Southeastern Conference on Race and Leadership
in Independent Schools.
June 17-19, 2022
Ensworth School
Nashville, TN

We're on, in person, for 2022, and we're
excited to see you all again!

“Tearing Down the Walls” is a two-day race and leadership conference for independent school students in the Southeast. The purpose of the conference is to afford students from diverse racial and socio-economic backgrounds the opportunity to become leaders and bridge builders in the arena of race relations. Our vision is for students to return home emboldened to lead.

Questions? Reach out to David Whitfield (whitfieldd@ensworth.com) or

Dina Marks (marksd@ensworth.com).


Battle Ground Academy (Franklin, TN)
Baylor School (Chattanooga, TN)
Ensworth School (Nashville, TN)
Evangelical Christian School (Cordova, TN)
Franklin Road Academy (Nashville, TN)

Holy Innocents' Episcopal School  (Atlanta, GA)
Hutchison School (Memphis, TN)
Lipscomb Academy (Nashville, TN)

McCallie School (Chattanooga, TN)
Memphis University School (Memphis, TN)
Metairie Park Country Day (Metairie, LA)
Middle Tennessee Christian School (Murfreesboro, TN)

Montgomery Bell Academy (Nashville, TN)
Pace Academy (Atlanta, GA)
Providence Christian Academy (Murfreesboro, TN)
St. Andrews--Sewanee School (Sewanee, TN)
University School of Nashville (Nashville, TN)
Walker School (Marietta, GA)

Westminster Schools (Atlanta, GA)

Follow us on Instagram and Twitter to see pictures from past conferences and to keep up with what our participants are doing to tear down walls in their schools and communities.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn

The Tearing Down the Walls conference is organized in association with the National Center for Race Amity.


We take a "teachers talking with teachers" approach to our professional development; faculty will engage in whole-group and small-group sessions with fellow practitioners, discussing topics such as:

  • Experiences of girls of color in independent schools

  • Intersectionality: What is it, and why is it important?

  • Teacher / Practitioner Burnout

  • What are we reading, and why?


Dr. Bettina Love

Dr. Bettina L. Love is an award-winning author and the Athletic Association Endowed Professor at the University of Georgia. Her writing, research, teaching, and educational advocacy work meet at the intersection of education reform, anti-racism, carceral studies, abolition, and Black joy. The aim of her scholarship is twofold: firstly, to advance how the field of education understands and critiques the systemic and structural racism of public education within the U.S.; and secondly, to advocate for abolitionist approaches in the field of education that seek new possibilities for educational justice. In the pursuit of making her scholarship a reality, she works with activists, communities, youth, families, and school districts to build communal, civically-engaged schools rooted in the aspirations of abolitionist strategies that love and affirm Black and Brown children. In 2020, Dr. Love co-founded the Abolitionist Teaching Network (ATN). ATN’s mission is simple: develop and support teachers and parents to fight injustice within their schools and communities. In 2020, Dr. Love was also named a member of the Old 4th Ward Economic Security Task Force with the Atlanta City Council. The goal of the Task Force is to advance dialogue and form tangible solutions for guaranteed income.

Dr. Love is a sought-after public speaker on a range of topics, including: Abolitionist Teaching, anti-racism, Hip Hop education, Black girlhood, queer youth, Hip Hop feminism, art-based education to foster youth civic engagement and issues of diversity and inclusion. She is the creator of the Hip Hop civics curriculum GET FREE.

In 2014, she was invited to the White House Research Conference on Girls to discuss her work focused on the lives of Black girls. For her work in the field of Hip Hop education, in 2016, Dr. Love was named the Nasir Jones Hiphop Fellow at the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University. In April of 2017, Dr. Love participated in a one-on-one public lecture with bell hooks focused on the liberatory education practices of Black and Brown children. In 2018, Georgia’s House of Representatives presented Dr. Love with a resolution for her impact on the field of education. She has also provided commentary for various news outlets including NPR, Ed Week, The Guardian, and the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

She is the author of the books We Want to Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom and Hip Hop’s Li’l Sistas Speak: Negotiating Hip Hop Identities and Politics in the New South. Her work has appeared in numerous books and journals, including Educational Researcher, Urban Education, The Urban Review, and the Journal of LGBT Youth.

