School Diversity Director Simultaneously Worked for a Public Relations Firm that Decried ‘Squeaky Wheel’ Parents

People hold up signs during a rally against "critical race theory" (CRT) being taught in s

River Oaks Baptist School’s previous director of diversity simultaneously worked at a crisis communications firm that specialized in dealing with “squeaky wheel” parents who are “emboldened to speak their minds.”

Melanie Hightower worked at River Oaks Baptist School (ROBS) in Houston, Texas, which is affiliated with the National Association of Independent School (NAIS), as both the director of human resources and the director of diversity/community initiatives at the same time, according to her LinkedIn profile.

One community member at ROBS told Breitbart News that Hightower’s simultaneous authority over both human resources and diversity programming was a “terrible combination,” specifically because “it meant she was hiring people that would fulfill her DEI orientation.”

A position called the Hogan Fellow is specifically advertised as a program that intends to “provide one year of classroom experience” specifically for “talented young educators of color.” The opportunity excludes white applicants, with the qualifications further specifying that candidates must have “self-identification as a person of color.” 

In one email, Hightower encouraged staff members to attend an online training focused on microaggressions, also linking to multiple articles that discuss the topic.

Email from Melanie Hightower inviting staff members to an online training on ‘microaggressions’ (Breitbart News)

The training was hosted by Pollyanna, a pro-critical race theory organization that has crafted a “K-12 Racial Literacy Curriculum.”

Trainings hosted by Pollyanna (

While advancing the diversity agenda at ROBS, Hightower began working as a crisis management consultant for The Jane Group (TJG). TJG is a crisis management firm that specifically caters to independent schools who need paid assistance in crisis communications and media management. The organization’s website advertises that they “know crisis,” “know communications,” and “know DEI.”

Partial work history of Melanie Hightower (Melanie Hightower from Linked In)


One Instagram post from TJG referred to some parents as “squeaky wheels” who were “misbehaving.” (The Jane Group @thejanegroupinc) 

A different post warned of “parent activism,” complaining that “parents are emboldened to speak their minds,” and are even demanding “curricular changes and faculty terminations.”

Post complaining of Parent Activism, citing “parents … emboldened to speak their minds” (the Jane Group @thejanegroupinc) 

TJG is led by Jane Hulbert, whose bio explains that she “has been the NAIS crisis communication’s consultant since 2000.” TJG’s website explains “We are the only crisis communications firm on retainer to the National Association of Independent Schools.” The NAIS is a national accreditation association for private schools across the country, and is registered as a 501(c)(3).

Included on TJG’s list of clients is ISAS, the same organization that ROBS Head Reynolds previously served on the board of. ROBS consults TJG for crisis communications and is listed on TJG’s National Client List. When faced with their own crisis in the form of parent concerns regarding CRT, ROBS Head Leanne Reynolds sent out an email to teachers referring to parent’s concerns as “distractions.”

Reynolds explained that multiple parents, whom she identified by name, had been “reaching out to faculty and staff wanting to discuss CRT at ROBS with you.” She went on to tell teachers, “Please do not engage. We are working to move forward, and we don’t need any more distractions,” according to an email obtained by Breitbart News.

Email from Leanne Reynolds, head of River Oaks Baptist School: “Do not engage.” (Breitbart News)

When asked about the relationship between TJG and ROBS, as well as the treatment of the two parents  the head referenced in the email, a spokesperson for ROBS replied, “We pride ourselves on our mission of providing ambitious academics in a faith-based environment and doing so in partnership with parents – whose involvement we encourage and cherish.”

The Jane Group did not respond to a request for comment.

Spencer Lindquist is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SpencerLndqst and reach out at


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