Justice, Equity & Diversity Institute

About the Institute

Over the past few 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.

Due to its physical location in the Northeast, where a large number 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.

The Justice Equity and Diversity Institute has 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.)

The Institute aims to equip its participants to advance the work of justice, equity and diversity in schools. 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 course of one year, cohort members participate in:

  • Two residential summer retreats one in August and one in June
  • One residential conference at Mohonk Mountain House
  • One NYSAIS Governance Workshop
  • One full-day Diversity Conference in New York City
  • A series of webinars over Zoom and in-person gathering
  • A mentor partnership
  • An on-line Slack community to extend the work asynchronously

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
  • Data Gathering, Conducting Research and Evidence-Based Decision-Making


Specific Dates for 2019-20:

  • March 15, 2019 – Application Deadline
  • Week of April 15, 2019 – Cohort announced
  • Summer Retreat (Carey Institute for Global Good, August 26-28, 2019)
  • Trustee Governance Workshop (Abraham Joshua Heschel School, September 23,  2019)
  • NYSAIS Diversity Conference (Lycée Français, April TBA, 2020)
  • NYSAIS Diversity Practitioners Conference (Mohonk, May 13-15, 2020)
  • Summer Retreat (Mohonk Mountain House, June 22-24, 2020)

Monthly seminar dates announced in the spring of 2019 


The fourth Justice, Equity and Diversity Institute cohort, consisting of 16 members, will begin in August 2020. The application process will open in February 2020. The deadline for completed applications is March 15, 2020. The 2020-2021 cohort will be announced the week of April 15, 2020.

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: $3,500 - 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 a dedicated and proven community leader with a talent for building inclusive and welcoming independent school environments. A public school kid in a private school world, Erica has worked in K-8, K-12, single-gender, co-ed, and higher ed institutions. Erica is currently Director of Community Life and Diversity at the Chapin School, a K-12 independent school on New York City’s Upper East Side, following a tenure of multiple roles at Collegiate School, a K-12 independent school on the Upper West Side.

Erica engages in a number of equity and inclusion efforts beyond her day job. She completed 4-year stints as co-chair of PoCIS (People of Color in Independent Schools) and chair of the Diversity Committee for the New York State Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS). Erica also served as co-founder of the CARLE Institute for White Educators in Independent Schools. In 2015 she became a faculty member for the Interschool Leadership Institute for Educators of Color. Most recently she became co-director for NYSAIS’ Justice, Equity, and Diversity Institute (JEDI).

Erica presents at local and national diversity conferences and has worked with notable organizations including the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, Prep for Prep, Harlem Academy, the Quiet Schools Institute, and Jack and Jill. She received her B.A. from the University of Evansville and her M.S. from Boston University. A huge fan of Netflix original series programming, Erica only partners on projects with people who are funny, and she is strongly committed to furthering the leadership of people of color in education.

Yuval Ortiz-Quiroga is in his second year as Saint Ann's School’s Director of Diversity. Before that 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 graduated recently from School Leadership Master’s program at the University of Pennsylvania, and was a member of the NYSAIS 2015-2017 Emerging Leaders Institute cohort.

Please contact Barbara Swanson for additional information.

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© 2013 New York State Association of Independent Schools

site map   |   privacy policy   |   contact us
17 Elk Street (First Floor)     Albany, NY 12207     Tel: 518-694-5500     Fax: 518-694-5501

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