Equity and inclusion leader named interim director of UPrep association

Grand Rapids – Christina Arnold is the new interim director of Grand Rapids University Preparatory Association, the nonprofit that partners with the Grand Rapids Public School District to operate the Grand Rapids University Preparatory Academy, commonly known as UPrep.

Arnold is a born-and-raised Grand Rapidian, and a graduate of Ottawa Hills High School, Grand Rapids Community College and Central Michigan University.

She was founding director of the Bob and Aleicia Woodrick Center for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Grand Rapids Community College. Since retiring from that post, she has been a diversity, equity and inclusion consultant and has been part of the social innovation team at Steelcase.

Arnold said that in her new role she will operate as she has in past positions.

“Throughout my work,” she told SNN, “I try to embody servant leadership, which involves valuing and acknowledging all perspectives, focusing on the needs of others and building a sense of community. I always try to stay mindful of the rich diversity in our community and approach all of my work through an equity lens.”

She added: “I’m looking forward to collaborating with a very committed team of individuals who are working to grow and sustain the school … I’m excited to be in the position to elevate and share its mission and stories of student success.” 

UPrep was the first Center of Innovation in GRPS and opened for the 2008-2009 school year. For students in grades six through 12, the school aims for small class sizes and project-based learning in a culture of inclusion, innovation and diversity. 

Arnold noted that UPrep has consistently exceeded its goals of 90 percent retention and 90 percent graduation and said that school Principal Kenyatta Hill-Hall is “a dynamic, energetic and committed leader.”

“I’m looking forward to working with her and her team,” she said. “The main challenge is sharing the mission and story of UPrep to the broader community to increase awareness and funding opportunities.” 

In a statement, Brian Cloyd, board chair of the Grand Rapids University Preparatory Association, said: “We are excited to have someone of Chris’ caliber and reputation in the community join the Grand Rapids University Preparatory Association. Her involvement along with the performance of UPrep Principal Kenyatta Hill-Hall and the school’s staff will ensure the continued educational quality and success of the students and their families.”

Phil de Haan
Phil de Haan covers Grand Rapids and Kelloggsville and also is a general assignment reporter and the point person for the SNN Facebook and Twitter feeds. He hails from Exeter, Ontario, but has called Grand Rapids home since 1985. He is the son of a longtime public school teacher who taught both English and machine shop! Phil took both classes at South Huron District High School, but English stuck, and at Calvin College, where he met his wife, Sue, he majored in English and minored in journalism. His background includes both freelance writing and public relations work, including teaching an advertising and PR course at the college level. In the summer of 2019, he began his own freelance writing and communications business. In his spare time, Phil plays pick-up hockey and pickleball and tries to keep tabs on his two adult children.  Read Phil's full bio

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