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I’m Ari Pinkus, associate editor at NAIS, and I will be blogging at the 26th NAIS People of Color Conference this week in National Harbor, Md., outside Washington, D.C.

At PoCC Close, Michel Martin Exhorts: Keep the Conversation Going –  And Here’s How

In its final day, the conference crystallized by looking back and looking ahead. The Francis Parker School (California) choir sang songs about tomorrow, and then an exquisite photo montage of Nelson Mandela flashed on the screen overhead.

Michel Martin, host of NPR’s “Tell Me More,” ran with the full-circle theme: “Nelson Mandela  became a moral and political leader of his own people … that did not happen by accident or by himself,” she says. “It happened because he did the hard and difficult work that you are doing here.”

To continue the “cutting-edge” work on diversity in the midst of America’s fast-changing demographics, we must keep the conversation going. It’s work she knows well as a journalist. As such, Martin offers what she’s learned to have productive conversations on race and diversity. The six keys:

1. Begin the conversation, particularly when the opportunity presents itself. Talk of a national conversation on race incorrectly suggests it’s a one-time event that requires people to get tickets. “We’re having conversations about race every single day,” Martin says. To illustrate her point, she played a clip of an interview  in which she challenged Heidi Grossman, a lawyer in New York City, on why many residents negatively viewed the city’s “Stop and Frisk” policy.

2. Have conversations with people who don’t agree with you. On her show, Martin has hosted members of the Tea Party, David Duke, people from the Occupy Wall Street movement, and others. “If you want to understand people, you have to let them speak for themselves,” she says. Remember that people are entitled to different opinions but not different facts, she points out.

3. Listen. “Listening is a surprisingly hard thing to do,” she says. And just because you’re listening doesn’t mean you agree with what’s being said.  Referencing the saying “silence is assent,” she says that respect is different from assent.

4. Stay in the room. Martin describes being a “fundamentally shy person” and that the microphone allows her to talk to people who are outside of her sphere. “Your discomfort is your friend…. It teaches you…. Learn to embrace it.”

5. Go beyond your boundaries. Martin gives the example of not telling her colleagues to bring sunscreen on a trip abroad because it wasn’t her area of responsibility. She noticed that people “were getting redder and redder.” What it taught her: “Just because it’s not your issue doesn’t mean it’s not an issue,” she says.

6. Know that “this [work] is really hard, and it’s not for amateurs…. Being smart has nothing to do with it. We’re all going to mess up,” Martin says. No matter what, “you get to come back tomorrow and do it someplace else.”

My final thoughts…

Continuing the topic of conversation, I’d like to thank everyone I talked to during the conference for sharing their thoughts and takeaways. You added a rich touch to both the blog and my first experience at PoCC. A special shout-out thank you goes to the three teachers whose reunion I unknowingly crashed. Before this conference, they hadn’t seen each other in 20 years – when two of them were students! So gracious they were to welcome me into their group during their emotional moment, and engage in an insightful and warm-hearted conversation on diversity and inclusion in their schools. This conference is a truly special platform for magnifying people’s unique voices.

Let’s all continue the conversation we began here, virtually and face to face.

Day 2 of PoCC: With a Stirring Performance of Her Own Words, Stacyann Chin Brings Down the House

From the beginning, Stacyann Chin had all of us enraptured, and by the end everyone was buzzing. The spoken word poet, performing artist, and LGBT activist read from her memoir, The Other Side of Paradise, as if she were on a Broadway stage – with passion, animation, and inflection in her voice. Her transformative story and the authenticity with which she told it sent an emotional charge through the room. We laughed uproariously. Tears flowed, too.

The contrasts were continuous. Stacyann’s self-possession shined through before us, even as she described heart-breaking and wretched conditions she endured while growing up in Jamaica. When Stacyann was born, her mother left for Canada for a better life, and her father was absent. In her early years, Stacyann was raised by her hard-working grandmother, but then she was sent into a dysfunctional home, where she had to survive. She read passages that explored spirituality and sexuality in the most visceral ways, touching the heart of the human spirit.

Stacyann also described her deep suffering after coming out as a lesbian in Jamaica. Twelve boys sexually assaulted her. But she pointed out that the experiences in Jamaica led her to New York City, where she made new friends and began writing poetry in a café on the Lower East Side. “I wanted to be able to chase women without being violently chased myself,” she says.

Today, Stacyann is a mother, and brought her daughter with her.

