Educator named Oakland County's first diversity officer
Pontiac — Oakland County has named a Rochester Community Schools official as the county’s first chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer.
Robin Carter-Cooper, executive director of instructional equity for the Rochester Community Schools, will begin her new position on July 1, reporting directly to Oakland County Executive David Coulter.
“The diversity of Oakland County continues to be one of its strengths and Robin brings with her extensive experience in facilitation and training on social justice topics as well as being a leader in strategic planning in diversity, equity and inclusion,” Coulter said. “She will be a tremendous asset to Oakland County. I’m excited to have her as an integral part of my senior leadership team.”
Carter-Cooper, 36, of Flint, said she looks forward to the challenges the position requires.
"I am honored to be the first chief diversity, equity and Inclusion officer for Oakland County,” Carter-Cooper said. “I am pleased at the commitment and priority that the Coulter administration has placed on this work and I am humbled to work beside such a courageous and forward-thinking team. I look forward to partnering with community members, working closely with staff, and building capacity around this work throughout the county."
Coulter and the Board of Commissioners collaborated on the new position this year. More than 30% of Oakland County’s population is ethnically diverse and Coulter said it is important that its policies ensure a workforce that reflects the county’s diversity and that county government is a active in promoting diversity initiatives.
The county employs about 5,300 full and part-time workers, spokesman William Mullan said. Carter-Cooper was selected out of a group of 180 applicants, Mullan said. Her duties will include:
--Cultivating a welcoming, diverse, and inclusive culture throughout the county’s internal and external community
--Establishing a process to achieve accountability and coordination of diversity, equity and inclusion efforts to drive positive change in all aspects of the county
--Creating a vision for diversity, equity and inclusion in Oakland County
--Fostering an environment of diversity, equity and inclusion that promotes open communication and collaboration across Oakland County communities, businesses and other organizations
--Fostering an environment focused on engaging county employees, community leaders, residents and business in diversity, equity and inclusion
--Creating a long-term diversity, equity and inclusion infrastructure for internal and external needs
Carter-Cooper began with Rochester schools in 2017. Previously, she was a medical careers foundations teacher and work-based learning coordinator for Genesee Early College in Flint. She also was employed by the University of Michigan-Flint in the School of Health Professions and Studies as a program director and lecturer.
She has developed and facilitated workshops for teachers, administrators, counselors and support staff on various topics including “How to Create Culturally Competent Communities” and “Systemic Racism and Its Impact on Student Learning.”
She received her undergraduate degree from Georgia State University, graduate degree from Central Michigan University and her education specialist degree from Oakland University.