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Campus Life

Diversity Conference

Thank you to all those who attended the first annual Vermont Academy Diversity Conference! It was a joy to host groups from Gould Academy, Stoneleigh-Burnham School, The Winchendon School, and The MacDuffie School on our campus.

Check this page in Fall 2018 for an annoucement of the topic for the Spring 2019 Vermont Academy Diversity Conference!
Saturday, April 7, 2018
8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Reception to follow from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

In honor of Michael Choukas Jr.

Keynote speaker:
Dr. Nathaniel J. Williams

On April 7, 2018, Vermont Academy will host The Vermont Academy Diversity Conference: Race, Privilege, and Community Building.

Registration is now open.

Join us for inspiring speakers, deep conversations, hands-on workshops, and tools you can use to foster diversity and build community at your school.

This conference is designed for boarding schools (both middle and high schools) as well as Vermont day schools (pre-K through 12th). It is based on the Dalton Conference model, offered with support from Dalton's planning committee members, and presented in honor of Mike Choukas Jr., former Vermont Academy head of school, who was instrumental in fostering diversity at Vermont Academy.


8:00 - 8:30 a.m. Registration
8:30 - 9:30 Keynote with Dr. Nathaniel J. Williams
9:30 - 9:45 Break
9:45 - 11:45 Facilitated breakout workshops by constituency (all heads of school meet; all students meet; all alumni meet; etc.)
12:00 - 1:00 Lunch
1:00 -2:00 p.m. Student panel (students share their perspective with the conference)
2:00 - 4:15 p.m. Workshops by pod -- each school meets to craft a diversity plan to implement at their school over the next year
4:15 - 4:30 Closing words
4:30 - 5:30 p.m. Wine and cheese reception for adults; snacks and student-led event for students

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Nathaniel J. Williams

Dr. Nathaniel J. Williams, keynote speaker at the Diversity Conference, is a thought leader who has addressed issues of diversity and inclusion for over twenty-five years.

In 2007, he was appointed as the Frederick Douglass Institute Scholar-in-Residence at Kutztown University. In this role, Dr. Williams developed a program in which foster children spend a day on campus to experience all aspects of higher education.

In 2012, he co-authored a chapter titled, 'Frederick Douglass: Words of Wisdom for All Centuries,' in the book Teaching about Frederick Douglass: A Resource for Teachers of Cultural Diversity.

In 2015, Dr. Williams received the FBI's Director's Award, which recognized the work of ChildFirst Services, Inc., under his leadership in building welcoming residential programs for youngsters involved in human trafficking.

Dr. Williams holds a Master of Human Services (MHS) from Lincoln University; a Master of Public Administration (MPA) from Cheyney University; a Master of Business Administration (MBA); and a doctorate in education (Ed.D.) from Fielding Graduate University. He is the author of nine books.

His humor, genuineness, and compassion make his sessions enlightening, engaging and meaningful. Dr. Williams and his wife, Tadé, are the proud parents of eight children, including one who is adopted and one who has autism. They reside in Pennsylvania.

Bernard Stanley Hoyes today and on the cover of Vermont Academy Life in 1969

Off the Street: Vermont Premiere
Friday, April 6, 7 p.m.
Nita Choukas Theater, Horowitz Peforming Arts Hall

In 2017, the 1968 short film Off the Street had its world premiere at the Hanson Film Institute in Arizona. The Hanson Film Institute notes that the film documents "a summer camp devised by teachers from the Art Students League in New York in response to the civil unrest in the wake of the death of Martin Luther King, Jr. The never-before-seen film, in which art is employed as a tool for social change, follows a group of artistically talented and ethnically diverse students from inner-city New York who travel to the Vermont Academy in Saxtons River, VT to participate in an 8-week art camp."

This year, the film will celebrate its 50th anniversary with a showing at Vermont Academy, which hosted the summer arts camp that is the subject of the film.

Acclaimed artist and Sabin Award winner Bernard Stanley Hoyes, who is featured in the film, will attend the screening and take part in a Q&A afterward. Hoyes attended the arts camp and then enrolled as a student at Vermont Academy, graduating in 1970.

All Diversity Conference registrants are welcome and encouraged to attend. This event is free and open to the public.

Frequently Asked Questions

List of 4 frequently asked questions.

  • Q. Who should attend?

    Each school is invited to send a “pod” of up to 14 attendees to the conference, including two of each the following:
    • Teachers
    • Administrators
    • Students
    • Parents
    • Diversity practitioners
    • Alumni
    • Members of the Board of Trustees
  • Q. What are the rates?

    The conference fee is a flat rate per school, which covers up to 14 attendees from the above constituent groups. The fee includes lunch and all conference events.

    New Year's Special rate (register by 1/12/18): $875
    Early-Bird rate (register between 1/13/18 and 2/14/18): $925
    Regular rate (register after 2/14/18): $975

    Space is limited. Registration is open to up to 15 schools and will close early if the conference is full.

    Register here
  • Q. Where should I stay?

    TripAdvisor maintains the following lists, which may be helpful to you in planning your trip. (These links do not constitute an endorsement of TripAdvisor.)

    About Saxtons River, Vermont

    Hotels Near Saxtons River
    Sort by "Distance" to see the closest hotels.
    Towns close to Saxtons River include:
    • Bellows Falls (10 minutes)
    • Grafton (10 minutes)
    • Chester (20 minutes)
    • Putney (20 minutes)
    • Brattleboro (30 minutes)
    • Keene, NH (30 minutes)
    There are also two B&Bs in Saxtons River:
  • Q. What else can I do while I'm in the area?

    Southern Vermont is known for its artisans and craftspeople, shops and restaurants, and outdoor recreation opportunities in all seasons.

    Restaurants Near Saxtons River
    From farm-to-table haute cuisine to burgers, there's lots of great food in the area. TripAdvisor maintains this list.

    Things to Do in Southern Vermont
    The state of Vermont provides these resources for the southern region of the Green Mountain State.

    Things to Do in Brattleboro, Vermont
    (30 minutes from Vermont Academy)
    Brattleboro is an arts town, a farmers' market town, a restaurant town, and a cow parade town.

    Things to Do in Keene, New Hampshire
    (30 minutes from Vermont Academy)
    Keene features great theaters, restaurants, and shops.