After her performance, many in the audience raced to have her sign their books. In the line, they praised her courage, authenticity, and writing. Some said they planned to come to her upcoming show in New York; a few wanted her to visit their schools. Warmly and gratefully, Stacyann welcomed everyone.

Day 2 of PoCC: As Dr. Marisa Richmond Speaks, Nelson Mandela Looms Large

Nelson Mandela’s passing hung heavy in the room in the second morning. Caroline Blackwell remarked on the loss of a leader, who showed us courage and dignity. When Caroline passed the stage to speaker Dr. Marisa Richmond, a leader who is transgender, Marisa seized on the thought: “To continue his legacy, we must stand up for everyone,” she says. The fight against discrimination in schools is at the top of the list, she says.

Marisa describes how she didn’t feel comfortable coming out when she was a student at the University School of Nashville (Tennessee). Today, every school should adopt a gender identity and expression policy, Marisa says, noting that her alma mater has not done so yet.  She’s saddened, she says, when people ask questions such as: Why should I stand up for someone different than me? Why should I stand up for someone who’s not a citizen? “It’s a great departure from Nelson Mandela,” she says.

Marisa spent much time urging attendees – and the US Congress – to stand up for people’s rights in domestic policy: in immigration with comprehensive reform, in the workplace through the Employment Nondiscrimination Act, and in schools via the Strengthening America’s Schools Act that cracks down on bullying.

She traced her background in working on social justice issues to her two parents, both educators. Richmond, too, is an educator, teaching at Middle Tennessee State University. “There is no defense for that which is indefensible. That is the legacy of Nelson Mandela. We must live up to that,” she says.

In answering attendees’ questions, Marisa noted her lack of role models when she was in school in the 1970s. “Sex workers or entertainers were the only people I saw who were trans and I didn’t want to be one of those.”

When it comes to dress codes, she notes that she’s never been enamored of them, but advises schools: “Acknowledge the identity of the student and this is the dress code for a particular gender. And work from there.”

Marisa was clear that age doesn’t matter when opening up a bathroom or a sports team to a student who is transgender, and cited a case in Colorado in which a school was found to have discriminated against a six-year-old transgender child who had been barred from using the girls’ restroom.

Marisa sought to dispel a myth that people who are transgender are perpetrators of sexual violence. In all the incidents that occur in bathrooms, trans are the victims, she says.

Day 2 of PoCC: Heads of Color Take Center Stage

Then, Caroline Blackwell called all the heads of color of NAIS member schools in the audience to the stage. After 11 came to the front, Caroline acknowledged them and the some 60 heads of color leading member schools.

Musical performances led off the openings during days 1 and 2. Here’s one:

Day 1 of PoCC: What If This Workshop Were a Twitter Chat? Conversation in Tweets

The workshop Cultural Competence & 21st Century Skills: The Intersections of Learning and Community was presented by Gene Batiste, Independent Education (DC); Steven Jones, Jones & Associates Consulting; Rosetta Lee, Seattle Girls’ School (Washington); Alison Park, Blink Consulting; and Chris Thinnes, Curtis School (California).

@Thinnes: Seem to b 2 diff convos taking place: teaching and learning; diversity & inclusion

@Jones: Expect students to know math, why not cultural competence?

@Thinnes: Not about sensitivity; but about a skill set

Familiar ground 4 educators cultivated via: pedagogy, goals for learning, scaffolding

How do we bridge these tensions?

@Batiste: Origins of cross cultural competency: mental healthcare in 1970s

More prep to work with difference; early adopters: military, diplomacy, and businesses working abroad

In Nov. ’12, NAIS principles of good practice for equity and justice adopted

No one gets a pass: it’s skills building for all individuals

@Park: Diversity isn’t the other realm; it’s the bridge & key

Means to teaching math; making best hire; implementing 1:1 laptop

Schools ask her: What’s appropriate to do?

@Lee: Sees diversity via classroom teacher lens, key to being good teacher
Cultural fluency is not: to deal with an Asian, do this

Rather approach with curiosity and delight

Marginalized members: on financial aid, of color read context constantly to see what’s appropriate for work and life

Kids are doing it out of survival

Shouldn’t have to sacrifice central core being

Or be ignorant traveler who offends everyone they want to

Know how to negotiate in a healthy way if in a university abroad

@Dr. Jones: Problem is insidious: You’re not leading like the last head did

Calculus levels of complexity exist around cultural competency issues

Intent is not enough

Meet people with best of intentions as they insult people

When person’s already gotten slapped verbally, doesn’t know when the next one’s coming

Remorse is expected to reduce the sting; it doesn’t

The application of these skills produces multicultural curriculum, community service

But social justice is the calculus problem

All teachers must have the responsibility; no opting out

Used to be: Let’s get the teacher from India because it’s an Indian family

Heard a head say: we’re not diverse enough; when we get the diversity will do the training

How are white, upper-class, heterosexuals going to learn these issues?

