Meet Cristina Usino, Director of Community, Inclusion, & Belonging
Beginning May 1, 2023, Cristina Usino officially joins Moravian Academy as the Director of Community, Inclusion, and Belonging.
During the comprehensive search process, Cristina impressed faculty, staff, and parents with her positive energy and thoughtfulness. She is an experienced diversity, equity, and inclusion specialist as well as an educational strategist with a proven track record of empowering students to think critically about the identities they hold and to examine how their identities interact with socio-historical frameworks of privilege, power, and oppression to create what we often call “the student life experience.”
She calls the Lehigh Valley home.
"I’m a Lehigh Valley gal and have been here since I was two years old! I have lived in Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton and currently reside on College Hill with my family. Lafayette College’s beautiful quad is our backyard!"
She is a trained psychotherapist with a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology.
"I have served children, adolescents and families in their wellness journeys. Co-architecting psychological safety, unconditional positive regard and therapeutic interventions are transferable skills that have proved tantamount in every community I have been privileged to be a part of. It was within the safe container of the closed-door session where I learned about hidden school injuries and was inspired to step into roles within education that would allow me to create systemic change with an unwavering commitment to rooting cultures of belonging."
She began her career in higher education.
"I started my career in higher education with a depth of roles including residence life, gender and sexuality resource center, gender violence prevention education, Title IX, multicultural affairs and enrollment management with a focus on diversity recruitment. But I always lit up when in the classroom teaching young people that education is the practice of freedom."
Her Philosophy of Education
"My teaching philosophy blends the disciplines of Ethnic studies, embodiment work, and healing-centered engagement. Ethnic studies is an interdisciplinary field of the cultures, histories and experiences of racial-ethnic groups. It interrogates and analyzes our collective past and present and serves as the practice of humanization and liberation in education. My work with embodiment is to challenge the vastly accepted approach to education that disengages the body and takes movement out of teaching and learning. Healing-centered engagement is the praxis of possibility that as educators, we can invite healing into the classroom."
"On March 31, I was invited to attend the International Festival for all Families hosted on the Merle-Smith Campus. My two children and I were warmly welcomed into the community by new friends, food and fellowship. As I step into my role as Director of Community Inclusion and Belonging, I am committed to a year of immersion, deep learning and earning the trust of the community. Witnessing all three campuses come together in fellowship solidified that my time at Moravian will be fertile ground for doing the best work of my life and for my two children to be in learning environments that elicit the unique genius of every student."
In the spirit of reciprocity from the gifts I received from that event, I offer two resources that center wellness in education:
Mindful Admissions will serve as a soul-centered guide, a moral compass, and a trusted toolkit for parents and their college-bound teens.
Dr. Jenny King's Neuroscience “Take a Break” Nervous-System Micropractice Cards
Based on the brain science of stress and healing, this deck offers 28 micropractices to soothe, settle, or energize the body and mind.