Braxton brings passion for DEI to new position

Before school, Marcelius Braxton meets with groups of teachers and students. During the day, Braxton has a combination of meetings, professional development and looking at policies. When teachers are available, he discusses how they can individually address certain topics while being inclusive. After school hours, Braxton meets with parents, PTOs and the community as much as possible.

All of these are the new responsibilities Braxton holds

Leader of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Marcelius Braxton speaks to the Bexley Anti-Racism Project about his new role at the school. (Photo by Alexandra Avoli)

after being hired this summer as the district’s Leader of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

Since being hired, Braxton explained that he has been working with the district as a whole to promote DEI. These values are important everywhere in the district, he said, from how students interact with each other to classroom learning and even outside of school in the community.

Braxton was born in Baltimore, Maryland and moved to Pennsylvania at the age of 8. He attended the University of Pittsburgh, where he triple-majored in philosophy, political science and economics.

“In college, I was really interested in civil rights, philosophy and education,” Braxton said. “I went to law school at the University of North Carolina and found myself gravitating towards those classes.”

Taking courses involving those topics helped him realize what he wanted to do, Braxton said.

“I kept going back to advocacy work, so I started working for nonprofits and doing student affairs work, which is when I realized I wanted to work with students,” he said.

He worked at Capital University as assistant dean, which made him familiar with Bexley and also drew him into his new job.

“It was a natural transition into Bexley,” he said. “I’ve seen the good and bad of this community.”

As DEI coordinator, Braxton said he does many types of work.

“I think my role is helping on the micro and macro level,” he said.

On the macro level, he explained, he reviews policies and rules.

“A lot of the time, we take for granted that they’re fair, but they aren’t a lot of the time,” Braxton said.

On the micro level, Braxton said he works directly with students to solve problems they may have regarding DEI and helps teachers work with their existing curriculum to make class more welcoming and inclusive for every kind of student.

Promoting DEI, Braxton said, is his personal mission.

“If I can help provide an environment that is more inclusive, safer and fair, that’s what I want to do,” he explained.

Bexley is the perfect place to take on this role, he said, because its citizens want to learn, grow and think about diversity and inclusion.

Braxton explained that in the end, DEI should be encompassed in all district activities.

“Sometimes people are pushed away by a challenge, but for me I saw potential,” he said.