PLEASE NOTE: ESC of Central Ohio offices are closed through at least July 26th. However, staff are prepared to serve you via email, phone, and/or videoconference. 
ESC of Central Ohio Central Office background check services reopened on Thursday, June 25, 2020. Background check and fingerprinting services are currently limited for educational personnel only, regardless of employer. This service is available by appointment only. Learn More

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Support

The ESC of Central Ohio is committed to cultivating inclusive environments in which the opportunity gap is closed and ALL students succeed. 

Our commitment to change has been ongoing, and is a part of larger organizational priorities. Action steps have included:

  • Collaboration with neighboring ESCs and intermediate service districts for equity training and development;
  • Hiring a Regional School Improvement Coordinator for Diversity & Equity;
  • Increasing knowledge of cultural awareness and competency, implicit bias, culturally responsive practices, intersectionality, and other equity-based learning interventions/strategies for staff and member districts; 
  • Forming an internal Equity Action Planning Committee;
  • Implementing targeted efforts to recruit the next generation of diverse educators, with a strategic focus on Ohio’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs);
  • Strengthening community partnerships in order to build capacity and affect sustainable social change outside of the classroom; and
  • Participating in and leading research and pedagogy conversations with both neighboring and international institutions of higher education, including the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom.


Contact Us

For your unique district and school needs, please contact [email protected]

2020 Equity Institute

Meet Dr. Sierra Austin

Dr. Sierra J. Austin, the ESC's Regional School Improvement Coordinator for Equity and Diversity, is a graduate of the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies at The Ohio State University, with a focus on race and social justice. She also graduated with an interdisciplinary specialization in Latino/a Studies. Sierra’s research (done in Columbus City Schools), activism and work focuses on education equity and prioritizes operationalizing intersectional approaches to social change.


Her most recent publications appear in Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture, and Society and Frontiers: A Journal of Women’s, Studies, respectively. Sierra is the recipient of several grants awarded by the National Women’s Studies Association, OSU’s Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, the Council of Graduate Students, the Office of Diversity & Inclusion, as well as the University of Texas at San Antonio. She has presented original research both domestically and abroad, including in Spain and various parts of the UK.


Sierra has served as a lecturer at The Ohio State University, where she was nominated for an Outstanding Faculty Award, Purdue University Fort Wayne, and Columbus College of Art & Design (CCAD). In the K-12 space, Sierra has designed and taught curriculum for social justice elective course offerings and has served as a consultant for several school-based equity and empowerment programs.