A survivor of the Holocaust, Ms. Dahme shared the story of how strangers saved her family from extermination.
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Belonging
Our DEIB Commitments
→ We are committed to sustaining a welcoming, inclusive, and supportive environment for both the children and families in our community.
→ We expect intellectual flexibility and agility, creativity, teamwork, comfort with complexity and ambiguity, experience with diversity, and, above all, character and honor among not just our students, but our faculty, staff, and members of our leadership team as well as our Board of Trustees.
→ We believe intellectual engagement occurs most effectively in a multicultural environment.
→ We value and celebrate a broad definition of diversity that includes the social identifiers outlined by NAIS.
- Multicultural Teams
- Off-Campus Professional Development
- On-Campus Professional Growth
- Faculty & Staff Hiring
- Affinity Groups
The Lower, Middle, and Upper School Multicultural Teams consist of faculty and staff who come together to learn about identity development through book or article discussions. These professional learning groups support the Pingry School’s Mission Statement of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and belonging by developing cultural competency skills and helping us to create a more inclusive school community. In the Lower and Middle Schools, the Multicultural Teams also support student-centered programming.
Pingry faculty are strongly encouraged to engage in professional development on a regular basis. The expectation for continued skill development extends to Diversity and Cultural Competence. Support in the form of time and financial resources is generously provided for attendance at professional conferences. In addition to NJAIS local conferences and workshops, faculty and staff have attended the following: Center for Racial Justice in Education, Raising Race Conscious Children, the GSA Forum, the National Association of Independent Schools’ (NAIS) People of Color Conference, the Philadelphia Trans-Health Conference, and the White Privilege Conference.
At Pingry, we recognize that the work of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging belongs to everyone. In addition to the School's partnership with Blink Consulting on a series of school-wide educational talks, every year, every employee engages in on-campus DEIB-related professional development and in-service days, the themes of which include:
- Owning Antiracism at Pingry (an introduction to antiracism)
- Building Baseline Fluency of DEIB Terms with the DEIB Team (microaggressions: how to spot and then interrupt them; privilege; antiracism)
- Book discussion: How to be an Antiracist, by Ibram Kendi
- Antiracism in Practice
- School-wide discussion: Why is DEIB Important at Pingry?
Our People Operations Team is always on the lookout for talented and motivated educators and professionals. Pingry understands the value of students seeing themselves reflected in the faculty and staff who steward their social, academic, and athletic growth. Our People Operations team has welcomed a number of highly experienced, qualified, innovative, and stand-out faculty and staff members with diverse experiences and backgrounds to help us drive key strategies and initiatives. We are committed to continuing to identify and hire talented and diverse faculty and staff. Pingry is committed to providing anti-bias training for all hiring managers and employees frequently involved in hiring decisions.
Affinity Groups have been part of Pingry’s culture for several years. These spaces bring together people around a common identifier such as gender, religion, race, and ethnicity. The groups gather to talk about experiences common to their shared identifier for affirmation and to build community. Pingry supports Affinity Groups for students, parents, alumni, and employees.
Affinity Groups for faculty and staff include:
Pingry Employees of Color
Black Employees of Pingry
LGBTQ+ Employees of Pingry
Jewish Employees Affinity Group
- Affinity Groups
- Student Unions
- Student Diversity Leadership Committee (SDLC)
- Genders & Sexualities Alliance Network (GSA)
- Pingry Allyship Collective (PAC)
- Observances and Celebrations
An Affinity Group is a gathering of people who share an identity (i.e., race, gender, family status, religion, etc.). Affinity Groups provide time and space for participants to reflect, share experiences, share resources, and celebrate their identities. Although individuals in the group share an identifier, not everyone may share the same experiences.
Affinity Groups are available to our Upper and Middle School students and they may join any group with which they identify. These groups are designed to be safe spaces for students to learn more about their various identities and to discuss their questions, comments, and concerns with other students who share that same identity. Affinity groups meet twice a month in the Upper School and are led by students and faculty who share the identifier. In the Middle School, affinity groups meet each week.
Our Affinity Groups are offered based on racial/ethnic identities (Black/African-American, Latinx/Hispanic-American, White/European American, East Asian-American, South Asian-American, Middle Eastern, and Multiracial), religious identities (Muslim, Christian, Jewish), gender identities (boys and girls), and LGBTQ+ student affinity group.
