PoCC Equity Seminars

PoCC Equity Seminars are opportunities for deep-dives into pressing equity and justice topics for independent schools. Pre-registration is required for all seminars, and there is an extra fee to attend.


Leadership Institute for People of Color (Monday and Tuesday)

The PoCC Leadership Institute for BIPOC takes place in two parts: the first part on Monday, November 29 (Noon–3:00 PM ET) and the second part on Tuesday, November 30 (Noon–3:00 PM ET).

Presenters: Nicole A. DuFauchard, The Advent School (MA); James Calleroz White, The Galloway School (GA); Felicia McCrary, The Galloway School (GA)

Gain powerful strategies to advance to the next level of leadership while building your network of fellow leaders, mentors, and sponsors in this unique seminar tailored for BIPOC educators. The NAIS Leadership Institute for BIPOC offers state-of-the-art leadership development tools, strategies, and resources including understanding how cognitive preferences influence leadership through The Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument (HBDI) Inventory.  

The institute format includes in-the-moment coaching, peer exchange, and post-institute follow-up, all in an encouraging atmosphere designed to nurture and propel a compelling vision for fulfilling your career goals. Participants gain an inside view into critical moves for long-term professional and personal growth and success. Through facilitated dialogue with top leaders of color, participants access wisdom to help tackle issues including working effectively with mentors and sponsors, evaluating your advocate in the search process, and critical skills leaders wish they had before assuming their positions. Attend this institute to build a cohort of colleagues, mentors, champions and sponsors to walk alongside you in your leadership journey. 


Full-Day Seminars (Monday and Tuesday)

Each full-day Equity Seminar will take place in two parts: the first part on Monday, November 29 (Noon–3:00 PM ET) and the second part on Tuesday, November 30 (Noon–3:00 PM ET). If you take a full-day Equity Seminar, you cannot also take a half-day Equity Seminar.

ESF01. Auditing DEI: So Much More Than a Survey—Part 1

Presenters: Alison Park, Blink Consulting; Stacey Kertsman, Blink Consulting

“DEI work is never done.” True, but we should still be accountable for progress. How is DEI going at your school? How do you know? Maybe you administer a survey, collect some demographic information, and even have an inclusion dashboard. Explore how to connect those individual elements of assessment within a rigorous, robust, and impactful DEI auditing framework. Join us to deepen your understanding of DEI auditing—what it is, why it’s vital, and how to design an audit that demonstrates diversity, equity, and inclusion. Workshop fundamental audit questions about what your priorities are and how can you objectively assess “inclusion” and “belonging.” Learn to situate auditing within an ongoing, formative, strategic-growth process and take stock of your institution’s auditing foundation and growth edges.

ESF02. The Art of Giving and Receiving the Gift of Racial Feedback: Building Joyful Cross-Racial Allyship

Presenters: Nikkia Young, Head-Royce School (CA); Lisa Haney, California Teacher Development Collaborative

How can direct racial feedback lead to meaningful cross-racial collaboration and programmatic change? While we understand that moving through racial ruptures to genuine repair nurtures interpersonal connection, individual transformation, and institutional equity, we lack stories, models, and strategies for giving and receiving racial feedback, developing robust cross-racial allyship, and fostering true equity and inclusion.
We first crossed paths at the 2019 CATDC Women + Leadership Conference, in the midst of a public racial miscue. Join this interactive workshop to share the concrete, actionable strategies that allowed us (a Black woman offering racial feedback and white woman receiving it) to move through a fraught moment to enduring cross-racial collaboration and programmatic change. Bring your thoughts, hopes, wishes, and worries. Get time for discussion and application.

ESF04. Cultural Value Leadership: A Leadership Model for DEI

Presenters: Veronica Herrera, The McCallie School (TN)

Join us to learn about cultural value leadership (CVL), a researched-based leadership model. This recently published leadership style provides measurable ways to evaluate the cultural value in a situation, activity, or an individual’s participation. In CVL, culture is considered the intellectual capital in the application of culture philanthropy leadership strategies for individuals, entrepreneurs, influencers, public organizations, educational institutions, and corporations (Herrera, 2021). The advantage of CVL over traditional leadership models (transactional, servant, transformational, etc.) is the opportunity for leaders to make an impact through positive cultural conduct in situations or in the lives of others, through shared ethical values. We will officially unveil resources from the Cultural Value Institute during this seminar.

