4 Reasons To Teach at an Independent School


I recall the moment in vivid detail. After leaving a lower school event, the night air was crisp and the sky clear as my then second grade son marveled at the moon. Admiring the moon alongside him was Milton Sipp, head of the middle school. Instantly, I recognized the power in that moment. Until then, Milton was the only male educator of color Chaz had encountered on his lower school campus. I was overcome with emotion. Chaz delighted in seeing a reflection of himself in Milton.

Over the next few years, recruitment of faculty of color like head of lower school, Edwin Gordon and Chaz’s favorite teacher Lee Pearson, would reinforce  his position as a young man of color attending Riverdale Country School and strengthen his sense of belonging and opportunities.

Next year Chaz joins the middle school and will re-connect with Milton and he’ll also have the pleasure of being supported by alum and teacher Dwight Vidale!

Calling all educators of color! As parents of color we encourage you to seriously consider teaching at an independent school and here are 4 reasons why.

  1. Children of color…children of color make up roughly 27.5% of enrolled students at independent schools. As our schools work to increase diversity in the classroom, who is in front of the classroom also matters a great deal. Although Chaz didn’t voice it, he communicated the importance of seeing faculty of color through his apparent self-assuredness – our children need to see themselves in positions of leadership.
  2. Resources…educators have a vast amount of tools, cutting edge technology, and professional development to support educating curious minds. At Greenwich Academy, associate head of school, Mark Feiner also counts housing assistance as one of the many resources offered to faculty, in addition to tuition remission for the first two children.
  3. Community…although teachers of color only make up 13.7% of total faculty, there is a community that values and invests in diversity. Schools have affinity groups to support faculty of color and offer special opportunities for peers to meet and work together to share experiences. The annual NAIS-People of Color Conference draws faculty from across the country to share best practices and provides terrific personal and professional networking. POCIS-NY is a local affinity group for educators in NY.
  4. Faculty Recruitment…Cathy Cramer, Executive Director of New York Interschool and Faculty Diversity Search notes that, “the entire school benefits when there is a diverse faculty.  The world is filled with leaders and teachers of many races and ethnicities and our schools must reflect the larger world we live in.  Recruiting and hiring talented faculty of color for our schools is a way of broadening our communities and inspiring our students and families with possibilities and role models.”- Register Today February 21st NYSAIS Job Fair to Promote Diversity – BA or MA required and college seniors are welcome. Certification is not required. www.nysais.org.

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