Leashia Lewis ’00 chosen as first AD assistant of Villanova Athletics for DCI / Director of UNITAS

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VILLANOVA, Pennsylvania—Vice-President of the University of Villanova and Director of Sports Marc Jackson today announced the hiring of Leashia lewis to the newly created post of Deputy Sports Director for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion / Director of UNITAS. Lewis has over 15 years of experience as a certified school counselor and has held numerous leadership roles teaching and leading conversations about race relations and gender dialogue. She is familiar to the Villanova community as an assistant professor in the education and counseling department, a member of the board of directors of the Varsity Club Hall of Fame, and a former student-athlete on the women’s track and field team.

“Villanova is delighted to welcome Leashia to her home in this important role leading our UNITAS efforts on diversity, equity and inclusion,” said Jackson. “In many ways, Leashia has never left Villanova and has remained connected on many fronts on our campus. Her love, passion and commitment to building a stronger community is exemplified by her wealth of experiences, her leadership style and unique ability to form meaningful relationships with everyone she comes in contact with. “

“It is an honor and a privilege to serve as Deputy Director of Athletics for UNITAS-Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for my alma mater, University of Villanova. I am a social justice activist and alumnus runner of Villanova, which leads me to believe that I am stepping into my goal as an educator in a place I call my second home, ”said Lewis. “I am proud of Villanova Athletics for creating and sustaining a role dedicated to uplifting, collaborating and seeking equity for our student-athletes and, most importantly, am delighted to build relationships within from the Villanova community. It is my goal to work intentionally and meaningfully to build structures and provide resources for student-athletes to reach their greatest potential. ”

In his role at Villanova, Lewis will lead the Villanova Athletics for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiative – UNITAS – which is a framework for creating a welcoming and supportive sports department through constructive dialogues, educational programs and a community engagement. Through UNITAS, Villanova Athletics is committed to fostering an inclusive and anti-intolerance environment where every member of the community has a voice and feels respected, valued and safe.

Lewis has been an assistant professor at Villanova and co-facilitator of campus workshops related to intergroup relations. She has taught courses on socio-economic status dialogue and gender dialogue in addition to counseling theory and practice. Lewis comes to her full-time alma mater after being a certified school counselor at nearby Conestoga High School since 2004. Her professional areas of interest include supporting underrepresented students, diversity issues in public education. , social justice, race and educational equity dialogue and reform, mental coaching of athletes for the performance and success of African American men.

While at Conestoga High School, Lewis was the team leader for the school’s Navigate program serving underrepresented students. His duties as a team leader include staff development as well as the creation and planning of the program’s curriculum. Lewis also arranges academic trips for students and coordinates Navigate program activities with students, parents, teachers, administrators, volunteer teachers and outside community sponsors. She is a certified affiliate of the Pacific Educational Group and masters courageous conversations about racial protocol. Lewis is a member of the District Director’s Leadership Team responsible for systematically learning and addressing race and equity in the Tredyffrin / Easttown School District. She leads district continuing education for teachers and is trained to conduct Beyond Diversity workshops for teachers and staff.

Throughout her career as an educator, Lewis has been a safe place and an understanding ear to all underrepresented students. She is an advisor for SOAR – Students Organized for Anti-Racism – as well as the African American Student Union, where she helps club members celebrate African American culture, respond to racist incidents and engage with the school community internally and as a whole. Lewis has also helped teachers, administrators and staff develop lesson plans, work with students and families, and build their own racial identity journey. Lewis was also a member of the track and field coaching staff during her time at Conestoga, where she coached several state championship athletes, high school All-Americans, college-recruited athletes and a team title of state championship.

Lewis graduated from Villanova in 2000 with a double major in sociology and social services. She completed three minors during her undergraduate studies: African Studies, Education and Psychology. Lewis also obtained a Master of Science in Secondary Guidance from Villanova in 2002 and has continued his education through several professional development programs. She obtained her main certification (2008-2010) from Immaculata University and obtained a Coaching and Leadership certification from Penn State Great Valley (2010-2012). Lewis took a professional development sabbatical at Villanova in 2015 where his classes included motivational interviewing, special education for teachers and counselors, psychopharmacology and human sexuality. During this time, she was an intern and co-facilitator for the Villanova intergroup relations team.

Lewis studied at Gratz College where his courses include understanding and helping abused, neglected and abandoned children; Domestic violence and abuse: preventive strategies for educators; Contemporary issues of sexuality in education; and Creating Safe Spaces: Addressing LGBTQ Issues in Schools. Lewis is a member of the board of directors of the Villanova University Varsity Club Hall of Fame for Athletics. She is a member of the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC); Pennsylvania Association for College Admission Council (PACAC); American Educational Guidance Association (ASCA); and Affiliate Certified by the Pacific Educational Group.

During her college career, Lewis was an All-American on the Villanova women’s track team. She ran the 400-meter stage of the distance medley relay, earning her All-America accolades for a seventh place finish at the 1997 NCAA Indoor Championships. Lewis was also on the distance relay teams. BIG EAST champion in 1997 and 1998. She ran the second leg of the 4×400 meter relay which finished first in the ECAC section at the Penn Relays in 1997. Lewis was named to the BIG EAST All-Academic Team as a senior in 2000.


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