Colleen Jackson was appointed as the city of Shaker Heights’ first chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer and will begin work June 1.

“We are pleased to welcome Colleen to the city,” Mayor David E. Weiss said in a May 24 news release. “We are committed to being diverse, equitable and inclusive in all the work the city does, including our service delivery, decision making, policies and community engagement. Colleen’s expertise makes her the ideal professional for this important senior management role.”

Weiss recommended the position and Shaker Heights City Council funded it in the 2021 budget after Weiss identified diversity and inclusion as one of his priorities. The position was advertised on the city’s website and through Indeed.com. There were 64 candidates for the job.

Jackson will be paid an annual salary of $98,500 as a nonbargaining employee, plus benefits.

She previously served as director of community partnerships and programming for Cleveland Play House in Cleveland, where she has worked since 2015.

In addition to managing community programs like Say Yes Cleveland and MyCom, at Cleveland Play House she was responsible for professional development initiatives in the area of diversity, equity and inclusion.

Jackson has experience as a facilitator and a trainer, as well as with helping organizations with strategic planning around diversity, equity and inclusion, including at Cleveland Play House, Kent State University in Kent and Baldwin Wallace College in Berea. At Cleveland Play House, she was part of the team to develop and implement the compassionate arts remaking education program

Jackson holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in acting/pedagogy and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in acting from Kent State University. She is a certified trauma specialist and has a certificate in diversity and inclusion from Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y.

“It is an honor to join the city’s leadership team. I look forward to being part of advancing the work of diversity, equity and inclusion in a city with a rich history of valuing those principles,” Jackson said in the release. “I am confident we can succeed, and even exceed the goals we set because I walk into a city with a strong foundation already in place. I’m ready to get to work.”

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