Webb Connects with Peers at Diversity Conferences
Six students and 14 members of Webb’s faculty and staff gathered with 7,800 peers from independent schools across the globe from Nov. 30 to Dec. 3 in San Antonio, Texas for the 2022 NAIS People of Color Conference and Student Diversity Leadership Conference.
People of Color Conference events, for independent school professionals, offered guidance on coaching, mentoring, ways to foster inclusive hiring, auditing DEI programs, addressing the marginalization of different communities, cross-cultural models of teacher/leadership development, school community building and the intersectionality of core identities.
Students – their numbers capped at six per school – engaged in programs from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, participating in self-reflection activities, forming networks of allies, developing communication skills, discussing identity in affinity groups and designing strategies for social justice advocacy.
“The POCC/SDLC is an amazing opportunity to re-energize underrepresented members of our community and provide resources to support their roles on campus, whether you are a teacher, staff member or student,” Webb Director of Equity John Choi said. “Across our differences, we really enjoyed connecting through our passions and shared commitment to creating communities of genuine belonging, unpacking our experiences and learning from one another.”
Webb has participated in the program for more than five years.
Previous conferences, influenced by the pandemic, focused on self-care. This year, the program focused more on advocacy and community growth, Choi said.
“It takes real courage to tackle these issues and to bring new perspectives back to our schools,” Assistant Director of Equity Gretel Barsotti said. “We are so impressed with the dedication of our students and colleagues for investing so much of themselves in this effort.”
The ripples and effects of this conference influence many parts of Webb’s programming. Examples include Webb’s Black family reception on Saturday, Dec. 11, a DEI prospective family admission event on Saturday, January 7 and activities being planned around Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
This year’s teacher and staff participants from Webb include: Barsotti, Choi, Adriana Flores, Anthony Flucker, Ardina Greco, Cindy Lopez, Melissa Mani, Malick Mbengue, Lisa Nacionales, Kenny Nguyen, Cuong Pham, Anthony Shin, Michael Szanyi and Helga Zambrano.
The students were Obehi Akpengbe ’24, Kenny Clay ’25, Ale Fountain ’24, Izzy Kim ’24, Jackie Shugert ’24 and Jenny Wang ’24.