Andrew Maraniss

Andrew Maraniss is a New York Times bestselling author of nonfiction books for teens and adults on the intersection of sports, history and social justice. His first book, Strong Inside, received the Lillian Smith Book Award (for civil rights) and was the lone recipient of the RFK Book Awards' Special Recognition Prize (for social justice). His adaptation of Strong Inside for Young Readers was named one of the Top 10 Sports Books and Top 10 Biographies for Youth by the American Library Association. His second book, Games of Deception, received the Sydney Taylor Book Honor and was named one of Amazon's Books of the Year. His third book, Singled Out, was named one of the "Top 10 Baseball Books Ever Written" by Esquire magazine and was a Rainbow Book List selection. His new book, Inaugural Ballers, comes out Sept. 13 and is the story of the first U.S. women's Olympic basketball team.

Andrew lives in Nashville and is director of special projects at the Vanderbilt University Athletic Department. Follow him on Twitter @trublu24. 

Dr. Rich Milner

H. Richard Milner IV (also known as Rich) is Cornelius Vanderbilt Distinguished Professor of Education and Professor of Education in the Department of Teaching and Learning at Peabody College of Vanderbilt University. His research, teaching and policy interests concern urban education, teacher education, African American literature, and the social context of education.  Professor Milner’s research examines practices and policies that support teacher effectiveness in urban schools. 


Professor Milner is President-Elect of the American Educational Research Association, the largest educational research organization in the world. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Education and a Fellow of the American Educational Research Association. Professor Milner’s work has appeared in numerous journals, and he has published seven books. His most recent are: Start where you are but don’t stay there: Understanding diversity, opportunity gaps, and teaching in today’s classrooms (Harvard Education Press, 2010 and 2020, Second Edition), Rac(e)ing to class: Confronting poverty and race in schools and classrooms (Harvard Education Press, 2015) and These kids are out of control: Why we must reimagine classroom management for equity (Corwin Press, 2018).  He can be reached at rich.milner@vanderbilt.edu.

Roderick White, J.D.

Roderick White is the Director of Diversity and Community Life at University School of Nashville, a co-ed, K-12 independent school on the edge of Vanderbilt University's campus. There, he leads the school's work on creating a place of inclusion for the community through diversity initiatives. Not only has he been instrumental in creating the 1st DEI report in the school's history, he also led the creation of the USN Bias Form, which allows community members to log learning opportunities from all over the community.


Roderick is the Statewide Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Representative for the Administrator Services Committee of TAIS (Tennessee Association of Independent Schools).  He has also served on the SAIS (Southern Association of Independent Schools) DEI Taskforce, as well as being a Diversity Mentor, and an Accreditation Team member, which is a voluntary process of self-evaluation and continuous improvement that reflects compliance with required standards/indicators, involves a self-study, and includes a peer review by educators from other schools. Roderick has also been a presenter/speaker at several conferences, including TAIS (Tennessee Association of Independent Schools), SAIS (Southern Association of Independent Schools), NAIS (National Association of Independent Schools), and the Epilepsy Foundation Leadership Conference. 

Roderick's Nashville journey began at the campus of Tennessee State University, where he spent many a night working in the music building as a member of the "Aristocrat of Bands", eventually earning the positions of Section Leader and Drum Major. Roderick has been an active member of the Nashville Community Concert Band since his joining in 2005, and recently joined the Nashville African American Wind Symphony, where he is also section leader. Before the Pandemic, Roderick taught Children’s Church at Olive Branch Missionary Baptist Church, coached hundreds of cheerleaders in the greater Nashville area, and spent five years as a captain for the Tennessee Titans Cheer Squad.

With his wife, Latarsher, he shares three children.



Friday, June 17, 2022

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Sunday, June 19, 2022



Each school bringing students and adults pays a flat registration fee of $2000.00; this fee covers registration, programming, and food costs for all students and chaperones. 

The registration fee does not include travel or hotel costs.


Register Your School and Pay for Your Students 

Chaperone Registration Form

Student Participants: Registration Form
This form requires signatures and information from
both the participating student(s) and their guardian(s)

Are you coming on your own, without students?
The registration fee for individuals is $250. This includes all
conference programming, registration, and food costs.

Professional Development Registration Form