Who We Are
We are a group of educators from diverse professional and personal backgrounds who stand as a resource for schools, families and students alike.
Candace Chen, History Department Chair, Marin Academy
Raymond Difley, Art Teacher, Carey School
Rebecca Hanson, Legal Project Manager/ Diversity Director, ReedSmith
Erica Hernandez, Program Manager, A Better Chance
Christine Godinez Jackson, Director of Center for Civic Engagement, Lick-Wilmerding High School
Jeremiah Jackson, Director of Equity and Inclusion, College Prep School
Katina Papson-Rigby, Director of Community and Inclusion, St. Matthew’s Episcopal Day School
Tamisha Williams, Dean of Adult Equity and Inclusion, Lick-Wilmerding High School
Anthony Witte, Director of Inclusion, Children’s Day School
What We Do
- Promote dialogue among people of color and their allies to foster multicultural understanding and community building
- Advocate for increasing ethnic and cultural diversity at all levels in independent schools
- Provide expertise and resource to educational professionals on
- Building inclusive curriculum development
- Developing cultural competence in students and adults
- Fostering leadership in students and adults of color within schools
- Encourage that school structures, policies, and practices reflect a long-term and sustainable commitment to equity and inclusion
People of Color in Independent Schools of Northern California (POCIS) was founded by local independent school educators who were inspired and moved by the call to action made at the 1995 NAIS People of Color Conference (POCC) in Baltimore. These driven and dedicated educators joined together to provide support for San Francisco Bay Area Independent Schools’ affiliates who were interested in issues of diversity and equity. As a self-sustaining board, founders planned, organized, and funded events to support students and educators of color in independent schools.
After building a solid reputation and approaching over 50 local independent school heads with a membership opportunity to good to refuse, POCIS began its growth from a grass roots group of educators to the well established non-profit we know it to be today. In 2002, POCIS officially received its non-profit – 501c3 status and established itself as an official non-profit corporation. At its inception, POCIS sponsored a number of events at local schools to support families, students, and school faculty and administrators.
Its purpose: “To promote a positive effort by teachers, administrators, parents, and students who believe that diversity, equity, and social justice are endemic to quality education for all. The cultures, diverse heritages, languages, knowledge, and insights of people of color contribute to creating inclusive, and affirming institutions. The corporation supports the increased diversity in student enrollment, in faculty, and administration and at the board level, as well as in contracts for goods and services with women and people of color. This corporation also supports school climates where the academic and social wellbeing of all students and adults of color is assured.”
For the past 15 years, POCIS has been an active and constant presence in Northern California Schools. POCIS continues to support and serve educators, families, and students in the pursuit of equity and justice.