Quise Edwards joined Burke’s in 2017 as the Director of Inclusivity and Community Building. She hit the ground running and her contributions to the culture and community at Burke’s were felt immediately. As a product of K-12 independent schools, Quise has a unique perspective on the amazing opportunities these institutions create for their students, while also being able to speak to the challenges some families can face in the independent school community.
A Bay Area native, Quise “grew up in a family and community of activists” and believed from a young age that it is important to advocate for equality and inclusivity. Growing up in East Bay independent and parochial schools, she was often one of few students of color which deepened her understanding at an early age of the importance of a school community that valued equity and inclusivity.
Fast forward to 2007 when she moved back home after graduating from the University of Santa Barbara. Quise enrolled in the Bay Area Teacher Training Institute (BATTI) where she interned at St. Paul’s Episcopal School and Head Royce, both in her hometown of Oakland, while earning her teaching credential. For the next several years she taught in both public and independent schools. During her tenure at a Berkeley public school, Quise was approached about leading the school’s equity team. Taking on this leadership role at her school and diving deep into DEI work (diversity, equity, and inclusion) was the catalyst for Quise’s next big move, attaining a dual Master’s in Social Justice and Administrative Credential from UC Berkeley in 2015.
Freshly armed with new tools to advocate for the underrepresented in schools, Quise landed an assistant principal position at Oakland’s second largest public elementary school. She served as both assistant principal and interim principal before coming to Burke’s two years ago. “Quise wears many hats and juggles many balls, all with grace, good humor, warmth, and great wisdom,” says Rebekah Wolman, Director of Upper School. “She is brave enough to engage in those difficult conversations to be our best selves and excited to challenge us to dig a little deeper to move our school to an even more inclusive place than it already is. Her work is felt by all the constituents of the school community.”
Quise’s work with the students, parents, teachers, administrators, and trustees is something that she says is “the most rewarding part of [her] job.” From working with Upper School Youth Voice students and arranging classes to volunteer at the Richmond Neighborhood Center, to assisting with the admissions process and landing high profile DEI experts to speak at events, the list goes on and on. Whatever the task at hand, “Quise looks at everything with an equity and inclusion lens, which is a crucial role in any school. She does it with empathy and great strength,” Alice Moore, Director of Lower School, shares.
Quise is appreciated by parents and teachers alike and her joy for her work is palpable. The school is appreciative of the changes she’s already helped implement in her short tenure and looks forward to the many ways Quise will help Burke’s grow in the future. When she’s not working, Quise enjoys spending time with her friends, family, and dog.
Burke's mission is to educate, encourage and empower girls. Our school combines academic excellence with an appreciation for childhood so that students thrive as learners, develop a strong sense of self, contribute to community, and fulfill their potential, now and throughout life.