Would you graduate your students and not teach them math?

Apply the same level of academic rigor to this area

@Batiste: Not solely about getting buy-in but speaking to the moral imperative

@Park:  Danger of cultural competency in the dominant culture being deemed “right”

Dilemma we face between being right and being effective

@Dr. Jones: One model that defines cultural competency

  1. Awareness of my own culture (talk about white privilege and white culture go together)
  2. Awareness and understanding of other cultures
  3. Cross cultural effectiveness skills (emotional intelligence, empathy)
  4. Fight for social justice; create equity at institutional level

@Park: Passionate about affinity groups, creating facilitated spaces w/ loving adults

@Attendee: Desire for rubric of cross cultural competency

Lee: Be careful about assigning computer based homework if maybe kids don’t have access at home

Ask!

@Park: Fear in cultural competency that u need to know everything of all people

Bubble wrapping yourself against everyone else lacks key self-awareness piece

Develop rubric but don’t stop there

Challenge that tool so it doesn’t sit out in the rain and rust

@Dr. Jones: Working to create national set of rubric for students and educators

@Lee: Focus on the 85% of people who are or could get on board; always will be 15% who don’t care

@Park: Everyone has a growth edge; empower everyone to grow in cross cultural competence

Day 1 of PoCC: Alina Fernandez’s Personal Story Wrapped Up in Cuba’s Tumult

She grew up surrounded by revolution – a revolution that she described as endless, and has continually shaped her life at the same time. In 1993, she finally escaped to come to the US.

Her mother was “the toast of Havana,” and a flexible dancer with a voluptuous figure.  Dr. Orlando Fernandez proposed to her. Soon after, Fidel Castro came into her mother’s life. He was married at the time and starting an underground organization against Batista.

When Castro landed in jail, her mother wrote to him in a powerful correspondence. “Fidel loved my mother a lot but, of course, he also loved his wife,” Alina Fernandez Revuelta says.  At one point, the prison guard mixed up the letters Castro wrote to his wife and to her mother. Castro’s wife found out he was in love with another woman. “When Castro was free from prison, he was also free from marriage,” she says.

As a new leader, Castro was charismatic, even mesmerizing, giving speeches that lasted hours. “He made my mother joyful,” Alina says.

But there was another side. Alina recalled sitting in a room and seeing a screen of a blindfolded man with his hands tied wearing a white shirt covered in dark spots. “It took me 30 years to realize that I witnessed an execution.”

Executions were numerous. She describes other abrupt changes nationwide: the family institution was destroyed as middle class doctors and lawyers left the country en masse. In “the Peter Pan operation,” 14,000 Cubans found their way to America. For those left behind, religion became an ideological weakness against communism. People couldn’t change jobs or gather with others in their homes without clearing it with the secret police. Fear gripped the people and has forever remained, Alina says.

That farmers could no longer be farm owners has had a tangible effect. Since the 1960s the government has been rationing booklets of coffee, sugar, rice, and beans. It was never enough and people were obligated to live on the black market. The widespread desperation touched her as people would stand outside her house and plead to her for help. Alina tried to hide behind her name, Fernandez.

Alina was totally confused growing up in a matriarchal household (her stepfather and sister fled the country) where on one side her mother loved Castro deeply while her grandmother called him the devil. Castro made frequent visits to the house, but he didn’t fix the car or help with homework.

She and her mother had continuous misunderstandings, as her mother has remained a believer in Castro. These misunderstandings started early when her mother used the word voluntary when she really meant mandatory because Alina “had” to do something. Alina said it was like having a personal army at home, with her mother a soldier.

Throughout Alina’s childhood, she felt trapped in a circumstance that she couldn’t escape. “It’s bad when you have nothing to rebel against but yourself.”

She joined the dissent movement in 1989 and life got harder. She described how a revolution becomes a dictatorship at the point when you’re trying to improve something and you’re sent to jail.

An audience member asked if she was afraid for her life at any point and she said no. She cannot live that way. But she volunteered: “Publishing the book was a war.”

