Justice, Equity & Diversity Institute

NYSAIS announces a year-long program to equip its participants to advance the work of justice, equity and diversity in school. It is for NYSAIS schools who currently have a Director of Diversity who would benefit from this experience, and NYSAIS schools without a Director of Diversity who wish to strengthen their efforts by seeking this training for a faculty or staff member who may or may not fill this formal role.

Over the past five years a growing number of New York independent schools have implemented full-time or part-time diversity practitioner positions, due in part to increasing mission-based support from heads of school as well as a strengthening of the links between educational philosophy and institutional equity. As heads of school have become more vocal about leading accountable social justice work in their communities, some classroom educators have expressed growing interest in transitioning to administrator roles related to equity and inclusion.

While support for the creation of these roles has increased, directors of diversity face unique challenges. As of 2014, approximately 20% of directors of diversity received no formal training in their field, a serious limitation that has grown more common since last surveyed by NAIS in 2009. Furthermore, the majority of equity practitioners only received (1) short-term training through the week-long NAIS Summer Diversity Institute (now known as the Diversity Leadership Institute) or the NAIS People of Color Conference, a race-based affinity space centered on support and networking that is not intended to provide an in-depth, professional training environment addressing multiple diversity issues.

Within a school itself, only around 35% of practitioners are full-time.(2) Nearly 60% of diversity directors have additional role responsibilities in the classroom or within multiple departments and divisions, leaving limited time for the high-level, uninterrupted training a practitioner may seek on their own.(3) About 42% of practitioners are the first or second person in their role at their school, often in a position that is vaguely defined, and mostly within schools that have no strategic diversity plan. Nearly a quarter of equity directors receive no mentoring, (4) while close to 95% say they serve as a mentor to others in their communities.(5) Even if they provide strong mentorship without having received much themselves, more than 90% of directors of diversity say they do not have a sponsor.(6) This limitation may be connected to the fact that fewer than half of equity practitioners have a place in their school’s senior administrative team.(7) And while more schools are appointing diversity directors, many of those placements are talented teachers of color who receive no formal job description, no formal training, have little to no past experience, and receive limited budget support. It is not unusual for these leaders, who often are challenged by others, to be blamed when the diversity position doesn’t work, with no accountability taken by school leadership for the lack of preparedness. In independent schools, successful directors of diversity are those seen as taking action beyond just talk, so committed equity leaders must be prepared to provide tangible, positive deliverables in their school communities.(8)

Due to its physical location in the Northeast, where the majority of current diversity directors already work, as well as its strong networks and stated support of equity initiatives within its member schools, NYSAIS is uniquely poised to provide a responsive, respected, and accessible training institute for current and potential equity leaders in independent schools.

This program will have particular appeal to classroom teachers looking to apply a firmer equity lens to curriculum and pedagogy, and to faculty and staff members interested in part- or full-time director of diversity roles (whether or not they are given the title of Director of Diversity.)


  1. NYSAIS will provide a year-long, cohort-based Institute centered on a “deep dive” with matters of justice, equity, and diversity in independent schools.
  2. Cohort Members will gain the necessary training to create Lower, Middle, and Upper School curriculum models directly connected to social justice; training on conducting research; public presentation skills; an accessible network of colleagues, mentors, speakers, and consultants; and skills to create a strategic plan for diversity in different types of school communities.


Cohort members will meet throughout one academic year, consisting of 4-6 training sessions over fall, winter, and spring, and bookended by a 3-day summer residential “deep dive” in August 2017 and June 2018. Training sessions will include one Mohonk conference (Diversity Practitioners Conference) and the annual day-long Diversity Conference. Additional training sessions on specific equity topics will be led by experienced directors of diversity in the New York area and across the country, whom cohort members will join in-person and/or via Zoom. Additional events may be included or recommended.

Applicant review material will consist of a recommendation from a senior administrator, basic application including evidence of prior diversity work, and a resumé.

