Jose Contreras likes a challenge, so he’s enjoying the opportunity as he steps into his new position as Director of Diversity, Engagement and Inclusion at Badin High School.
“It’s not going to be easy, but it’s a challenge that attracts me,” said Contreras, who will forge his own path in what is a newly created position at Badin. “There’s a lot of positive word of mouth going on about Badin in the community. If I can help be a resource for students and families at Badin, I’ll feel good about that.”
Badin is a Catholic school of some 620 students on the west side of Hamilton. It draws students from nearly 50 junior high schools and 30 zip codes. The percentage of students of color at Badin has increased from 5 percent to well over 10 percent in the last few years.
“We embrace the gift of diversity,” said BHS Principal Brian Pendergest, quoting one of the Hallmarks of the Sisters of St. Julie Billiart de Namur, who are affiliated with the school. “We are committed to providing as many resources as we can to help each and every student to achieve the mission of Badin High School.”
Contreras, a recent Miami University graduate who has worked at Badin for several years, “will be working with a wide variety of students in his new role and will be a resource for all of our students,” Pendergest said, though noting that he would be particularly focused on the Latino community.
“I want to make it easier for (Latino) parents to see the good experience their children can have at Badin,” Contreras said. “I can help them through the process and reduce the friction. It’s easier to connect with someone who can speak your language. It makes the process less daunting.”
Contreras, born in Mexico, is an American citizen and a 2014 graduate of Fairfield High School. He and his wife, Sandra, live in West Chester.
“It’s been interesting to see the grade-to-grade growth” in the Latino population at Badin, Contreras said. “I want to help bring in students, retain them at Badin and hopefully someday they will also become legacy parents.
“Sometimes students see (private) education as a barrier that they think is too big,” he added. “I want them to see that it’s something they can grasp at Badin.”
Pendergest said that Contreras would be also be involved with various clubs and organizations “and will help in expanding diversity within our faculty and staff. We look forward to seeing the positive impact he will have on our students and community.”