ESF05. Do You See What I Mean? Facilitating Courageous Conversations Visually

Presenters: Kawai Lai, Kawai Lai Persons; Rosetta Lee, Seattle Girls School (WA); Tamisha Williams, Tamisha Williams Consulting, LLC
As educators and activists leading the work around diversity, equity, and inclusion in our schools, we are often called on to facilitate courageous conversations across identity, power, and difference. Though there are many dialogue models and tools, visuals can help set the stage, support thinking, and catalyze breakthroughs. Engage with veteran facilitators to learn common facilitation models, avoid pitfalls, and manage polarity. Learn visual facilitation from experts to help people see issues and perspectives more clearly. Join us for an opportunity to unpack practical strategies on facilitating courageous conversations, practice facilitating, and leave with a visual toolset to deepen your practice.

ESF06. Educational Justice for Black Girls: A Call for Radical, Transformational Pedagogy

Presenters: Shemariah Arki, The Kent State University Press; Omobolade Delano-Oriaran, St Norbert College; Marguerite Pennick, University of Wisconsin; Orinthia Swindell, Live Oak School (CA); Eddie Moore, Jr., The Privilege Institute

All Black girls are beautiful and brilliant, representing diverse cultural backgrounds and social identities. As brilliant and gifted as Black girls are, we know they are not thriving to their full potential in K–12 schools as a result of oppressive systemic and institutional barriers. Our guiding text, Teaching Beautiful, Brilliant Black Girls, calls for a radical, transformational pedagogy that centers the lived experiences of all Black girls. It is time for the American education system to do right by—and with—Black girls, by providing them equitable access to a Pan-African, culturally engaging, relevant, and responsive education. Join us to explore critical strategies for transforming your classroom to create spaces where Black girls thrive!

ESF07. From Trauma to Fatigue to Reintegration

Presenters: Roslyn Benjamin, The Children's School (GA); Paula Farmer, The Berkeley School (CA); Yvonne Hendricks, Live Oak School (CA)

What is culturally responsive teaching and why does it matter even more following the death of George Floyd? What is Black and white fatigue and how does it show up in our schools? We know that all educators, regardless of race, need to hold their students to high academic and behavior expectations, while building trust and rapport with them. This requires teachers to be aware of Black fatigue and how it surfaces in their students. Teachers must do the “inside-out” work, “developing the right mindset, engaging in self-reflection, checking for implicit biases, and practicing social-emotional awareness.” In other words, to move toward just intent, we, as educators, have to reach our students, understand the fatigue, and examine its impact.

ESF08. Leading Culture Change in Schools: Belonging, Equity, Inclusion, and Beyond

Presenters: Rebecca Stilwell, Columbia University Teachers College; Nicole Furlonge, Columbia University Teachers College

Inequity is a deeply rooted and structured system, historically seeded and locally and globally cultivated. Yet when we engage in equity, inclusion, and belonging change work in our schools, we tend to approach the problem as an interpersonal issue rather than a cultural and systems one. In order to tend to the work of culture shifting for school change, join us to learn ways of thinking about and approaching culture change. While the strategies and tools you engage with here are transferable to all kinds of change-making work, we will focus on equity, inclusion, and belonging.

ESF09. Master Class in Place-Based Education: A Context for Indigenous People in All Learning and Every School

Presenters: Kapono Ciotti, Wai'alae Elementary Public Charter School (HI)

Current social tensions felt in the U.S. are playing out on Indigenous lands. We can learn lessons from Indigenous people on how to leverage place, land, and community to build inclusive, anti-bias education—yet the voices of Indigenous people play all too small a part in building a just and equitable world. Join us to examine Makawalu, a native Hawaiian term that embodies the concept of multiple perspectives, to unpack the principles of place-based learning and design a unit for your students or school. Participants will: (1) Learn about Makawalu, leveraging this native Hawaiian philosophy to understand place-based learning, (2) Learn about the 10 principles of place-based learning, and (3) Apply the 10 principles to build a place-based unit.

ESF10. ProEquity: A "Perspectives Consciousness" and Civics-Based Approach to Antiracist Education (For Seventh-12th Grade Social Studies Educators)

Presenters: Ayo Heinegg Magwood, Uprooting Inequity LLC; Brigid Moriarty-Guerrero, Longview Education

The ProEquity approach uses Hess and McAvoy’s “empirical vs. policy” framework to distinguish empirical questions such as “Does structural racism exist?” from policy questions such as “What should government do about structural racism?” (e.g., affirmative action). Treating structural racism as fact precludes racist comments that blame racial disparities on African Americans rather than on structural racism and allows educators to safely welcome conservative viewpoints. ProEquity uses “perspectives consciousness” strategies to increase psychological flexibility and foster a shared identity as a “we” society. It also uses “value tensions” to frame ideological policy positions as different prioritizations of values on a continuum rather than as “right or wrong.” This fosters political tolerance and encourages a “critical yet empowered” view of racism.

