05/14/2019 by Carney Sandoe Staff | Conferences
Meet Nicole: Women’s Institute Keynote Speaker
Our third-annual Women's Institute is only ONE month away!
Taking place on June 14 in Boston, the event will feature two keynote speakers, panel discussions hosted by educational leaders from schools across the country, and dedicated time for mentorship. Open to all women and their allies in the education community (that means you, fellas!), this event is designed to address the issues faced by women working in education while encouraging women to realize their potential and push themselves further. For both veteran leaders interested in mentoring and attendees at the early stage of their careers looking for guidance, our Women's Institute has value for everyone.
To celebrate just 30 days until the Institute, the theme of which is “Sound the Alarm,” let's learn more about one of our two keynote speakers, Nicole A. DuFauchard.
Nicole A. DuFauchard
-Current Head of School at The Advent School in Boston, MA
-Former Director of Multicultural Affairs at Providence Day School in Charlotte, NC
-Has spent more than 20 years exploring equity and access in education
-Faculty member of the National Association of Independent Schools Diversity Leadership Institute
What do you think is the biggest challenge faced by women in the workplace?
What I hear from women, as well as from my experience, is the weight of balancing work and personal life. I think for women with partners, children, and/or other commitments to people in their lives, the caregiver role becomes a 24-hour cycle. We miss the opportunity to check in with ourselves to make sure we are getting what we need. I constantly hate the “take time for yourself” comments. It doesn’t really encompass what that means. Sometimes taking time for yourself is doing something that is completely yours, sometimes it means being cared for, sometimes it means accomplishing something off your to-do list. We spend too much time defining how well we take care of ourselves in comparison to others. It is truly individual.
What advice would you give a woman who is trying to advance her career in education?
Always be open to learning. For me, it is important to be clear that learning isn’t always about doing. It is about observing, networking, discussing, reading, or just being present. Schools are dynamic. There are so many moving parts that all connect in intricate ways. As a head of school, I get to see all the working parts; but as a faculty person or administrator, you can see them too. Ask a lot of questions and be intentional.
Describe a key moment, person, or other event that was critical in getting you to where you are now.
I have had some amazing champions and sponsors. The best ones are those that help me see my blind spots. I have a person that is constantly in my ear to remind that I move fast. I am a fast processor. I love to bring people along and I also get impatient. His words remind me that we can still get things done and help people come along with us.
Who is your female role model?
My mom and my grandmother have been my inspiration from a very young age. Both broke barriers in their fields and advocated for equity for women and others. It has been part of my upbringing that woman are capable; this was never something I doubted growing up.
What about the Institute are you most excited about?
The opportunity for women to come together! We get mired in the everyday and forget how to uplift ourselves and others. It is always so amazing to see women together being intentionally supportive and in dialogue with each other about the similarities and differences of their world. We should spend a lot of time being intentional about our practice as educators. Professional development in particular is about building skill. The Institute is a way for women to see other women doing amazing things and see big picture, to be able to be strategic and think about the possibilities. Plus, as one of the largest and oldest recruiting firms for independent schools, CS&A has a lens of the full scope; it also allows CS&A to see some amazing women and support their growth.
What is the best piece of advice you have received?
It was from Ravetta Bowers, former longtime Head of School at The Center for Early Education: “It's not about finding balance, it is about managing the imbalance and being okay with it.”
Who was your favorite teacher in school and why?
My fifth-grade teacher, Mr. Kelly. He was young and innovative and was open to our ideas. He thought kids were capable and treated us as partners in our learning. When I look back, he helped me build my own philosophical view of what school should look like.
For fun, what are a few of your favorite quotes?
“We have to talk about liberating minds as well as liberating society.” -Angela Davis
“Mistakes are a fact of life. It is the response to the error that counts.”- Nikki Giovanni
“Quidado con take it easy.” -Anna Lopez (My grandmother, who would remind us to sometimes just enjoy it.)
CS&A is proud to to be hosting our third-annual Women's Institute on June 14 in Boston, an event designed to support women and their allies in the education community. Learn more about this personal and professional development event and reserve your seat today!