How many times have you spent August dreaming up ways to build relationships in your school community only to see your efforts slowly fade away by October? To create meaningful connections that sustain over time requires resilience, consistency, and vulnerability. Through scenario-based practice and cohort engagement this workshop will offer you concrete, actionable, and “sticky” strategies for building positive and lasting relationships throughout the year in your classroom, department, or leadership team. This workshop, which takes place over two days with two 2-hour sessions, is for educators who believe that genuine, trusting relationships are what liberates our communities to engage in transformational learning and shared social justice work.
Jay Golon and Jacqueline Nelson, Pollyanna facilitators, teachers, and administrators with over 20 years of experience in Independent Schools, will guide you through practical exercises and reflective discussions aimed at helping participants develop an “individualized engagement plan” for relationship building and community belonging.
In this workshop you will learn:
How to promote mutual concern and respect for differences.
How to model curiosity and encourage DEIB skills to build authentic connections.
How to respectfully interrupt problematic microaggressions and biased behavior.
How to navigate challenges, skepticism, and resistance within your community.
In addition to being a Pollyanna Partner, Jaqueline Nelson is s progressive educator and equity practitioner, has taught in and worked with K-12, co-ed, and single-gender independent schools for over a decade. As an early childhood educator, with a master’s in General and Special Early Childhood Education from Bank Street School of Education, a DEIJ practitioner, and consultant, Jacqueline leverages her experience in the classroom and as a member of senior leadership to design and facilitate a number of diversity initiatives and equity programs including student and adult race-based affinity groups, K-12 anti-bias curriculum design, professional development centered around culturally responsive teaching, and DEI parent engagement.
With a resolute commitment to inclusive excellence and educational equity, in addition to her role as the director of equity and inclusion at an independent school in Connecticut, Jacqueline serves as Vice-Chair of the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools (CAIS) Commission on Diversity at Independent Schools (CODIS); is a former member of the New York State Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS) Diversity Committee; is a trained SEED (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity) leader
Pollyanna Program Designer & Facilitator, Jay Golon is an educator with 20 years of experience as a teacher and administrator in independent schools. He currently works with Pollyanna’s clients to design and facilitate workshops that advance the work of equity and justice. Jay believes that all students flourish in just, equitable, and identity-safe learning environments. Ensuring that every child and family can be the fullest, most authentic version of themselves in all of their communities is at the heart of his work as an educator.
He spent the first part of his career in the classroom as a Middle School Social Studies teacher at the Trevor Day School in New York City, the Epiphany School in Dorchester, Massachusetts, and The Dalton School in New York City. He also served as Dalton’s Middle School Assistant Director for Curriculum and Dean of Students for five years followed by three years as Middle School Principal at the Friends School of Baltimore. Jay earned a B.A. from Wesleyan University in American Studies and Theater and a Masters in School Leadership from Harvard University.