Middle School students may choose to participate in one of seven affinity groups: Asian, South Asian, Latinx, Black, White allyship, Gender and Sexual Orientation Alliance and Affinity Group, and a Jewish student affinity group.
The advisory program provides workshops—designed by our faculty Multicultural Teams for Grades K-5 and 6-12—for students to hone their skills of cultural competency.
Lower School cultural competency programming focuses on social-emotional learning, self-awareness, and social impact through the lens of developing our school community.
Middle School advisory programming delves deeper into cultural identifiers, including ethnicity, race, and age (Grade 6); ability and religion (Form I); and gender, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status (Form II).
Upper School advisory programming centers around the intersectionality of identifiers as well as the impact of privilege, power, biases, and microaggressions.
Pingry’s Upper School Student Unions are open to anyone in the community to join their classmates to learn about the experiences and cultures of the sponsor organization. These groups invite students into conversations, hold informative (and fun) events, and sometimes cross-collaborate. Pingry has four student unions:
- Black Student Union
- Asian Student Union
- Latino Student Union
- Gender and Sexuality Alliance
A valued resource within the school community, The Student Diversity Leadership Committee is a selective leadership opportunity for Upper School students who create cultural competency programs and deliver training to other Pingry students during selected advisory periods. The SDLC also goes off campus to work with other schools who may not be equipped to teach cultural competency.
Among its initiatives, SDLC has collaborated with Pingry’s Honor Board and Peer Leadership group to highlight how skills of cultural competency impact leadership in those areas. SDLC also works through the advisory program, visiting advisory groups throughout the year to hold discussions about inclusivity and belonging. Members of SDLC have attended the People of Color Conference and other diversity trainings.
The Pingry Allyship Collective’s mission is “To create, promote, and facilitate an environment that encourages productive diversity-related discussions among all members of the Pingry community.” This group was originally composed of the student leaders of Diversity-centered clubs and groups, and has expanded to include any Upper School student who wants to participate.
In August 2020, The Pingry School began to examine, evaluate, and improve DEIB efforts in athletics in several ways:
- Personnel specifically designated to work in athletics and DEIB
- Have a diverse, equitable, inclusive lens on the various pieces of the athletics experience: transportation, scheduling, uniforms, celebrations, optional team gear, etc.
- Trainings and Diversity Dialogues for coaches with a strong focus on the adjunct coaching community
Student- and faculty-led programming that marks Hispanic Heritage Month, Black History Month, Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, Pride Month, and Women's History Month, among other annual occasions, in addition to regular assemblies and guest speakers, provide the opportunity for us to observe, learn, and celebrate diversity within our community.
The Department of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, in collaboration with division directors, regularly hosts speakers and consultants to support the intentional and strategic skill development as outlined in our Mission Statement. Speakers and consultants have included:
Dr. Eddie S. Glaude, Jr.: The James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor and Chair of the Department of African American Studies at Princeton, Dr. Glaude is one of the nation’s most prominent scholars. An author, political commentator, public intellectual, and passionate educator, he examines the complex dynamics of the American experience. His writings take a wide look at Black communities, the difficulties of race in the United States, and the challenges we face as a democracy.
Alison Park, Blink Consulting: Ms. Park, who has keynoted at numerous conferences, including NAIS's People of Color Conference, has led consulting efforts as well as professional development for our faculty, staff, and Board of Trustees to further the work of our DEIB mission.
Musicworks: Musicworks integrates music from across the globe to make diversity, equity, and inclusion topics accessible and engaging for students. Founder Jesse Neuman approaches DEIB with the assumption that students of all ages are poised and willing to tackle tough conversations and are open to more expansive perspectives through exposure to quality artists and movements, and carefully moderated discussion.
At Pingry, diversity is more than race. We certainly recognize that the social construct — race — is important to discuss. However, we also recognize that to simply focus on race significantly limits the scope of diversity and can marginalize our students and their families, as well as our faculty and staff. Instead, our community recognizes and seeks to have conversations about many cultural identifiers:
- sexual orientation
- socioeconomic status (class)
- body image
- educational background
- academic/social achievement
- geographic/regional background
- learning style
- beliefs (political, social, religious)
These cultural identifiers are introduced in Grades K-4, and are explored more in depth beginning in Grade 5.
