Oman Frame, Director of the Office of DEIB, Reflects on the 2023 NAIS People of Color Conference
Paideia’s commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) runs deep. We actively encourage faculty, staff and students to participate in national opportunities to foster meaningful engagement in this vital area, including participation in The National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) People of Color Conference (PoCC). This conference, in existence for 35 years, has been instrumental in shaping how Paideia evaluates and adapts our DEIB efforts and contributes to the conversation in our region and nationally. Paideia faculty have presented at PoCC on topics ranging from mathematics education for students of color to the importance of teaching race, class and gender. This year, we proudly sent 12 faculty members and five students to PoCC in St. Louis for a truly transformative experience at PoCC, aptly described as "dipping back into the well."
This was my 20th PoCC conference, and I was honored to attend and represent Paideia. The conference is a place where I am renewed and find inspiration, and where I engage in thoughtful conversations that influence how I approach DEIB work when I return to Paideia. This year's theme, "Gateways to Freedom: A Confluence of Truth, Knowledge, Joy, and Power," truly lived up to its name by highlighting the ever-changing nature of DEIB work and the resilience that is required to engage in this work thoughtfully, consistently and compassionately. Keynotes include Gholdy Muhammad, Simon Tam, Liza Talusan, Sunny Singh, Lacey Schwartz Delgado, Brittany Packnett Cunningham, and Christopher Emdin. These speakers shared perspectives and approaches to deepen DEIB work in independent schools with readily adaptable frameworks that can be applied at Paideia.
The 2023 PoCC was the largest on record with more than 8,000 attendees. I gathered with faculty of color and BIPOC administrators worldwide to build communities of support, strategy and connection.
Paideia sent 12 faculty and staff members representing all divisions to PoCC this year, allowing us to strengthen our community and attend a variety of sessions that will benefit Paideia. Paideia students attended PoCC’s Student Diversity Leadership Conference, a student-centered conference offering students guidance and sessions to prepare them to seek and pursue leadership roles within their independent school. Students participated in open discussion and collaboration with peers from across the country, focusing on best practices for creating an inclusive and dynamic school environment.
This conference is a powerful and vital tool for our DEIB work at all levels. Our continued participation will undoubtedly yield positive outcomes, connect dynamic students with our outstanding educators and administrators, and pave the way for a brighter future.
To see more highlights from the trip, click here!