When asked about how her relationship with her biological parents influenced her relationship with her daughter, she said, “When I began to be engaged politically, I realized that I was doing the same thing with my daughter that had happened to me. That’s when I decided to leave.”

“You do for your children what’s best for them. I give her choices and love her unconditionally,” she says.

Afterward, I asked attendee Pejman Milani, a media teacher at Episcopal High School (Texas) for his thoughts on Alina’s talk. He described it as “eye-opening, like listening to someone’s story over dinner, very intimate, interesting and enlightening. It made me more aware of the struggles in Cuba.” But he kept waiting for her mother to see the truth about Castro. “That never happened.” He wondered if her grandmother, who was anti-Castro, helped shape Alina’s views. He was also left wondering whether she had to contend with the envy of people asking: “Why aren’t you starving?”


Day 1 of PoCC: Heard in the Halls & Seats: Attendees Speak

Some conversations and takeways from attendees:

Ramon Olivier, a math teacher at The Lawrenceville School (New Jersey), said Daniel Hernandez, Jr.’s speech resonated with him. “I was sad to leave at the end. I felt that he was talking to me.”

He noted how Daniel’s foot was in two worlds, which is similar to his own story. “Both my parents were immigrants from the Dominican Republic. When I walked out the house I was basically speaking English, and I walked back in speaking Spanish.”

Roman described to me how his father resisted American culture. He turned down an amazing job designing valves because it required him to become a citizen – and he wasn’t going to do that. After 40 years, he finally became a citizen.

Roman’s hoping that the conference will highlight a new direction that he hasn’t read about or seen before. He’s looking for PoCC to have an impact at the day-to-day level. He suggests making mailing lists available to participants after the conference and for these lists to be broken down with as much granularity as possible. “I would love to get in touch with other Hispanic math educators, and have targeted conversations after the conference.”

Jennifer Adams, a counselor at Harpeth Hall School (Tennessee), shared how it’s important for students to be able to navigate diversity issues when they leave the school environs, which can be idyllic. Educating teachers and parents about the issues is crucial, too, but it’s also important to give them permission to be wherever they are and not place judgment on them. It’s about the journey – and the work done along the way.

Jennifer works on asking questions rather than avoiding touchy issues as a way of reframing discussion. “Have you ever thought about things this way”? she might say to a child. “Or tell me more about that. Why do you think that way?” “It’s about planting seeds; they may not understand right away.”

Another shift she’s making: changing talk from diversity to talk of inclusion, which really resonates with people, she says. She showed me a great quote from Verna Myers on her phone: “Diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance.” Her school eliminated picnics reserved exclusively for families of color in order to foster more inclusion.

In  keeping with an effort to be more inclusive, the school pays particular attention to the pronunciation of students’ names because “a name is a big deal.” A shared drive file with audio recordings from audacity is available for all teachers and administrators to access. At orientation students say their name twice. This year a girl has 30 letters in her name, and all the teachers have learned to say it correctly. “It makes them feel as if they’re part of the community,” she says.

Jennifer enjoys her visits to PoCC. “I get filled up; I get reminded, grounded. It puts things in the right perspective; you learn more about yourself and apply it.”

Assistant Head of School Honor Taft who’s involved in hiring and retaining faculty, is focused on creating a welcoming environment at The Caedmon School (New York).  She’s at the conference with seven people from her school, and works to find good talent to join the school. Candidates report being impressed with the hiring process, which involves a series of interviews, including with the diversity coordinators. Diversity, she notes, is one of the school’s core tenets, and incorporated into all aspects of Caedmon.

When it comes to inclusion, it’s important to have more conversations with parents and to be an ally and be supportive of them. The questions remain: How do you make yourself accessible to people who are working? Can you shift schedules around? Provide child care?

An attendee expressed frustration that diversity is just a marketing tool at the institutional level because independent schools are still serving a more privileged population.  If that’s true, a workshop speaker said, then we have a real problem.

Over and over it echoed: More diversity is needed at the top of organizations.

An attendee noted that when the diversity coordinator of her school left, the person wasn’t replaced because greater understanding now exists that inclusion is everyone’s work.

An interesting suggestion emerged from one attendee who saw the documentary film screening at the conference about two African-American families who sent their boys to The Dalton School (New York).  Instead of a compelling real-world story, tell a fictional tale amplifying the messages others should take away. Reality can sometimes be constricting.

