RIISE Summer Series: What Did You Do Over The Break?, with Gloria Fernández-Tearte, MSW, Greenwich Academy

The good news is that there’s a whole month of summer break left. No matter where you find yourself, thinking fondly of highlights already passed or dreaming about memories yet to be made, we want to take this time to share with you the wonder of Summer ’14 with fantastic experiences had by the families and schools in our network.

This week’s Summer Series spotlights GA’s Gloria Fernández-Tearte. If you know Gloria, you know that what you see is what you get. This classy lady has a no-hold-barred winning personality that guarantees things will get done! As, Director of Diversity & Staff Development, Gloria leads a strong diversity curriculum at GA that enriches and benefits the entire community. Diversity work is rewarding and taxing, so to remain inspired and cutting edge many indy school faculty & administrators take advantage of professional development opportunities.

We recently asked Gloria about a conference she attended…


RIISE: What’s the name of the conference you just attended?

GFT: Diversity Directions, a national program for school leaders and educators in its 20th year.

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RIISE: How did you participate in the conference?

GFT: In 1995 I attended the program as a Trustee of Greenwich Academy. I have been on the faculty since 1998. As faculty, I facilitate a small group of participants as well as make a presentation to the whole group on Latina/Latino culture titled Recognizing Difference to Make a Difference. Led by Christine Savini, Founder and Principal Consultant of Diversity Directions, our amazing faculty represents Diversity Practitioners, Heads of School, School Psychologists and Division Heads.

RIISE: In what ways did you grow professionally, maybe even personally, from the conference?

GFT: I am always reminded that in order to do “the work,” we have to work hard to make it happen. We know that the hard work includes all cultural identifiers and cannot happen without allies-both of color and white, gay and straight, able bodied and not yet unable, religious or not or somewhere in between. We have to know the difference to make a difference.

RIISE: Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum, President of Spellman College and author of the book, Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together In The Cafeteria and Other Conversations About Race, was the featured speaker. What did you take away from her keynote that parents of students of color need to know?

GFT: It’s hard to capture all that Dr. Tatum shared. Her frame of reference was her book Why Are All the Black Children Sitting Together in the Cafeteria and other Conversations About Race, and focused on understanding racial identity development. Each year after completing our program I am reminded about Dr. Tatum’s ABC approach to creating climates of engagement:

A = Affirming Identity

B = Building Community

C= Cultivating Leadership

The week long program is held in July on the campus of Brooks School in North Andover, MA. For more information contact: csavini@diversitydirections.com


Thank you, Gloria. We look forward to affirming, building, and cultivating with you at RIISE’s First Annual MV Benefit in August! See you in the Vineyard!!

Let’s enjoy the rest of summer and move into a new school year utilizing Dr. Tatum’s ABC approach. And, if you’ve already got your approach mapped out, share it with us below in the comment section.




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