NYSAIS Diversity Committee members Erica Corbin (Chapin) and Yuval Ortiz-Quiroga (Saint Ann’s) will create and lead Institute curriculum in partnership with leadership of NYSAIS.

Over the course of one year, cohort members will participate in:

  • Two residential summer retreats at Carey Conference Center
  • One residential conference at Mohonk Mountain House
  • One full-day Diversity Conference
  • A series of webinars / e-seminars
  • A mentor partnership
  • An on-line community with regular meetings
  • Reading groups

Topics include:

  • Common Challenges and Trends in Justice, Equity, and Diversity
  • Leading Change: Developing a Personal Vision for Institutional Justice, Equity, and Diversity
  • Charting a Vision: Strategic Planning for Justice, Equity, and Diversity
  • Best Practices for Engaging School Leadership and Varied Constituent Groups
  • Effective Partnerships with Consultants and Community Organizations
  • Justice, Equity, and Diversity in the Curriculum
  • Crisis Management and Conflict Resolution


Specific Dates for 2017-18:

February 24, 2017 – Application Deadline
March 15, 2017 – Cohort announced
Summer Retreat (Carey Conference Center, August 21-23, 2017)
Trustee Governance Workshop (September 2017)
NYSAIS Diversity Conference (Lycée Français, April 2018)
NYSAIS Diversity Practitioners Conference (Mohonk, May 2018)
Summer Retreat (Carey Conference Center, June 21-23, 2018)


The Justice, Equity and Diversity Institute cohort, consisting of 14 members, will begin in August 2017. The application process is now open. The deadline for completed applications has been extended to February 24, 2017. The 2017-2018 cohort will be announced by March 15, 2017.

Candidates must:

  1. Complete this online application form

  2. Attach a current resumé to the online form

  3. Ask your Head of School, Assistant / Associate Head, Division Head, or Department Chair to upload a letter of recommendation using this separate, secure form.

Cost: $3,000 - all inclusive, for the 1-year program.


The principal leaders of Justice, Equity and Diversity Institute are Erica Corbin and Yuval Ortiz-Queroga. Additional facilitators contribute to the program in various ways.

Erica Corbin is director of community life and diversity at the Chapin School and has worked with K-8, K-12, single-gender, co-ed, and higher education institutions for more than a dozen years. A regular presenter and participant at equity and justice-related programs, Ms. Corbin also serves as chair of the NYSAIS Diversity Committee and core faculty for the Interschool Leadership Institute. She co-founded the CARLE Institute, a summer professional development program structured to provide white educators with the historical framework, interpersonal skills and curriculum development strategies they need to teach a diverse student body. Ms. Corbin received her bachelor of science degree from the University of Evansville and her master of science degree from Boston University.

Yuval Ortiz-Quiroga currently serves as Saint Ann's School’s first Director of Diversity. Prior to this year he was Visual Arts Department Head at Brooklyn Friends School for eight years. Yuval came to the U.S. from Mexico to study at Dartmouth College, where he graduated with a degree in Studio Art with a concentration in Sculpture. He began his career in independent school teaching Art and ESL at the Storm King School in Cornwall-on-Hudson, NY; he has also taught Spanish, French, and Art History. Yuval has worked in all grade levels from K through 12th, but primarily has taught 7th and above. Aside from the arts his main interest is work towards social justice, institutional equity, and inclusion. Yuval applies an intersectional approach, stemming from his own multiplicity of identities, and considers himself an anti-racist educator. He served as the co-chair of People of Color in Independent Schools (PoCIS) NY from 2012 to 2016. In addition to PoCIS he has facilitated sexuality-based and race-based affinity groups both in and out of schools beginning in his undergraduate years. Yuval has presented at conferences on strategic shifts towards equity and inclusion in educational institutions. He is currently pursuing a graduate degree in School Leadership at the University of Pennsylvania, as well as being a member of the 2015-2017 Emerging Leaders Institute cohort.

Please contact Barbara Swanson for additional information.

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