Heads of School

anti-racism working grouPS

Tuesday, September 29 | Monday, October 26 | Monday, November 23 | Monday, December 14 | Monday, January 25
Location: Virtual, using Zoom
3:30 - 5:30 p.m. EST

with: Rachael Flores (She/Her) and John Gentile (He/Him)


Monday, October 19, as part of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion 2020

Location: Virtual, using Zoom
10:00 - 11:15 a.m. EST

with Martha Haakmat (She/Her) and Vince Watchorn (He/Him)


Wednesday, October 21, as part of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion 2020
Location: Virtual, using Zoom
12:00 - 1:15 p.m. EST

with Rachael Flores (She/Her) and John Gentile (He/Him)

About This Cohort

Today's focus on our collective opportunity to dismantle systemic racism has heads of independent schools being called to lead in new ways.

In June, AISNE member school diversity, equity and inclusion practitioners wrote a call for action and collaboration to all AISNE heads. In early August, AISNE DEI leaders and heads were invited to participate in an anti-racism dialogue facilitated by members of AISNE's Diversity Practitioners Planning Committee. This cohort is our Association's next step forward together in this work.

At its core, participation in this cohort will involve heads of school participating in Anti-Racism Working Groups: one for heads of school of color, facilitated by Rachael Flores, and another for white heads of school, facilitated by John Gentile. This cohort will be comprised of seven robust engagements in total, with both working groups coming together at times, while exploring this endeavor independently during others. This cohort will also feature times when AISNE DEI leaders join together with participating heads of school.

Read this letter from Rachael and John to familiarize yourself with their perspective and approach. This cohort will feature individual work, affinity work and coalition work. It will culminate in our final session in January, as part of AISNE's annual Heads' Retreat, during which we'll share learnings and personal commitments in a full coalition "fish bowl" style format, followed by farewells in our respective affinity spaces.

Registration Details

Virtual Format Rate:

  • Member Schools: $199 per person

Register Here

Please register and pay through the above link for our first September 29 meeting. Each participant will receive individual calendar invites for each of this cohort's engagement opportunities. Calendar invites will contain Zoom access details.

AISNE Cohorts include takeaway content, tools and resources. Notes and prompts are provided to support asynchronous and follow-up participant engagement. These resources are summarized and provided on a password accessible web page.

About Our Facilitators

Rachael Flores
Rachael Flores the new Head of the Upper School at The Spence School in New York. For the past five years, Ms. Flores served as the is the Director of Diversity and Multicultural Education at National Cathedral School in Washington, DC. In her role as Director, Ms. Flores oversaw the school’s strategic initiatives related to diversity, inclusion and multicultural pedagogy. As a member of the Senior Administrative Team, Ms. Flores served as a critical resource for both students, faculty and other administrators, providing both diversity training and opportunities for community discourse on the role of institutional diversity and multicultural engagement. Before joining National Cathedral School, Ms. Flores served as a history instructor and Dean of Institutional Diversity at Episcopal High School in Alexandria, VA. During her eight year tenure there, she served in various leadership roles, including as Dean of the Freshman Class, coordinator of the freshmen history curriculum, and she implemented practices of cultural competency through her design of academic courses on Art History and the Harlem Renaissance. In addition to her work at NCS, Ms. Flores has been trained by the National SEED Project and leads seminars throughout the year. She also serves as a member of the faculty for the National Association of Independent School's Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC) where she presents on a wide range of topics related to diversity and inclusion in independent schools. There she served as a member of SDLC’s Executive Committee (2013 – 2015), and in 2015 she chaired the Task Force on Supporting Transgender faculty. Her most recent presentations have addressed the accessibility of diversity initiatives in education, implicit bias, and racial identity development for LGBTQ families.

John Gentile
John is a nationally recognized equity and inclusion practitioner specializing on whiteness, white identity development, and white privilege. He has led workshops, facilitated dialogues and affinity groups, trained faculty, and has been featured as a keynote speaker. He has presented at the Critical Analysis of Race in Learning and Education (CARLE) Institute and the Immigrant Justice Corps in New York City. He has worked with the YWCA of the City of New York as a facilitator around identity development. He is a co-founder of the conference, (Re)defining Power: White Male Voices in Diversity Work, a space for 6th to 12th grade white males students wanting to explore their role in equity and justice work. He is a founding faculty member of the National Diversity Practitioners Institute (NDPI). He has been a faculty member for the National Association of Independent Schools' Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC) since 2009. He was the recipient of The Princeton Prize for Race Relations in 2007. He is a graduate with honors from Eugene Lang College at The New School in New York City. He currently serves on the New York State Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS) Diversity Committee. Originally from Washington D.C., he now calls Brooklyn home.

Martha Haakmat
Martha Haakmat is an experienced educator who has spent her 32-year career teaching and leading in independent schools. She brings a depth of understanding and perspective to her work, having held various faculty and leadership positions in a wide variety of school communities. Coming from her most recent service as a head of school, Martha worked specifically on enrollment, marketing and finance in a changing admissions landscape, and she developed strategic planning expertise, which included diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) goal setting and ongoing systemic work. She is now the Executive Director of Haakmat Consulting, LLC, providing leadership coaching and support for DEI strategic planning for schools and other organizations.

Vince Watchorn
Vince Watchorn is an independent school leader with more than 25 years working directly with boards of trustees. He is lead faculty of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) Fellowship for Aspiring School Heads, a faculty member of the NAIS Institute for New Heads, and editor of the 2018 NAIS Head Search Handbook. Vince has been head of Providence Country Day School (RI), Associate Head of The Ellis School (PA) and Associate Head of School for External Affairs of West Nottingham Academy (MD). A lifelong community servant, Vince serves on the boards of Penland School of Craft (NC), Community Preparatory School (RI), and West Nottingham Academy. He was a gubernatorial appointee to the State of Rhode Island Judicial Nominating Commission and is a graduate, former Trustee, former teacher, and Alumni Service Award recipient of The Tatnall School (DE). Vince’s educational writing has appeared in Independent School Magazine, The Head’s Letter, The Trustee’s Letter, and the Providence Journal, among others; and he presents regularly at national conferences. His historical work is published by Delaware History and Cedar Tree Press and has been presented at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY.