Enrights on the Hill

RIISE loves this dynamic sister brother duo, Naomi & Nicky Enright! Both are independent school faculty members at two of our Hilltop schools. Nicky is an art teacher at Riverdale Country, and Naomi is a diversity associate at Horace Mann.

We recently caught up with them both at the Hilltop Middle School Diversity Conference and asked them about their work, passions and thoughts about teaching in independent schools.

RIISE: Naomi, a recent article regarding the AAC&U Panel: Having a Diversity Officer Does Not Mean Mission Accomplished, noted that “colleges and universities that value diversity to the extent that they have a dedicated officer or dean of diversity, problems of inclusion and support for faculty and students of color may still be an institutional challenge”. As an indy school alum, and diversity associate, do you feel independent schools can further develop from this consensus?

Naomi: I am in absolute agreement with this article and am thrilled to see the president of my alma mater (Kenyon College) is quoted! The percentage of faculty and students of color in independent schools is not the answer. Increased numbers is a first, crucial step but discussing the reality of living in a diverse community matters more. And these conversations should not only be taking place amongst the students and faculty of color. These conversations should be had within the community as a whole. Believing the conversation needs to be held only within communities of color is erroneous and is “preaching to the choir” in a sense. Everyone in a community must feel ownership of it, as well as a responsibility to make it the best for everyone.

RIISE: Nicky, what elements of your success in the art world do you bring to your role as an art educator at Riverdale?

Nicky: “Success in the art world” is a fraught concept; let’s just say that I participate in the art world, as an artist and DJ. This participation is an important element of my teaching; it ensures that my students see their art studio as a tiny star in the infinitely-expanding universe of art (historical and contemporary). The same philosophy applies for all the ways I engage with students, from music to languages and diversity work. With enlarged perspectives, this academic question becomes moot: “Is this necessary in the real world?” Students should know that art is as necessary as it is mysterious – we can’t quite define it but we can’t live without it. It is ironic that the free, imaginative “unreality” of art is an absolute necessity in the “real” world. Countless people dedicate their lives to its serious pursuit, from many angles; I want my students to know this.
* NYT article on Nicky’s art


check out video…

Thank you Naomi & Nicky

Related Posts:
Job Fair to Promote Diversity

Reasons To Teach at an Independent School

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  1. Posted February 13, 2015 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

    Thanks RIISE!
    By the way, the background artwork (“Can You Breathe”) was made by the PICA class (Projects in Contemporary Art):


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