Chief Equity & Diversity Officer
Dr. Yvania Garcia-Pusateri
Uses the pronouns: She, Hers, & Her
Follow her on Twitter: @YvaniaSPS
Dr. Yvania Garcia-Pusateri serves as the Chief Equity & Diversity Officer for Springfield Public Schools (SPS). In her role, she advises and works with the district on key efforts to enhance equity and diversity initiatives that align with the strategic plan and provides supports for students, staff and the Springfield community. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies with an emphasis in Journalism and a Master of Science in College Counseling and Student Development from Azusa Pacific University. Garcia-Pusateri earned her Ph.D. in Educational Leadership with an emphasis in Leadership, Culture and Curriculum from Miami University of Ohio. She is originally from Los Angeles, California and has lived in Springfield, Missouri since 2016 with her husband and children. One of her favorite things about SPS is working with her team and developing initiatives and strategies that make the district more transformative in its approach to equity and diversity. She enjoys shopping, eating, working out and spending time with her family. She is also a sister of Sigma Lambda Gamma National Sorority Inc.
Lisa Searles serves as the Executive Secretary to the Office for Equity & Diversity for Springfield Public Schools. In her role, she helps with the daily tasks of the office and any projects that the team is working on. She is originally from Seward, Nebraska, moved to Nixa, Missouri in 1992, and has lived in Springfield, Missouri since 2005. Lisa has a daughter and a grandson who live with her. She enjoys reading, crafting and spending time with family and friends.
Coordinator of Equity & Diversity
Lawrence (LA) Anderson
Lawrence Anderson (L.A.) is the Coordinator of Equity & Diversity at SPS, where his primary focus is to help diverse students and families navigate the educational system and implement programs that empower and support diverse student experiences. L.A. also provides professional learning to staff and students within the district to increase their level of cultural consciousness. L.A. is starting his eighth year with SPS, and spent 16 years at Drury University - twelve years coaching women's volleyball and four years in student affairs as the Coordinator of Disability and Diversity Support Services. He is a native of St. Louis and was part of the desegregation program at Parkway South High School, where he graduated in 1988. He received a bachelors degree in recreation from Missouri State University, and a Masters in education with emphasis in human services from Drury University. L.A. has also completed conflict resolution and mediation training through Missouri State University's Center for Conflict Resolution, and is a certified diversity trainer.
Equity & Diversity Specialist
Gwendolyn J Marshall M.Ed. serves as Equity & Diversity Specialist for Springfield Public Schools (SPS). In her role, she provides support to student programs with specific responsibilities for identifying and assisting with available services through the community and within SPS; she ensures effective communication and service delivery to students in a timely manner and conveys information to students and families regarding program activities and/or procedures. She is responsible for building capacity by participating in a variety of meetings, workshops and committees (e.g. Form B hearings, minority organization meetings to perform key responsibilities and functions for SPS). Gwen is responsible for writing relevant educational articles for Unite of SW Missouri and SMORE publications for Elementary Educators in the R-12 district.
She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology from Drury University and received her Masters degree in Education Human Services from Drury in 2011. She was born in Jackson, Mississippi and raised in Memphis, Tennessee and has lived in Springfield, Missouri for over fifty-three years. She has four children.
Gwen is the chairwoman for the Black History Summer Academy (a weeklong event of teaching African American History) and the Aryia (a rites of passage event for African American/Black female graduates and their escorts). Black History Summer Academy is a partnership with SPS, Drury University and the Springfield community. One of her favorite things about working with her team is an opportunity to collectively reach and influence the lives of all students with an emphasis on the underrepresented and underserved students of our community. She enjoys traveling, the company of her friends, as an ordained minister she preaches and teaches, spending time with her family, and particularly her grandchildren and great grandchild who is on his way.
Coordinator of Equity & Diversity
Olujimi "Jimi" Sode
Uses the pronouns: He, Him & His
Jimi Sode serves as the Coordinator for Workforce Development within the Office of Equity & Diversity for Springfield Public Schools (SPS). In his role, he will work towards creating a more robust diverse workforce reflective of the identities and cultures of students in Springfield Public Schools. Jimi holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Pittsburg State University and a Master's of Science degree from Missouri State University. He is originally from St Louis, Missouri and has lived in Springfield, Missouri since 2012. One of his favorite things about SPS is the commitment towards providing equitable access to education for all students. Jimi enjoys working out, reading, playing volleyball and cooking.