Howard County hires first equity and restorative practices manager to strengthen community relationships

Jacob Calvin Meyer, The Baltimore Sun

Howard County Executive Calvin Ball on Thursday announced the hiring of Denise Boston as the county’s first equity and restorative practices manager.

As the first person to hold the position, Boston, who grew up in Howard County, was hired to help the county strengthen relationships with disadvantaged communities.

“Dr. Boston’s position was created specifically to identify practices or policies needed to ensure equity and [to] develop strategic community partnerships centered around this work,” Ball said in a statement. “Understanding the huge undertaking of this position, we ensured Dr. Boston would be able to make a long-term impact by establishing it in the Office of Human Rights and Equity. We have the opportunity to be a model for other jurisdictions and set a precedence of continued evolvement and growth.”

Within her job in the Office of Human Rights and Equity, Boston, 64, will identify and implement practices, policies, training and strategic partnerships that lead to equitable outcomes.

Boston was born in Baltimore, and her family was among the first to move to Columbia in the 1970s. Boston is a Wilde Lake High School alumna and has a doctorate in counseling psychology from Walden University. She also has a master’s from Goddard College and an undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.

“I was very impressed with Dr. Ball’s vision for Howard County where racial and socioeconomic equity will be given significant considerations when planning and developing policies and practices that impact public services, programs and initiatives,” Boston said in a statement. “I am also excited to take on [this] position.”

Before starting as the equity and restorative practices manager in Howard County, Boston was a psychology professor at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. She was also the school’s first dean of diversity and inclusion.

Boston has also been a visiting professor at Yonsei University in Seoul, Korea, and Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China.

“Dr. Boston is an asset to the county’s continued plan to address inequities, discriminatory practices and to ensure Howard County is an equitable and inclusive place to live and work,” Human Rights and Equity Administrator Yolanda Sonnier said in a statement. “As Dr. Boston develops the equity strategic plan, the participation of community members, groups and organizations are essential to the long-term success of the plan.”