2021 PISD Diversity Leadership Awards

Each year, individuals and groups in the Plano Independent School District community are honored through the Diversity Leadership Awards. These awards recognize community members, staff and students who have led the way in advancing harmony, respect, acceptance and understanding amongst the diverse individuals who make up Plano ISD. This year’s award winners were announced Jan. 22 during the virtual MLK Celebration.

“All of our nominees have been invaluable assets to Plano, not only for promoting and embracing diversity, but for their efforts to educate others on diversity as well. Each has spearheaded a program or initiative that has proven to promote diversity through stronger relationships, improved communications and enhanced understanding within Plano ISD or the broader community within the past year,” said Chairman of the 2020-2021 Plano ISD Diversity Advisory Committee Brad Roth.

Sonja Brock and Chris Utley received the 2021 Community Diversity Leadership Award. Sonja and Chris started a Facebook group called “North Texas Allies.” The group functions as a safe space for community members to listen to and learn from one another through honest conversations about diversity and race. Sonja is a Rasor Elementary teacher. “The passion, determination and time commitment that they have shown is nothing short of inspiring,” said one of the program participants.

Brian Lyons received the 2021 Plano ISD Diversity Leadership Award. Brian is principal at McMillen High School. He believes in the power of education and works tirelessly to create equitable experiences within his school for all students and staff. As a Leadership Plano Class 36 alum, he intiated a Zoom conversation last summer that served to foster conversation around race and diversity in the U.S. and specifically in Plano. This then led to the creation of an online workshop open to Leadership Plano alumni called “Leaders Creating Change.” One participant lauded his efforts, saying, “Brian’s leadership promoted an atmosphere of inclusion and respect.”

Tanaz Muhamed, a student at Plano East Senior High School, received the 2021 Plano ISD Student Diversity Leadership Award. With the support of her teachers, PTA parents, friends and even some of her favorite authors, Tanaz created OurStoriesMatter.net in an effort to ensure all of her fellow students feel welcome in the classroom. The website is a resource for anyone to learn about different cultures through reading stories. The stories share perspectives on life, work and dreams, and are written by people from all backgrounds.

Watch the weeklong virtual MLK Celebration on Plano ISD’s Facebook or Twitter pages.

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