An attendee said at a time when organizations are resistant to improve, we need a return to the core values of what made this country great: hard work, family and marriage, belief in God, and education.

One point of the keynote speaker is so students can see “here’s a person who looks like me and the person is a successful citizen.” As they describe their success, speakers are giving back to communities, too.

Daniel’s speech brought home that one moment can shape a child’s life and the power of perseverance even with threats of violence.

An attendee who was part of the conference’s leadership seminar says that she learned a new idea to take back to her multiracial affinity group: discuss traditions, particularly around the holidays, and find similarities among cultures.

In diversity work, it’s important to mentor, both to find one and to be one – regardless of skin color. People need to be encouraged to take leadership roles.  This conference is invaluable for providing people strategies to get into leadership positions and opportunities to network.

A long accreditation process (10 years) means that a school could find itself behind if it’s determined that it must work on diversity issues.

If a school is sending people to PoCC, it must be willing to hear what attendees learn so debriefs are key.

Attendees said they want to see more heads of school and division heads of all colors at PoCC, noting that there are administrators of color who don’t come.

An attendee said students are like toddlers when it comes to diversity issues and alums are like adolescents.

Day 1 of PoCC: Daniel Hernandez, Jr.: Putting Education to Work in a Time of Crisis

Kick-off speaker Daniel Hernandez, Jr. was worth the wait. A real storyteller he turned out to be. We learned about how diverse his hometown of Tuscon is, made up of Vietnamese, Cambodians, Latinos, and others. His Latino father, from Van Nuys, Calif., didn’t speak Spanish until his 40s when he met his mother, who hails from Nogales, Mexico. His father had his own construction company, and his parents emphasized hard work all through Daniel’s youth.

He showed a picture of himself at age five with his younger sisters Alma and Consuelo. “This picture happened before a pivotal moment in my life. Sounds strange to say you had a life altering experience at five,”  he said, reflectively. But it happened to him. It started innocently enough when he and his sisters were jumping up and down on bed. He says he fell backwards and hit the back of his head on a filing cabinet.

After the doctor stitched him up at the hospital (and gave him $5), he asked if Daniel would like to follow him around for an hour to learn about what he did. Daniel described his eye-opening experience of shadowing the doctor who went into patients’ rooms saying, “This is my assistant Daniel. Can he listen to your heart beat?”

From that point on, Daniel knew that he wanted to be in the medical field. He wanted to help people, he says.  He joked about liking to “put the stud in study.” At 12, he was rehearsing his medical interview. By 15, he was reading medical journals, he says. At 16, he was participating in cancer research at the University of Arizona.  He learned how to be a phlebotomist with a book, a few sets of needles, and some community assistants. “I practiced on my parents,” he says. His experience in nursing and healthcare was “well-rounded,” he says.

Politics was a different story. Daniel’s family was apolitical. His mother was not a citizen and his father hadn’t voted in 20 years. In school he learned how the US hadn’t had a female president. Hillary Rodham Clinton was running for president at the time, and he decided to sign up on the website to volunteer on her campaign.

That ultimately led him to the opportunity to work with Gabby Giffords.  At first, he was struck by the way she talked of being a voice for people who don’t have one.

As Gabby took Daniel under her wing, he spent less time in healthcare and more time in politics. “She always knew the right thing to say to me,” he says.

In 2008, Gabby, a Democrat, won a competitive race in a Republican district by almost double digits.

In 2010, the political climate grew nasty. It was more than just negative rhetoric. When the door of Gabby’s office was shot at, Daniel wasn’t sure he wanted to be there anymore, he says. Then at a debate, someone showed up with a gun and dropped it – to send a message.  Gabby would say, “We’re above this. That’s not what we’re about. We’re here to help people.”

On election night, Daniel remembers her saying, “It’s not about winning or losing.” She talked about the ability to impact people’s lives and help how we can.  Daniel was moved by her focus on public service. He said, “I can tell you’re going to win, and then I’m going to intern for you.” (She had been asking him for a while.) She won by less than 1,000 votes.

January 8 was a strange day, Daniel says. Gabby had asked him to work the event “Congress on your Corner.” He showed up 30 minutes late. The gatekeeper of the event that day, he was charged with signing in attendees, and told to keep his eye out for anything suspicious. Gabby showed up right at 10 am when the event started, when she usually showed up early to greet people and give hugs.

At 10:10, everything changed, he said, as he showed the slide: Running to the ambulance with Gabby.

