Commission on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Andover’s Commission on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion will work to combat the realities of racism and intolerance in Andover by supporting programs, initiatives, education, outreach, policies, and institutional change which contribute to an inclusive Andover; a community which embraces tolerance, inclusiveness and respect for all.
Meet the Members of the Commission on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion:
Dr. Wael Kamal is the Assistant Dean of the College of Fine Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences at UMass Lowell. For the past 20 years, he has been an advocate of diversity, equity and inclusion in multiple capacities including establishing an on-campus organization at Georgia State University (Atlanta GA) to address the cultural implications of the aftermath of 911 and serving on the Global Engagement and Inclusive Culture Committee at UMass Lowell. Dr. Kamal is a firm believer in inclusivity for all human beings.
Basenal Dessin was born and raised in Haiti along with his 5 siblings. He moved to the United States in May 2000 and has lived in Andover, MA for over 5 years.. He is married to Marie for almost 19 years and they are proud parents of Chris (15), Carissa (13), Corban (4) and Cainan 4 months old. Basenal currently works for Sarepta as a Senior Quality Assurance leader and has been in the Biotech field for over 15 years.
Kavita Goyal has been a resident of Andover since 2012, and has worked in Andover for the past 10 years. She is a small business owner with a law firm practice in the Ballardvale Mill building. At the firm, she leads the employment practice, representing small-to-mid sized businesses, as well as individuals, in civil litigation, advice and counseling. She focuses on anti-discrimination and equal employment practices, and spends a portion of her time counseling medical and dental entities with their ongoing business needs. Kavita has two daughters and loves to spend time with them skiing, dancing and walking on the beach! Kavita serves as an At-Large Member of the Commission on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
Sandis Wright has held various leadership and volunteer positions throughout his career. In his current role as Director, Information Management, for the Federal Employee Program with Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA), he focuses on data strategy and data governance. He’s held numerous volunteer roles in both corporate settings and in local communities and is currently a member of the BCBSA diversity council and co-chairs the PRIDE (LGBTQ) Associate Resource Group. He’s also on the board of a Better Chance of Andover, the Bancroft Parent Teacher Organization and Doherty Parent Advisory Council. These volunteer roles include organizing programs and events while creating an inclusive community and culture. Sandis has resided in Andover since 2011. He is married to his husband of 29 years and has 2 daughters, age 9 and 11.
Shishan Wang is a senior research scientist in Microbiology and Biochemistry. He has been living in Andover with his family since 2007. Before moving to Andover, Shishan earned both BS and MS in Microbiology from China and Ph.D in Food Science at University of Massachusetts Amherst. Shishan serves as a member of Andover High School Improvement Council. He also is volunteering for several organizations.
Lisa Cascio joined Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships (NEEP) in October 2013 as its Public Relations Manager and currently serves as Director of Partner Engagement. Lisa also serves as NEEP’s co-lead for all diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice work. Lisa has a B.A. in English from The College of the Holy Cross and an M.A. in Administrative Studies from Boston College. She recently received a certificate in nonprofit management and leadership from the Institute for Nonprofit Practice and Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University.
Peyton Levental,17, is a Junior at Andover Highschool. Peyton enjoys serving her community and problem solving. She is the President of her Church’s Youth Group and runs track and plays soccer. She says listening is one of her best assets and one she hopes can help the community. “It’s tough to find a short term solution to racial inequality but when we all listen to each other and everyone's ideas while understanding what is driving the issues, then that's where I believe we can start to make positive changes to our community and improve things in the short term while solving the overall issues over time.”
Olivia Lu-Alba, AHS class of 2022, is an honor roll student participating in AVID. Her dedication to community service is unwavering. She is the current President of Amigos Unidos, a cultural awareness and community service club. Olivia is proud of her Afro-Latina, Asian heritage and fully embraces her Dominican and Vietnamese cultures. Being race-conscious enables her to intimately advocate for social justice and equality.
Reverend Dana Allen Walsh is a pastor, teacher and ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. She is the first female Senior Pastor of South Church in Andover in their 300 year history. Prior to her call to South Church in 2014, Dana served for eight years as Minister of Hancock United Church of Christ on the historic battle green of Lexington. She holds a Masters of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary and a Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs from the University of Mary Washington. She’s currently enrolled in a Executive Leadership program with Princeton Theological Seminary. Dana resides in Andover along with her husband, Sean and two children: Leighton & Emerson.
