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2012 Summer Diversity Institute

posted Apr 6, 2012, 3:35 PM by Annie Knudsen

2012 Summer Diversity Institute

June 17 - June 22, 2012

The Taft School
Watertown, Connecticut
Quick Tasks
Register online
Institute Information (PDF)
Questions? Contact institutes@nais.org for more info.

Program Information

The NAIS Summer Diversity Institute (SDI), an intensive week-long residential program, provides independent school faculty, staff, administrators, and diversity practitioners with broad-based tools to lead and manage change in their communities. 

Creating and sustaining an equitable and just environment is an ongoing challenge for independent schools, one that demands individual awareness, understanding of group process and behavior, and facility with organizational complexity and management constructs. For schools to become truly inclusive and transformative learning communities, leaders must strategically infuse — and champion the inherent value of — diversity, equality, empowerment, and justice in all aspects of school life. 

The Summer Diversity Institute curriculum addresses the many dimensions of diversity and inclusion in a three-tiered approach (theory, application, and experience) to help participants develop mindful initiatives and enhance ongoing efforts that support their institutions' missions and commitment to continuous improvement. By examining and applying sound theory, best practices, and creative approaches to human interaction and organizational dynamics, institute participants enhance professional competencies, build credibility, foster innovation, and plan strategically for building and sustaining school communities that maximize the potential of students and adults alike. 

Institute Curriculum
The 2012 institute offers a comprehensive core curriculum delivered in three-hour modules or strands, including:

  • Intercultural Conflict;
  • Leading and Managing Diversity Initiatives;
  • Dynamics of Privilege and Power;
  • Curriculum Development Inclusive of All;
  • Intercultural Communication; and
  • Racial, Ethnic, and Cultural Identity.

These strands are supplemented by two-hour plenary sessions with topics such as religious and spiritual difference, classism, and LGBT issues in schools. Daily home groups provide still another organized setting in which to examine and mastermind these or other diversity-related or social justice topics. 


In an increased effort to deliver applicable content that participants can readily use, the institute will offer programmatic tools for successful diversity initiatives. Models of leading edge diversity and inclusion initiatives, gathered from schools and organizations across the country, will be packaged and available in a unique and hands-on format. 


Independent school leaders who have direct or support responsibility for their community’s diversity initiatives are encouraged to attend.

Feedback from Past Participants

“This was the best week of diversity training I have ever had in all my years of teaching at an independent school. I will be sharing my experience before the full faculty when the new school year begins and I fully expect to create much interest in having several participants attend next summer.” 

“I felt as though all the components [of the institute] were connected and flowed together. The order in which our group experienced each strand was excellent, and my home group was engaging and a wonderful, thought-provoking way to end each day.”

"I was wildly impressed with the faculty. I felt warmed by their personal stories, invigorated by their mission, and honored to be privy to their expertise throughout the week.” 

Click here to read a testimonial from Shani Barrax Moore, director of diversity, Cary Academy (North Carolina).

PLEASE NOTE: The institute begins at 1:00 PM on Sunday, June 17, and ends at 8:00 PM on Friday, June 22. Because we end late in the evening, we welcome you to stay overnight and leave on Saturday, June 23, at no additional cost.  Those needing to arrive on Saturday, June 16, please contact Jay Rapp at (202) 973-9752 or rapp@nais.org



Here are a few of our 2012 SDI plenary speakers:

Jennifer Bryan will address the role of gender and sexuality in PreK - 12th grades, helping participants explore everything from the tyranny of "girl colors/boy colors" to the ubiquity of "that's so gay" to the new landscape of adolescent genders and sexualities. Gender and Sexuality Diversity (GSD) is a broad construct that describes the continuums of biological sex, gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation. GSD represents the belief that Gender Identity and Sexual Identity are essential aspects of Human Identity for all people, and that gender and sexuality are inherently diverse. "Diversity" refers to the concept of biodiversity signifying the variety of genders and sexualities in the world. Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex (GLBTQI) identities are part of the larger Gender and Sexuality Diversity construct.

Tim Wise is among the most prominent anti-racist writers and educators in the United States, and has been called, "One of the most brilliant, articulate, and courageous critics of white privilege in the nation," by best-selling author and professor Michael Eric Dyson, of Georgetown University. Wise, who was named one of "25 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World," by Utne Reader in 2010, has spoken in 49 states, on more than 600 college campuses, and to community groups across the nation. He has also lectured internationally in Canada and Bermuda on issues of comparative racism, race and education, racism and religion, and racism in the labor market.


Caroline G. Blackwell, director of multicultural affairs, University School of Nashville (Tennessee)


  • Johnnie Foreman, Gilman School (Maryland)
  • Nishant Mehta, Alexandria Country Day School (Virginia)
  • Karen Bradberry, Bickel & Brewer Foundation (Texas)
  • Rebecca Coleman, Savannah Country Day School (Georgia)
  • Sandra (Chap) Chapman, Little Red School House and Elisabeth Irwin High School (New York)
  • Crissy Caceres, Abington Friends School (Pennsylvania)
  • Rosetta Lee, Seattle Girls' School (Washington)
  • Kapono Ciotti, Maryknoll School (Hawaii)


  • Elizabeth Pringle, vice president for professional development
  • Jay Rapp, senior director of programs for professional development 



The Taft School is our host for this institute. Participants stay in residence halls on the lovely campus, which is located in Watertown, CT. It is about 40 minutes by car from Hartford. The closest major airport is Bradley International Airport. For more information about Taft go to http://www.taftschool.org/.

Important Registration Notes: The registration fee for this institute includes the cost of meals and accommodations in residence halls on campus. NOTE: Several of the rooms do not have air conditioning. Air-conditioned rooms will be assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. Average local high temperatures for June are in the upper 70s. Please take this into consideration In light of your individual medical needs.

Pricing and Registration


NAIS Member Rate:

Register by May 1st: $2,150

Register after June 1st: $2,350

NAIS Nonmember Rate:

Register by May 1st: $3,047

Register after June 1st:  $3,247 

Sponsorship Opportunities
Would your company or organization like to gain visibility at the institutes? Check back here soon for a description of sponsorship opportunities.

There are two ways to register:
  1. Online: Register online
  2. By Mail: 2012 NAIS Institutes Registration Form

Contact Information

For additional information, contact Jay Rapp at (202) 973-9752 or rapp@nais.org.