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The Institute for New Teachers of Color in Independent Schools

Monday, August 12th through Wedneday, August 14th
three full days, lunch included, 9am to 3pm
The Gordon School, East Providence, RI

As faculties at independent schools become increasingly diverse, it is critical that new teachers of color receive the support they need to thrive in their roles. 

We are offering an intimate three-day conference for new teachers of color. Participants will be reflecting on where they are in their career journeys, learning about independent school culture, honing their craft as educators, and developing personal mission statements to ground them as they navigate the next year. Mentorship will also be an important piece of the conference. Participants will be matched with an advisor who will support them through the institute and beyond. Sessions will be facilitated by Alethea Dunham-Carson,  Betty Noel, Susan Yao, and guest speakers including Dr. Noni Thomas López, Head of the Gordon School. 

Sessions will take place from 9am to 3pm on Monday, August 12th through Wednesday, August 14th. We welcome all teachers who identify as people of color, who are in their first or second year at an independent school, and who are looking for a supportive cohort and mentorship to set them up for success. We also invite experienced teachers who are joining the independent school world to consider joining us. 

$525 tuition includes books and lunch each day

About the Gordon School

Gordon is proud to host this institute for teachers of color who are new to the independent school world. This is the third of what we hope will be a longrunning annual event.

Gordon has a long history of leadership in multicultural education and antiracist work. By supporting events like this workshop, Gordon hopes to further extend the school's mission to help reshape the culture of independent schools so that students, teachers and families can all benefit from a richer range of perspectives and experiences and more diverse and inclusive school community.



Alethea Dunham-Carson

Alethea Dunham-Carson just completed her third year as Assistant Head for Teaching and Learning at Gordon, a remarkably busy time that included the design of a complete overhaul of the school's schedule as well as a schoolwide assessment of Gordon's diversity, equity and inclusion efforts and extended work evaluating the experience of Gordon's Black and Brown boys. 

Alethea came to Gordon after seven years at Meadowbrook, where she held a variety of roles, including Director of Multicultural Affairs, Director of Community Partnerships and Interim Head of Lower School. Highlights of her tenure include coordinating curriculum across early childhood to eighth grade classrooms, developing anti-bias hiring protocols, increasing the numbers of teachers and prospective families from underrepresented groups, and creating dynamic partnerships with local not-for-profit organizations. In myriad areas of school life and operations at Meadowbrook, Alethea has had a direct hand in transforming systems, policies, and programs so they work, in her words, to more effectively cultivate “community, creativity, and human dignity.”

Alethea holds a B.A. in Sociology from the University of Pennsylvania, and she earned a Master’s degree in Educational Policy, Advocacy and Leadership from New York University. Alethea is a trained S.E.E.D (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity) Facilitator, and in 2017 she was selected to participate in the prestigious Fellowship for Aspiring Heads sponsored by the National Association of Independent Schools.

Betty Noel-Pierre

Betty Noel-Pierre currently serves as Head of Upper School Student Life at the Brearley School in New York City. Before joining Brearley, Betty worked as the Head of the Middle School at Saint Ann’s School in Brooklyn, New York. 

She began her teaching career while earning her PhD in molecular genetics and microbiology from Stony Brook University, where she earned the Distinguished Service Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Department. She has taught Middle School and Upper School science at Saint Ann’s, the Browning School and the Marymount School of New York, and has been an instructor at Stony Brook University. Betty also served as the Director of Equity and Diversity at Browning and the Academic Dean for the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth Summer Program. 

Her dedication to curriculum and student life in independent schools began with her experience as a student and continued to develop as an alumna, parent and former trustee of the Chapin School. 

Susan Yao

Susan Yao is the founder and leader of the Laughing Rivers School, a new, progressive Kindergarten to eighth grade school anchored in Buddhist principles. Until 2021, she was Middle School Head at Friends Academy. She began her career in independent schools at St. Luke's School in New York City as a social studies teacher. 

An alumna of Bank Street's leadership program, she is passionate about progressive education, project-based learning, and mindfulness. She is excited to support new administrators of color on their leadership journeys.


above: the faculty and participants for the first institute, summer 2021

above: the faculty and participants for the second institute, summer 2022 

The 2024 Institute