ESF11. SKY Breathwork and SEL for Educators

Presenters: Susan Ramsundarsingh, SKY Schools(Toronto, CA), SKY Schools,  Ambrose Wilson-Brown, SKY Schools(WI), Deirdre Jackson, SKY School (CA), Elan Gepner-Dales, SKY Schools(GA)

SKY Breathing Meditation offers tools to heal the pains, trauma, and stress of systemic racism and oppressive systems by bringing together people of color and allies in a space of healing and self-care. The cornerstone of this interactive, reflective workshop is the SKY Breathing practice, which utilizes specific rhythms of the breath to quickly and easily eliminate stress, revitalize the nervous system, and bring greater clarity and focus to the mind. It does this by taking advantage of the natural connection that already exists among the body, the breath, and the mind. Designed for educators, this seminar equips teachers, administrators, and youth advocates with evidence-based tools to manage your own stress and emotions, providing deep healing and transforming school cultures—allowing students to thrive.

ESF12. Systemic Racial Equity, Not Rhetoric: Strategies for—and Real Consequences of—Hiring with Cultural Competence

Presenters: Cris Cullinan, Eugene; Amani Reed, The School at Columbia University (NY); Kalyan Balaven, The Dunn School (CA); Emma Coddington, Willamette University; Ruth Jurgensen, Prep for Prep

The goal of this seminar is for leaders to decide whether they are ready to restructure hiring processes in ways that actually build anti-racist equity and strengthen a climate to retain and reward those working for social justice within the school community. In a world shaped by COVID-19 and the continued sanctioned murder of people of color, this work is urgent. Any façade of “diversity” rhetoric must give way to effective systemic change for racial equity; to do otherwise is to reinforce a racist climate. Join us for opportunities to identify practices for attracting, hiring, and supporting the best culturally competent candidates for all positions, reminding members of the school community that racial equity is both an ongoing institutional imperative and a collective responsibility.

ESF13. Taking AIM to the Next Level: What to Do with Your AIM Survey Results

Presenters: Jen Turner, La Jolla Country Day School (CA); Marsh Poh, La Jolla Country Day School (CA)

Taking the step to engage your school community with the NAIS Assessment for Inclusivity and Multiculturalism (AIM) Survey provides schools with rich and robust data. Organizing and processing qualitative and quantitative data can be overwhelming, yet it is an important step in understanding survey results on your school’s climate, providing transparency within your community, and setting focused goals with tangible outcomes. After designing this process and ironing out the wrinkles along the way, our team is ready to share the details of our journey to help guide and support those looking to launch the AIM survey or coordinate next steps after receiving results.

ESF14. They Said What They Said! Leveraging BIPOC Student Voice to Enhance DEIJ Work in Schools

Presenters: Kalea Selmon, The Wells Collective; Shari Berga, The Wells Collective; Akailah Jenkins McItyre, The Wells Collective; Jennifer Moore, The Wells Collective; Talia Busby Titus, The Wells Collective

Developing student leaders is essential to the mission of all schools. Yet, when Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) students demonstrate leadership skills by advocating for what they need, schools often do not listen. Join us to reflect on what it means to love, empower, and be accountable to BIPOC students by centering their needs and critically examining the extent to which the institution fulfills its mission for them. Using youth-led social movements as a model, discuss how institutions can respond to students’ experiences and work with students to co-create equitable school cultures and just learning communities moving forward.

ESF15. Facilitating Affinity Groups and Navigating Other Difficult Conversations About Racism and Oppression

Presenter: Natalie J. Thoreson, inVision Consulting

In our current social climate, people are increasingly responsible for facilitating uncomfortable conversations to challenge white supremacy and oppression and promote understanding, respect, and connection. This interactive seminar is for people engaged in formally or informally facilitating social justice interactions, affinity groups, and other difficult conversations. Together we will build our comfort in clearly defining, explaining, and discussing the construction of oppression to individuals at varying levels of experience. Participants will learn how to hold courageous conversations and establish safe(r) spaces to enable groups to lean into discomfort; practice facilitation tools and methodologies for leading effective 1:1, large, and small intergroup conversation in a variety of scenarios; and learn how to effectively address disengagement, arguments, and divisiveness. We will also examine our own identities and identity-based socialization and how they impact our interactions, as well as how we are impacted personally.