Pingry’s Lower School Multicultural Team facilitates campus-wide diversity activities, which are tailored to the developmental maturity of each grade. Students in grades K-5 also dig into cultural competency work through the Decisions class which covers topics related to diversity, identity, and cultural connection at the local and global level. These lessons are designed to help students develop skills for engaging in conversations around identity, equity, and inclusion by introducing vocabulary related to social identifiers (e.g. gender identity, race, religion, ethnicity, ability, sexual orientation, etc.).
The Middle School advisory program incorporates conversations about identity development, familiarizes students with common cultural identifiers, and building a positive self image. Our Middle School Multicultural Team facilitates activities that allow for a more intentional and specific focus for conversations about identity. Students have the opportunity to question how they interact with others who are different from themselves and explore ways in which they can work to better the school community as a whole. In addition, a cultural competency curriculum is integrated into advisory beginning in Grade 6.
Pingry’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) Department includes Multicultural Team Coordinators, Affinity Group Facilitators, and dedicated DEIB roles. Altogether, this team is made up of approximately 40 faculty and staff members who are deliberate and intentional in their efforts to guide the Pingry community in achieving the goals outlined in the School's Mission Statement of Diversity and Inclusion. At Pingry, this work is not optional. The acquisition of cultural competency skills is required of all.
Programming that promotes cultural competency for students within the Pingry community is developed and implemented through the leadership of the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and BelongingDepartment in partnership with the Multicultural Team Coordinators at the Lower and Middle Schools. Upper School programming is led by the DEIB Department. The goal in developing training and other programming is to foster an open and inclusive environment for students, parents, and caregivers.
In the Upper and Middle Schools, a team of Affinity Group leaders facilitates discussion-based curriculum for students in Grades 6-8 and 9-12.
In partnership, Pingry’s Head of School and the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and BelongingDepartment oversee the systematic and organized approach to increased cultural competency within the K-12 school community.
- Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Leadership Team
- Board of Trustees Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Committee (chartered in 2021)
- Antiracism Task Force
- Gilberto Olvera P '29, ‘33, Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
- Alexa Lopez, Upper School Assistant Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
- Taunita Stephenson, Assistant Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for Strategic Initiatives at Basking Ridge
- Regina Hardatt, Lower School Assistant Director of Inclusive Teaching and Learning
Through continuous self-reflection and an orientation toward learning about current best practices in DEI, the Board of Trustees DEI Committee educates Board members and acts as a resource for other Board committees to ensure they adopt best practices and policies. The primary function of the DEI Committee is to partner with the Head of School to realize the aspirational goals of Pingry to become a school that engages in DEI best practices, including actively opposing racism and other forms of bias in all their manifestations. In addition:
The Committee ensures that DEI is a strategic and institutional priority.
The Committee and Director of DEI design and regularly review a DEI dashboard to provide data to the Head of School and Board of Trustees around effectiveness of the school’s DEI programming.
The Committee meets a minimum of six times per year.
Committee Members Include:
- Mr. Donald C. Mullins, Jr. P '15, '20 - Chair
- Lori Halivopoulos ’78, P ’23 - Vice Chair
- Betty Galvan P '25, '29, '31
- Pingry Board of Trustees Chair Ian Shrank '71
- Janice Beckman P '15, '19, '19
- Jeff Edwards ’78, P ’12 ’14, ’18
- Lisa Billington P '20
- Maggie O'Toole '05
- Denise Grant P '23
- Michael Nitabach '84
- Kevin Eng P '24, 26
- Carolyn (Cookie) Mason P '21, 24
- Melissa Moriarty '87, P '23
- Kevin Schmidt '98,
Created in 2020, Pingry's Antiracism Task Force (ARTF) is committed to identifying and eradicating all forms of racism and its legacy and dismantling racial hierarchies that exist at Pingry. With a focus on cultivating mindsets that question and challenge systemic racism, the ARTF works to reduce racial bias within the community.
- Brad Poprik P ’24, ’24 (he/him/his)
- Emily Glatter (she/her/hers/Ms.)
- Frank Morano ’97 (he/him/his/Mr.)
- Gilberto Olvera P ’29 — Co-Chair (he/him/his/Mr.)
- Jeff Cohen P ’21, ’24 (he/him/his)
- Julia Dunbar — Co-Chair (she/her/hers/Ms.)
