Seattle Girls' School

News and happenings in education from the Head of School, Rafael del Castillo

Saturday, March 3, 2012

State of Diversity in Independent Schools

Did you know that of the approximately 1400 non-profit private schools in the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), women lead just over 400 of them and people of color lead only 70 or so? At today's EdCamp-Seattle, we gathered a small but powerful group that raised the following questions for the greater NAIS community to address:

- How do we develop a leadership pipeline for women and people of color as we seek leadership that is more reflective of the national population?
- Do people of color view headship as a possibility? Do we teach ALL the educators in our schools the "language of power" - as Amy Tan describes it - so that everyone has equal opportunity to lead?
- Do we wait for moments of transition and crisis to seek diverse candidates? Can we begin to establish on-going conversations with diverse candidates - both nationally and locally - so that when these transitions occur, we avoid going to whom we happen to know best in order to fill a position?
- Should we replace the language of "best fit" with whom we can best serve as a school - both students and faculty? At the very least, we should be explicit about what "best fit" represents for each of our schools. Shouldn't a candidate be able to see the fit or lack thereof as clearly as the institution? and shouldn't a school consistently review who it can and cannot serve and seek to "stretch" toward greater inclusivity?
- Recruiting diverse faculty and staff must go hand-in-hand with retention efforts that include mentoring by other faculty who face similar experiences and can provide safe access to the "hidden culture" that exists at all our schools. Thus, we move from assimilation to inclusion.
- The conversations we are having about faculty and students and their families must also be directly linked.

Here are some resources brought to light during our session:

- NAIS Resources at

- AISNE Resources at

- PNAIS Diversity Practioners Retreat -

1 comment:

  1. Rafael,
    Thanks for your energy and leadership in supporting edcampIS, and for sharing this important work.