Commission on Diversity in Independent Schools  

The CAIS Commission on Diversity in Independent Schools exists to inspire a wide spectrum of individuals in the effort to make our school communities rich in the experience of human differences. The Commission will provide an educators'' network focused on diversity, as well as training and resources for diversity advocates at CAIS member schools. It will also provide on-going support for trustees, administrators, teachers, staff, students, families and other CAIS commissions.



 Commission Members  
Dale Griffa Chair (St. Luke's School)
Susan Martell Jenkin Co-Vice-Chair (Miss Porter's School)
Chrissy Colon Bradt (Greenwich Country Day School)
Elisa Cardona (The Ethel Walker School)
Steve Davis (Pomfret School)
Joan Edwards (Kingswood Oxford School)
Amanda Friedman (Miss Porter's School )
Becky Harper (Hopkins School)
Shanelle Henry (Greens Farms Academy)
Keith Hinderlie (Choate Rosemary Hall)
Elizabeth Parada (The Loomis Chaffee School)
Yassine Talhaoui (Hotchkiss School)
Kevin Thompson (Greenwich Country Day School)
Doug Lyons (CAIS Liaison)
 Links    About the Commissioners   



 Steve Davis, Pomfret School
Mr. Davis is currently the Director of Diversity and Community relations at Pomfret School in Pomfret, Connecticut. He has over 10 years of experience as a college administrator and twenty five years of service to Independent Schools as an Upper School Division Head, Academic Dean, Asst. Director of Admissions and Director of Diversity. As Assistant to the Head of School at New Hampton School, Mr. Davis was co-author of the Total Human Development Model (THD) which was the vehicle that led to New Hampton becoming the first private high school to win the Character Education Partnership’s National School of Character Award. Mr. Davis was born in the inner city of West Philadelphia, attended Overbrook High School and played in both the Cotton Bowl and Sugar Bowl Football Classics for Penn State University.
 Joan Edwards, Kingswood Oxford School
Joan began her career in education at Kingswood Oxford School as a French teacher in 1987. She has held several positions such as Director of Admissions, Associate Dean of Students and most recently as Director of Diversity, Inclusion and Cultural Competency. In that role, she coordinates work with students and educators. One of her main passions is facilitating the SEED group at KO – a monthly discussion group for adults committed to being culturally responsive educators. All of Joan's efforts lead to one purpose – Helping prepare our students, our children and ourselves to be effective and empowered participants in the diverse communities within which we find ourselves.
 Amanda Friedman, Hopkins School
Amanda serves as the Director of Equity and Community at Hopkins School. In addition to this role, she also serves on the Admission Committee. Amanda holds undergraduate degrees in English, Education, and Women's Studies, and completed her graduate degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Connecticut. Beginning her career teaching English in public school, Amanda also helped to coordinate a K-12 cross-cultural exchange initiative with sister school partnerships in China, France, and Japan. This led her to independent schools where she previously served as the Associate Dean of Community Affairs, working in diversity, inclusion, global education, service learning, and student life at King Low-Heywood Thomas. Amanda is delighted to serve on the CAIS Commission on Diversity in Independent Schools.
 Aneceia Forbes, The Mead School
Aneceia began her career in education at The Mead School in 1998. While she has held a variety of positions in her 18 years at Mead, she currently serves as Director of Diversity and Early Learning Coordinator. In her diversity role, Aneceia chairs the faculty/parent Diversity Action Committee; collaborates with the Board Diversity Committee; develops, facilitates and leads diversity training for faculty, administrators and board members; and facilitates the Student Diversity Club and Affinity Group. In her role as Early Learning Coordinator, Aneceia handles Admissions for Mead’s Early Learning Centers and serves as supervisor in the Director’s absence. She holds her undergraduate degree in Child Studies and is proud to serve on the CAIS Commission on Diversity in Independent Schools. She is also the proud mother of a sixth grader, who currently attends Mead, and a son who graduated from Valley Forge Military Academy and is now a freshman at Manhattanville College.
 Dale Griffa, St. Luke's School
Dale joined St. Luke's as Upper School Music Department Chair in 2002. Dale received his Master's in Music Education from Boston University, Boston, MA, his Master's in Music in Vocal Performance and Bachelor's in Music in Vocal Performance from the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT. Dale has participated in the Diversity Directions Institute as well as the NAIS Diversity Leadership Institute. Dale has been a part of diversity issues at St. Luke’s for over 12 years and has been a part of the teams, which developed the Vision for Diversity and Diversity Mission Statement. Dale has also served as faculty advisor of the Upper School Gay/Straight Alliance.
 Keith Hinderlie, Ph.D., Choate Rosemary Hall
Keith Hinderlie, Ph.D. is the Director of Equity and Inclusion at Choate Rosemary Hall. In this position, Dr. Hinderlie serves as an academic and institutional leader in these areas, guiding Choate's evolution as a community.
Dr. Hinderlie comes to Choate from The Barrie School in Silver Spring, Maryland, an independent school serving students pre-K through grade 12, where he served as Director of Student and Family Services. A licensed psychologist, he brings to Choate more than 20 years' experience as a school administrator and educator working with students and adults in both independent and charter schools, among them Milton Academy (MA) and Graland Country Day School (CO). He also served as Director of Programs, Program Development Consultant, Director of Counseling, and Consulting Psychologist to the SEED Foundation, the SEED School of Maryland, and the SEED School of Washington D.C., the first public charter boarding school in the U.S.
Dr. Hinderlie holds a B.A. in psychology from the University of New Hampshire, and a master's degree and Ph.D. in counseling psychology from Boston College. Over the past 12 years, he has taken on increasing responsibilities as an educational leader and consultant, and has become a nationally recognized expert in promoting diversity, inclusion, and multicultural practices in schools. For many years he has served as a resident faculty member of the Diversity Directions Independent School Seminar, and as a speaker at professional development workshops at a variety of NAIS schools.
Susan Martell Jenkin, Miss Porter's School
Susan is currently the Director of Equity and Inclusion at Miss Porter's School. Susan completed her undergraduate at Fordham University where she majored in Mathematics and minored in French Language and Literature. She holds a Masters in Private School Leadership from the Klingenstein Center at Teachers College Columbia University. Susan joined Porter's in 2010 as a math and computer science teacher. She took on the role of Multicultural Student Advisor in 2013 and has since been an integral part of the shifting and growing role that equity and inclusion play at Porter's. As Director of Equity and Inclusion, Susan is responsible for guiding all departments and offices to shape curricular and co-curricular initiatives designed to promote personal, professional, and academic growth. She oversees the Watu Wazuri Student Equity Council, the Committee of Equity and Inclusion, and all student alliance and affinity groups on campus. Susan, her husband, Tim, and their rescue dog Cody, live in Farmington,CT and love exploring and traveling to new and fun places.
Elizabeth Parada, Loomis Chaffee School
Elizabeth began working at Loomis Chaffee in the fall of 1999 as a Spanish teacher and the Counselor of Diversity. Since then, she was an integral part of shifting and growing the position, first to Director of Multicultural Affairs on a half-time basis, until this academic year, when she has become a full time administrator as Director of Diversity and Inclusion. In her role, Elizabeth has developed workshops, facilitates formal and informal discussions and provides support to faculty and students. She is also the chair of the Climate and Inclusion Committee at Loomis Chaffee, currently charged with developing a strategic plan for diversity and inclusion and implementing consistent strategies for data collection. Elizabeth holds two masters degrees, one on Public Health/Community Health Education and the other in Spanish language and culture.

