Buffkin/ Baker Lands Diversity Head for Dalton School
May 28, 2019 – Executive recruitment firm Buffkin/ Baker has helped place the new director of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) for the Dalton School in New York City. Domonic Rollins comes to the private, college preparatory school from Harvard University, where he worked in the president’s office as a strategist and advisor on diversity, inclusion and belonging, and as senior diversity and inclusion officer at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education. He starts his new job on July 1.
Nathaniel J. Sutton, partner and head of Buffkin/ Baker’s non-profit recruiting practice, led the assignment.
“Domonic’s appointment is the result of an intensive, thorough search,” said James Best, Dalton’s head of school. “Buffkin/Baker, a nationally renowned recruitment firm, reviewed the credentials of more than 60 candidates from a wide range of backgrounds. While we were fortunate to meet with extremely qualified applicants, Domonic stood out as an exceptionally good fit for our community and our DEI team.”
“This appointment is an exciting moment in Dalton’s history and a highlight of my first year as head of school,” said Mr. Best. “I’m energized by the prospect of working closely with Domonic and confident that he’s the right person to help us continue to foster a culture at Dalton in which every student, faculty, staff member, parent and alum feels a deep sense of belonging.”
In his roles at Harvard, Mr. Rollins is credited with raising the profile of DEI work by developing programs, communications and training to address and advance DEI efforts. He has also held positions at the University of Maryland, DePaul University and Loyola University. Mr. Rollins earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology at Ohio State University, a master’s of education degree in higher education student affairs at the University of Vermont and a doctorate in higher education, student affairs, and international education policy at the University of Maryland.
“He is a broad-minded, highly qualified, deeply engaged specialist in the field,” said Mr. Best. “He’s also a warm, witty, grounded human being with a gift for collaboration and a keen sense of when to listen and when to lead.”
Dalton’s search committee for the role included: chair Joan Walrond (director of human resources), and members Michelle Awuku-Tatum (parent), Kelvina Butcher (assistant director, First Program), Roxanne Hsu Feldman (librarian, middle school), Kenneth Hamilton (First Program faculty), Will Hummel (associate director, college office), Leah Johnson (trustee/ parent), Babby Krents (director of admissions) and Michèle Víard-Andre (middle/ high school faculty).
“The non-profit sector is one of the fastest growing in our economy and, with government shrinking its role in many humanitarian areas I think this trend will continue into the foreseeable future,” said Mr. Sutton. “A particularly interesting trend I’ve seen over the last several years is an upswing in interest among Millennials in the non-profit sector. This group has been working in the business world for a while now and they’re beginning to think about what they’ve done and where they see themselves 10 or 20 years out. Many are therefore thinking about putting their talents to work for a cause for which they have a genuine passion.”
The Dalton School is an independent, co-educational day school (K-12) on New York’s Upper East Side, founded in 1919 by the renowned progressive educator Helen Parkhurst. Parkhurst’s visionary Dalton Plan remains the keystone of the school’s progressive educational philosophy and is the model for over 200 Dalton schools in other parts of the world. Dalton is recognized for its rigorous, innovative educational curriculum and offers its 1,300 students a breadth of programs. It counts Anderson Cooper, Christian Slater and Claire Danes among its prestigious graduates.
A Specialty Boutique Firm
Buffkin/ Baker is a specialty boutique search firm composed of industry leaders in their respective fields and each has over a decade of retained search experience. Their focus as search professionals is to recruit leaders in digital marketing/advertising, technology, healthcare, media/entertainment, finance, higher education and non-profit. The firm serves public, private, venture and private equity-backed companies. Its office locations include Nashville, New York, Washington, D.C., and Winston Salem, with affiliate offices in London.
Buffkin/ Baker is a member of Panorama Search, an international federation of retained firms with 18 firms and over 30 offices globally. Buffkin/ Baker formed in 2017 with the merger of the Buffkin Group and Baker and Associates LLC.
Mr. Sutton is based in the firm’s New York City office. He joined Buffkin/Baker in 2017 from Heidrick & Struggles, where he served as partner and vice chairman. For seven years, he led Heidrick & Struggles’ education and non-profit practice. With over 17 years in executive search, Mr. Sutton has served major education, arts, cultural and philanthropic organizations, as well as leading corporations. Some of his clients include: American Red Cross, Planned Parenthood of New York City, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, University of Iowa, Volunteers of America Greater New York, Hershey Trust Co., Make-A-Wish Foundation, Citigroup/Citibank and Raytheon Co., among others.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Andrew W. Mitchell, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media