendations, ultimately facilitating a school culture where every student, irrespective of race or identity, feels they belong to an inclusive school community.”
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Coconut Grove, FL 33133
Middle School2045 South Bayshore DriveTel: 305-250-6850
Upper School3575 Main HighwayTel: 305-460-8800
Founded in 1903, Ransom Everglades School is a coeducational, college preparatory day school for grades 6 - 12 located on two campuses in Coconut Grove, Florida. Ransom Everglades School produces graduates who "believe that they are in the world not so much for what they can get out of it as for what they can put into it." The mission of Ransom Everglades School is to provide an educational environment in which the pursuit of honor, academic excellence and intellectual growth is complemented by concern for the physical, cultural and character development of each student. The school provides rigorous college preparation that promotes the student's sense of identity, community, personal integrity and values for a productive and satisfying life, and prepares the student to lead and to contribute to society.