ESF16. Building Safe, Brave, and Affirming Schools for LGBTQ Youth of Color

Presenter: Jabari Lyles, Jabari Lyles Consulting (MD)

Schools are often unsafe, hostile environments for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning students, teachers, and families. Painful legacies of discrimination, harassment, ridicule, and assault haunt the promise of safety for LGBTQ people within school communities, especially LGBTQ youth, which translates to poor student achievement, poor health outcomes, and a decreased sense of belonging. Schools are purposefully missing opportunities to celebrate the liberation, bravery, and beauty found within the LGBTQ community, and starving youth of key lessons about how gender and sexuality shape our perception of ourselves and society. The conversation about safe and welcoming schools for LGBTQ youth has shifted particularly in the past 5-10 years, with a focus on transgender and gender nonconforming youth. Teachers and school leaders rarely have the knowledge, tools, institutional support, or willingness to address these issues. Participants will deep-dive into the needs and experiences of LGBTQ students, with a focus on LGBTQ youth. Attendees will take away new information, skills, and practices to better prepare them to implement data-driven and youth-led strategies for safe, brave, and affirming schools. 

Half-Day Seminars (Monday)

Monday, November 29, Noon–3:00 PM

ESH01. BIPOC Empowerment and White Accountability: Addressing the Hidden Burden of Racial Interactions

Presenters: Sandra Chapman, Chap Equity; Jessica MacFarlane, Independent Consultant

Join us to focus on evidence-based strategies to address the unconscious phenomenon of racial anxiety, which is the stress that Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) and white people may experience in cross-racial interactions. Link this body of work to understanding why racial microaggressions happen, even among colleagues or within institutions committed to equity. The cross-racial pair of facilitators draw on theoretical frameworks, research, and their collective repertoire of prior workshop experiences to support BIPOC participants in applying inner strengths to move through the impact of racialized encounters and hold white participants accountable in minimizing the burden of racial navigation for BIPOC.

ESH02. Break Free from “Pet to Threat” and Authentically Sponsor Leaders of Color

Presenters: Thu-Nga Morris, The Pingry School - Lower School (NJ); Serry Coleman, Coleman Strategic Consulting; Staci Williams Seeley, Storbeck Search

Sponsorship is one strategy that could help accelerate the career mobility of people of color to senior executive positions. Join us to unearth and demystify sponsorship, which is a strategy that could help aspiring school leaders combat racism. Explore groundbreaking research on the influence of sponsorship on the advancement of independent school heads and examine the experiences of people of color when they are perceived as “pets” and “threats” by gatekeepers and during senior-level searches. Gain strategies to position yourself to be successfully sponsored by people in positions of power or to be an effective sponsor of aspiring leaders of color.

ESH03. Cultivating Courage to Confront Complicated Legacies in Independent Schools: The Oneness Lab Experience at McCallie School

Presenters: Eric Dozier, The Oneness Lab; Homa Tavangar, The Oneness Lab; Sumner McCallie, McCallie School (TN)

Almost all independent schools have complicated legacies when it comes to race. The McCallie School (TN) is no exception. In 2021, the school embarked on a learning journey with Oneness Lab, a consultancy co-founded by a Black McCallie graduate. According to senior McCallie staff, the experience “…opened a way for us to talk truthfully, to think openly, and to act anew” reckoning with their complicated history and committed to changing their trajectory for DEIJ. Join us to explore the impactful journey and lasting commitments made by the McCallie School and get an introduction to the process staff experienced. Examine specific tools and exercises used to unlock the skill sets needed to go deeper than diversity and inspire courageous, informed, and strategic action.

ESH05. Equity Begins with EQ

Presenters: Mona Elleithee, Renewed Harmony (SC)

We want equity embedded into the fabric of our schools, but how do we get there? According to the National Equity Project, we must: “(1) reduce the predictability of who succeeds and who fails, (2) interrupt reproductive practices that negatively impact vulnerable and marginalized students, and (3) cultivate the unique gifts and talents of every student.” Join us to break down Elleithee’s Equity Taxonomy as a guide to navigate the road ahead. Designed to help educators clarify where they are on their own equity journey, the taxonomy outlines the empowered steps necessary to take our policies, programs, and people where our students need them to be. It also intertwines cultural proficiency with emotional intelligence (EQ) and can be used to address inequities across social identities.