- Kat Andersen ’21
- Keara Hailey Gordon (she/her/hers/Mrs.)
- Lindsay Holmes-Glogower ’99, P ’33 (she/her/hers)
- Maggie O'Toole ’05 (she/her/hers/Ms.)
- Marcus Alston P ’21 (he/him/his)
- Margaret Kelleher ’01 (she/her/hers)
- Nitin Bhat P ’20, ’23, ’29 (he/him/his/Mr.)
- Ore Shote ’21
- Osa Fasehun ’14 (he/him/his)
- Weiwei Yu P ’26 (she/her/hers)
The purpose of the DEIB Progress Report is to maintain an ongoing accounting of the school's DEIB initiatives, including the hiring and retention of faculty and staff, student enrollment and admission, curriculum, and professional development. See how the School is doing and/or take a look at past communications below.
June 4, 2020
Dear Pingry Community,
In the face of historic, systemic, and institutional racism against Black Americans, silence is not okay. Let me apologize for our initial silence, and for not voicing the School's position more directly. We must do better and we must be better as a school and as a community. That came through loud and clear in yesterday’s community conversations with the Middle and Upper Schools.
Students, as well as faculty and staff from both campuses, spoke openly, courageously, and honestly about experiencing daily microaggressions, compounding their hurt and fractured sense of belonging at Pingry. Our students challenged us to incorporate more diverse perspectives inside of our academic program, coupled with a need to excavate our curriculum to more accurately reflect a broader educational landscape that pushes Pingry students to think and learn beyond the walls of our Basking Ridge Campus. There is a need and yearning to step into challenging topics and difficult conversations to provoke discomfort, not division. Everyone must engage in this work. Of course, the most important discussions are oftentimes the most difficult to have. As author Ibram X. Kendi writes, “In no other capacity is a problem solved by not talking about it.”
I join with our students calling for change within and outside our Pingry community. We must address the inherent biases that plague us, as they do so many institutions. We must examine our practices, our customs, and our curriculum with the goal of amplifying all voices.
In a sense, yesterday's forums mark the start of our work. As you know, Pingry has, for some time now, been engaged in purposefully and strategically developing our efforts surrounding Diversity and Inclusion—one of the School's four key pillars—including, most recently, engaging throughout the year with consultant Alison Park. Beginning July 1, we also look forward to welcoming and learning from our new Director of Diversity and Inclusion Gilberto Olvera. However, it is clear that we must reflect on our work through a new lens. To put a finer point on it, we must be sure that we're not simply working to identify a strategic direction for our diversity and inclusion work, but that we are truly listening, collaborating, asking the right questions, and moving into action right now.
I want to thank everyone in the Pingry community who reached out over the past few days and participated in yesterday's forums for contributing to the conversation and proposing ideas regarding how we can do better as a school. I am tremendously grateful for your courage and candor, particularly from our students, who are demonstrating the very engagement, self-confidence, and poise that we strive to cultivate among all Pingry students. By coming forward to share what and how you feel, your voices are serving as a powerful catalyst for the important work ahead of us. It is my hope, as our work continues, that you will continue to share your voices. I should note here that the voices of our youngest students are equally valued. In order to engage them in the conversation in an age-appropriate way, our K-5 students will observe a moment of silence as a part of tomorrow's Grade 5 Virtual Moving Up Day celebration.
Our primary goal is to foster an environment in which we seek to understand one another, bridge cultures, and embrace our differences. Each day, our individual behaviors contribute to defining our broader future, and we recognize that the only way to create a better world for tomorrow is by change. We remain unequivocally committed to doing more and being better.
I believe schools are our greatest hope for making change and healing. Above all, I want you to know we are here to support you. If you have any lingering thoughts you wish to share about yesterday's conversations, please know that our School Counselors, Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Team, and Administrative Team are here to listen.
I want to promise, as a member of the Pingry community, your voice is valuable, necessary, and will always be heard.
Matt Levinson P '21
Head of School
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) education is a critical component in Pingry's vision of "preparing students to be global citizens and leaders in the 21st century." DEIB work must be embedded in everything we do. This work belongs to all of us, and, as we aspire to be an anti-racist school community, we must work with all of our stakeholders to achieve our goals.
—Gilberto Olvera P '29, Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging
Countries represented in the Pingry Community