Yassine Talhaoui, Hotchkiss School
Yassine joined The Hotchkiss School in 2016, where he is serving as the Director of Multicultural Recruitment and Associate Dean of Admission. Prior to Hotchkiss, Yassine worked as a Foreign Language Teacher, Director of Equity & Justice, and as the Director of The Academy at Watkinson School in Hartford, CT. Yassine lives on Hotchkiss' campus in Lakeville, CT with his wife Nic’Cole and their daughter. He has a passion for travel, literature, and sports.
 Kevin Thompson, Head of School, East End Academy
Kevin is currently the Head of School of East End Academy, a new K-5 independent school scheduled to open in Bridgepgort, CT in fall 2018. Kevin has spent most of the last decade working in independent schools, first as a Teaching Assistant and Lead 4th grade teacher at Greens Farms Academy and most recently as the High School Program Director for Horizons at New Canaan Country School. Kevin is extremely passionate about educating young people of all ages and motivating them to be the best that they can be. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Crime, Law, and Justice from the University of Connecticut and a master’s degree in Educational Leadership at Manhattanville College. He anticipates receiving his School Building Leadership Certification from the State of New York. In his spare time, Kevin is heavily involved in community theater, coaching diving, and spending time with his beautiful wife, Julia, and his precious daughter, Mia.
 Doug Lyons,  CAIS
Doug has been the Executive Director of the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools since July 2004. A graduate of Villanova University, Doug has Masters and Doctoral degrees from The University of Pennsylvania. He began his career in public education, serving for twenty years in the New Jersey public schools as a teacher, coach, school principal and Superintendent of schools. Doug has taught students at every level of education: lower, middle and upper school, undergraduate and graduate school. In 1992 he left the Superintendency in Mt. Lakes N.J. to accept the position of Headmaster of the Greenwich Country Day School, Connecticut’s largest independent school.
Doug's publications on education and on parenting have appeared in local, state and national journals and in the popular media, including Independent School magazine, The New England Independent School GuideExecutive EducatorConnecticut Magazine and The New York Times. Doug has served on many non-profit boards and committees, among them the boards of the St. Angela’s School in the South Bronx, N.Y., the Freedoms Foundation in Valley Forge, PA, the United Way, YMCA and The Community Answers Service Organization in Greenwich CT. Doug is currently serving on the Stonington CT Planning and Zoning board and on the vestry of the Calvary Church in Stonington, where he also serves as the President of the Nursery School Board of Trustees.
Doug is a frequent presenter at NAIS Annual Conferences and at regional conferences. He recently served as a Featured speaker at the ECIS Leadership Conference in Brussels, Belgium.
Doug believes that an independent school education confers life-long advantages. He has 4 grandchildren in independent schools – and he is paying tuition again – happily!