ESH06. Practicing Together: Navigating Conversations About Anti-Racism with Students and Adults

Presenters: Carol Swanson, San Francisco Schoolhouse (CA); Jen Cort, Jen Cort Consulting

Educators, school administrators, and parents engaged in social justice conversations with young people, join us for a social justice toolkit, an experience through film, and the invaluable wisdom that comes through the experiential practice of vulnerability in difficult conversations. As author Brené Brown reflects, we must be brave, awkward, and kind. Take this opportunity to be brave, awkward, kind, and more. Gain new insights into talking about race with children and adults, strategies to use in any challenging conversation, and an electronic publication with resources to use back at school.


Half-Day Seminars (Tuesday)

Tuesday, November 30, Noon–3:00 PM

ESH07. From Inquiry to Action: Using Middle School Life Science to Counter and Transform Racist Thinking

Presenters: Angela Flynn, The Gordon School (RI)

Get (re)introduced to the five dimensions of multicultural education from the work of Dr. James Banks. Using the model of a traditional middle school science curriculum, learn how these dimensions can transform students’ learning experiences by strengthening their capacity to develop discipline-specific and cross-cutting skills that result in social action. Explore and apply a powerful assessment and planning tool to more effectively “help students identify, examine, and clarify their values; consider value alternatives; and make reflective value choices they can defend within a society in which human dignity is a shared value.” Begin to transform your existing units and leave with ready-to-use materials. Please bring your current units and a laptop.

ESH08. Ideas to Action! Strategic Planning for DEIJ Work

Presenters: Stephanie Bramlett, Phillips Exeter Academy (NH)

Goal setting and strategic planning are the keys to effective equity and justice work. Unless intentional planning time is set aside, many schools find it challenging to balance the time demands of programming, student support, and long-term institutional equity goals within the hustle of the academic year. Join this highly interactive workshop for equity and justice leaders who want to galvanize their teams to move from talk to action. Take advantage of the time away from school to focus on planning and strategy. Leave the workshop with a vision statement, prioritized strategic goals, and ideas for how to best communicate with various stakeholders.

ESH09. Our Liberation Is Connected: Moving Beyond Intent to Strategize for Action

Presenters: Rochelle Reodica, Marin Horizon School (CA); Tinia Merriweather, Ethical Culture Fieldston School (NY); Jacqueline Kurzer, Cathedral School for Boys (CA)

Schools have radically changed to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, but have we responded to the racial pandemic that continues to terrorize communities of color? When our liberties are under assault, our sense of safety is jeopardized, and we are reckoning with the impacts of poly-pandemics, it becomes difficult to work collectively toward social justice. Changing institutions requires more than individual reflection and just intent. Uniting communities of color against white supremacy in the pursuit of racial justice can begin by dismantling anti-Black, anti-immigrant, and anti-Asian ideologies. Join us to get the tools to catalyze individual growth into organizational shifts. Utilize organizational change frameworks to build solidarity across communities of color and leverage our power to effect radical institutional change.

ESH10. Systems Thinking for Community Health and Well-Being: Visualizing Complexity and Consequences of Actions

Presenters: Jacqueline Wolking, NAIS; Jeff Hell, Cauzality; Darylle Smoot, NAIS; Antonio Hernandez, NAIS

Community health and well-being in our schools is a multifaceted topic. With so many variables impacting the students and adults in our care, it's overwhelming to know which levers to pull to create lasting, sustainable, and positive change in this area. NAIS and Cauzality have partnered to bring a systems-thinking approach and easy-to-use software platform to schools to visualize the interdependencies among these variables and build conceptual understanding of causal feedback loops within a school's ecosystem. Join us for a highly interactive and school-specific session. Use the Cauzality systems mapping software to draw connections between the forces acting on your school's community health and well-being and identify the most promising leverage points to take action for the future.

ESH11. What Are Anti-Racist Schools?

Presenters: Tawanna Jones Morrison, we REIGN Inc.

Police brutality during the COVID-19 lockdown caused civil unrest that engulfed the country. Many school leaders quickly mandated anti-racism training but not the social capital and personal work needed to breathe life into anti-racist practices. It is never too late to begin again. Join us for the opportunity to re-center our personal and collective journey toward anti-racist education. Together we will reimagine anti-racism by interrogating our own social identities in the school system, learning about the role of restorative practices and social and emotional learning in anti-racist work, analyzing brave spaces as a framework for community building, and developing a plan of action for supporting community transformation using social problem-solving. Leave ready to build bridges and imagine the possibilities for your learning communities.