Diversity Institute


Diversity Institute

For: Classroom Teachers and School Administrators

Monday, June 15 - Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Program canceled due to COVID-19
Stay tuned for 2021 program information and updates


Hosted by: 

The Pennington School
112 West Delaware Avenue
Pennington, NJ 08534

*Residential option encouraged*


The Diversity Institute uses Harkness instructional principles to help teachers and administrators learn how to see themselves, their identity formation experiences, and their content expertise through their students’ and their independent schools’ eyes. Participants will develop skills to have engaging conversations with students and colleagues about pervasive challenging societal issues including race, class, gender, and sexual orientation that often govern our perceptions of people and of ourselves. With diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and Harkness instruction experts, participants will experience enriched discussions within and beyond DEI skills. Teachers from all subjects will learn how to work with a diversity of learners through this three-day institute. You will leave the experience with self- reflection techniques for guiding students from merely doing school well to discovering how to communicate within and across disciplines; coordinate content within and across disciplines; collaborate with peers and other adults; and creatively reflect and apply learning experiences.


View full program here.
2021 Program will be similar


Program Leaders

John Daves
Upper School Principal at Carolina Day School, Asheville, NC

Dr. John Daves is the Principal of the Upper School at Carolina Day School (CDS) in Asheville, NC. His professional path to CDS included teaching English at Friends’ Central School in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania; serving as a teaching assistant at the University of Maryland, College Park; and serving as an Assistant Professor in American Studies at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Dr. Daves continued his independent school career at Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire teaching English, where he also created the vision for the Exeter Diversity Institute for independent school teachers and administrators. Dr. Daves then served as the Director of Diversity and Inclusion and English teacher at Park Tudor School in Indianapolis, Indiana, and most recently held the role of Dean of Faculty at his alma mater, The Pennington School in Pennington, New Jersey.  Dr. Daves has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Susquehanna University; a Master of Arts and Teaching degree in English Literature from Colgate University; and a doctorate in American Studies from The University of Maryland, College Park. 

Tracey Goodson Barrett
Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Gill St. Bernard’s School, Gladstone, NJ

Tracey Goodson Barret joined Gill St. Bernard’s School in 2015, with extensive experience supporting organizations in creating strategies and direction for building diversity, inclusion, and engagement. Prior to Gill, she worked at the Morristown-Beard School, the United Way of Morris County, and in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. Tracey has presented at several national and local conferences, including the NAIS People of Color Conference and NJAIS Conference on Equity and Inclusion, on the institutional, cultural, and systemic processes that have an impact on the ways in which people live and work together.  She is committed to her community and has served on several committees and boards including the President’s Council of Cornell Women, the Morris County Chapter of Jack and Jill, as well as The Links, Inc. In addition to her role as Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Tracey also teaches a ninth-grade seminar and advises Gill for Diversity, Gill's Gay Straight Alliance, the Middle School Current Events Club, and coordinates the Upper School Student Internship Program. Tracey earned her BA in Political Science from Cornell University.


Pier Kooistra
English Master on The Robert S. and Christina Seix Dow P'08 Distinguished. Teaching Chair in Harkness Learning at The Lawrenceville School, Lawrenceville, NJ

Full bio in process


Al Vernacchio
N-12 Sexuality Education Coordinator at Friends' Central School, Wynnewood, PA

Al Vernacchio teaches at Friends' Central School in Wynnewood, PA. He is the N-12 Sexuality Education Coordinator and also a member of the Upper School English department. In his work as Sexuality Education Coordinator, Al teaches classes, organizes sexuality-themed programs and student assemblies, provides parent education on human sexuality topics, and is one of the faculty advisors for the Gender and Sexual Orientation Alliance (GSoA).  A Human Sexuality educator and consultant for over 25 years, Al has lectured, published articles, and offered workshops throughout the country. His work has been featured in “Teaching Good Sex”, a November 20, 2011 cover story in The New York Times Magazine. Al has given four TED Talks, and has appeared on national programs such as NPR’s “Morning Edition”, “1A”, and “The Pulse”. He is the author of For Goodness Sex: Changing the Way We Talk to Young People About Sexuality, Values, and Health, published by Harper Wave, a division of HarperCollins. Al earned his BA in Theology from St. Joseph's University and his MSEd in Human Sexuality Education from the University of Pennsylvania. He is a member of The Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality (SSSS), The American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT), and Advanced Sexuality Educators and Trainers (ASET). A native Philadelphian, Al and his husband, Michael, live in the Germantown section of the city.

Registrations Before February 15: $450 per Participant, Member Schools; $600, Non-Member Schools
Registrations on and after February 15: $550 per Participant, Member Schools; $700, Non-Member Schools