He knew no doctors and nurses were there since he was the one signing folks in. So he sprinted to the front. Less than eight seconds later, Gabe Zimmerman passed away.

Daniel says, “I put [Gabby’s] head in my chest, and was holding her up with my right arm. For the next nine minutes, I start talking to her.” It was an idea he got from the show “ER.”

Today, he says, Gabby’s doing better and even though she doesn’t speak as fluently as she used to, her voice has been amplified.

What were the lessons learned for him?

Kindness is very important. “It’s something that takes a lot of work,” he says. Also, “try to be conscious of all of your actions.”

And finally, education is a lifelong process. He didn’t think he’d work in healthcare again and that what he learned at 17 and 18 would be so needed. “You never know that what you learn one year could be used down the line. So take advantage of every opportunity. There aren’t experiences you regret having,” he says.

(His self-analysis and reflection reminded me of Steve Jobs’ famous commencement address to Stanford graduates several years ago. He described how you can’t connect the dots of your life going forward; you can only connect them afterward. You can see ithere.)

I asked an attendee what stood out most from his address.

“That he’s 23 and he did all that,” the participant  says.

Day 1 of PoCC: In PoCC Opening, Many Memorable Numbers to Note

In the ultimate morning mood lift, the jazz band from St. Andrew’s Episcopal School began to play, its smooth tunes filling the packed room – PoCC was underway.

The rest of the opening was chock full. NAIS president John Chubb put the conference in context by noting the country’s changing demographics and what they mean for our institutions: Births to mothers of color have exceeded Caucasian births. So five years from now, he went on, children of color will be the majority in kindergarten. “The children will be there. Will our schools be ready?”

John was emphatic, saying: “Equity is not an extra  – it’s not something we add to our agenda. Schools of tomorrow will not be successful unless they serve all children equally well.”

Resounding applause followed.

As the opening rolled along, Caroline Blackwell, vice president of equity of justice at NAIS, took the stage. To help the audience understand themselves a little more, she noted some conference numbers: PoCC registrants numbered 2,375 and the Student Diversity Leadership Conference (happening concurrently) registered 1,389 students. Participants came from 39 states, Austria, Canada, and the United Kingdom. “The energy in this room is overwhelming and I am honestly humbled to be with you,” Caroline says.

As People of Color Conference Commences, A Closer Look at the Mosaic

This year, the NAIS People of Color Conference theme, “The Capital’s Mosaic: Independent School Leaders Building an Interconnected World,” celebrates the DC region’s multifaceted community, as it features a diverse group of individuals of color who have made inspiring contributions, and amplifies the voices of conference participants.

I’m anticipating the tremendous lineup of speakers poised to carry the theme forward. They include: Daniel Hernandez, Jr., the intern who helped save Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ life three years ago; Alina Fernandez, daughter of Fidel Castro, who spent years rebelling against her identity and wrote Castro’s Daughter: An Exile’s Memoir of Cuba; and Marisa Richmond, the first openly transgender person to win an election in Tennessee as part of the Davidson County Democratic Party Executive Committee, and now on the Trans 100 list of transgender activists and leaders in the U.S.

But it’s not all about big names. Affinity groups help attendees cultivate their own racial/ethnic identity tied to the conference theme. It’s a valuable time when participants speak from their unique perspective and bond with those who share their racial/ethnic identities in a safe environment – and prepare to continue building a more connected world at home.

An added impetus for all of us comes in exploring some demographic contours in independent school leadership. One of this year’s NAIS Teachers of the Future, Carter Latendresse, has done so in his intricately woven blog post, “Monoculture and Moral Injury in NAIS Schools,” here on NAIS Connect. In the piece, he has compiled a range of relevant data about our community from NAIS resources, including the PowerPoint presentation “Diversity and Leadership.”

The lack of diversity glares at us in the presentation stats: In 2010-2011, just 3.9 percent of NAIS heads of school were people of color. Another slide notes that on a typical Board of an NAIS school, 83 percent of members are white. Among teachers, just 13.8 percent are people of color, according to the NAIS Facts at a Glance from 2012-2013.

Such numbers at the educator, administrator, and trustee levels of leadership illustrate that, in many ways, the mosaic is still a work in progress, and much work remains for us to achieve true diversity and inclusion in our school leadership. We must take care to enrich the mosaic – together.

The views expressed here reflect those of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of NAIS. Please contact the author at pinkus@nais.org with comments and suggestions for future blog posts.