Rabbi Howard Mandell currently serves as the Rabbi of Congregation Beth Israel in Andover and as an adjunct professor at Merrimack College where he teaches courses on Social Justice. Prior to my becoming an ordained Rabbi, Howard spent most of his adult life in Montgomery, AL, where he practiced civil rights and constitutional law for several decades before becoming City Attorney for the City of Montgomery. Howard served as chair of the board of The Southern Poverty Law Center and currently serve on the board of directors of Lazarus House Ministries in Lawrence, MA.
Andover Public School Representative:
Jorge Allen is the PreK-12 Coordinator for English Learner Education & World Language Programs at Andover Public Schools (APS). Jorge co-created Andover's District Global Pathways program and the district-wide Cultural Climate Committee.
He has taught Spanish classes and was the Advisor to Black and Latino students at Phillips Academy Andover. Jorge is the Past President and 2017 Conference Chair of the Massachusetts Foreign Language Association and served as the Presidential appointee for the Urban District Engagement for a member of the Task Force on Racial Justice for the Massachusetts Association of Teachers of Speakers of Other Languages. Jorge has served in numerous other leadership positions on the state and national level.
Phillips Academy Representative:
Monica Reum, M.Ed., is the Recruitment and Admission Programs Specialist at the Institute for Recruitment of Teachers, a national nonprofit that promotes racial equity in the educational sector. Monica has served in a variety of academic positions in college access, coordination, program development, outreach, advising, recruitment, and admissions specifically for students of color. Monica’s commitment to advancing, elevating, and supporting underrepresented students and disrupting racist systems is what led her to join the Town of Andover's Commission on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and contribute to building an anti-racist community. Monica is a current employee at Phillips Academy, a current PhD student at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, and has been an Andover resident for the past 3 years. Monica holds a Master’s Degree in Higher Education Leadership and Organizational Development from Merrimack College where she also teaches courses on social justice for their School of Liberal Arts
Andover Police Department Representative:
Lieutenant Frank Fitzpatrick began his law enforcement career in Andover in 2006 after graduating from the Boston Police Academy. When asked why he chose to serve as the APD’s Liaison, Lt. Fitzpatrick said: “I chose to serve the Commission because this is a very important and meaningful topic… I chose to serve to help non-law enforcement better understand what we do and how we are trained. I believe this insight will help to assure our residents and those who work and travel through Andover that we are a professional police department with a focus on treating everyone with respect and dignity. Lieutenant Fitzpatrick holds a BA degree in Political Science from Merrimack College and a MS degree in Criminal Justice from Anna Maria College. He is a graduate of the Northwestern University’s School of Police Staff and Command and has completed the FBI LEEDA’s Leadership School Trilogy.
At-Large Alternate Members:
George Nugent is Marketing Manager and Vice President at Enterprise Bank headquartered in Lowell, MA. George has an extensive professional background in fundraising, marketing and communications work. He has a longstanding commitment to nonprofit organizations in the Merrimack Valley. George has served on the boards of Jericho Road and the Nonprofit Alliance of Greater Lowell is currently a board member for the Center for Hope and Healing and a trustee for the Towle Fund for the Town of Andover. George is an advocate for LGBTQ and equity initiatives, is involved with diversity and inclusion efforts and a member of the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion Consortium - Lowell.
Rajiv Chopra has lived in Andover since 2002 with his wife and two sons, who both thrived in the APS system. Raj is a scientist focused on the discovery and design of new molecular therapies and has worked for major Pharmaceutical companies on numerous drug discovery projects before establishing his own consulting company. He enjoys growing vegetables and sports, especially soccer, and is passionate about celebrating diversity in all its forms.
George NugentAssociate Member
Rajiv ChopraAssociate Member
Jack GlavinStudent Representative
Peyton LeventhalStudent Representative
Olivia Lu-AlbaStudent Representative
Howard MandellClergy Representative
Rev. Dana Allen WalshClergy Representative
Jorge AllenAndover Public Schools Representative
Monica ReumPhillips Academy Representative
Lt. Frank FitzpatrickAndover Police Department Representative
Laura M. GregoryMember, Select Board