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NWAIS Conferences, Workshops and Events

Hiring for Cultural Competence

Date: Monday - November 16, 2020
Time: All Day
Location: Zoom Workshop
9:00-11:00am and 1:00-3:00pm


Seeking Cultural Consciousness and Competence in Hiring:

Practical Methods and Strategies for Attracting and Identifying the Administrators, Staff and Faculty Needed Now in Independent Schools

A Virtual Workshop

November 16, 2020 – 9:00am-11:00am, 1:00pm-3:00pm





Who Should Attend

The roles that are the best fit for this workshop are dependent on the school hiring structures and could include: school leaders and decision makers, HR directors, DEI practitioners, department chairs, hiring managers as well as those who serve on hiring committees.


Workshop Description

This workshop is designed to provide participants with effective tools in these areas that they can adapt for use at their own schools, as well as a resource manual covering all the relevant material. The workshop will unfold in two 2-hour segments.

Segment 1 will summarize the research that shows that implicit bias will influence your hiring processes in the absence of specific strategies to prevent this. Participants will practice identifying the knowledge and skills of culture competences relevant to each position to be hired. Participants will have the opportunity to use actual position descriptions to practice identifying these.

Segment 2 will demonstrate strategies to identify the best culturally competent candidates through constructing effective questions and other evaluation processes designed to assess the knowledge and skills of candidates in ways that will provide comparable data to those conducting the search process.


Why Focus on Cultural Competence in Hiring?

Independent schools can not afford to hire faculty, administrators, and other staff who are not culturally competent. While this has always been true, it is particularly so at this time of community trauma based both in the pandemic and in the targeting of members of communities of color. We cannot, with any sense of integrity, claim that we are working to build an inclusive school community if we do not prioritize hiring for the skills and knowledge of cultural competence. Our hiring policies and practices are not neutral.

As Dr. Ibram X. Kendi reminds us in his 2019 book, How To Be An Antiracist:

A racist policy is any measure that produces or sustains racial inequality between racial groups. An antiracist policy is any measure that produces or sustains racial equality between racial groups. … Every policy in every institution in every community in every nation is producing or sustaining either racial inequality or equality between racial groups.” (p.18)

How do our hiring processes and practices advance equity and real belonging in our schools? Lack of cultural competence on the part of teachers, staff and administrators directly impacts the environment for students, leading to lower achievement rates for underrepresented students, as well as miseducation and poor role modeling for all students. Hiring without cultural competence in mind leads directly to problems with retention, since a lack of shared responsibility for inclusion and equity often causes the overworked few with the necessary skills to leave as soon as other opportunities are available. Every new person we hire could provide valuable experience and expertise in these areas. Are our hiring processes designed to produce this result?

Hiring processes should include, as normal practice, identification of the knowledge and skills of cultural competence relevant to any given position. In order to attract the best culturally competent candidates, we must advertise for these skills. These processes must also include the development of effective questions and other evaluation processes designed to provide applicants with ways to discuss and demonstrate this knowledge and these skills, as well as processes to differentiate these candidates from others without these critical skills.



Facilitator Biography

Dr. Cris Clifford Cullinan has been a teacher, curriculum designer and organizational consultant since 1972.  Her work for federal, state, local government and educational agencies and institutions has given her the opportunity to lead seminars across the country and abroad and teach classes for faculty, administrators and students at colleges and universities in addition to serving National Association of Independent Schools and their 1500+ member schools.

Dr. Cullinan assists in the development of practical strategies for increasing equity, and recognizing and eliminating structures, policies and practices that support institutionalized privilege. She does this by focusing the development of culturally competent leadership within the pool of existing administrators, staff and faculty, as well as building cultural competence as a recognized and required knowledge and skill set into 21st century hiring and retention practices. Her work has been showcased at regional and national conferences.

During her 23 year tenure at the University of Oregon, as assistant professor and professional development director for faculty and administrators, Dr. Cullinan was the principle curriculum designer and educator in areas of supervision, with particular emphasis the responsibilities of administrators and academic supervisors, as well as other leaders, to identify and eliminate the structures that support patterns of discrimination and harassment. 

Cris Cullinan holds a Ph.D. (2001) from the University of Oregon in educational policy and management, with a focus in higher education.  Dr. Cullinan also holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Lyman Briggs College at Michigan State University.




NWAIS Attendees

Early Bird (By October 13, 2020): $105

Regular (After October 13, 2020): $135


Non-NWAIS Attendees: $195



TO RECEIVE THE REGISTRATION DISCOUNT: Your registration must be complete by the appropriate deadline.

• For online registrations with payment by check, payment must be postmarked by deadline date.

• Online registrations paid by credit card must be completed by 11:59pm on the deadline date.


Cancellation Policy
Substitutions may be made any time prior to the conference. Written cancellations received by November 10, 2020 are eligible for a refund after a $25 cancellation fee. Cancellations received after November 10, 2020 are ineligible for any refund.



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