Min Pai: Teacher on Planning Committee for National Conference on Independent Schools and People of Color

UCLA Writing Project Fellow to speak on community building in independent schools, Asian identity.

Min Pai is a teacher at Westland School in Los Angeles. Courtesy of Min Pai

Min Pai (’02, B.A., English Literature), a UCLA Writing Project Fellow, is serving on the local planning committee for the National Association of Independent Schools People of Color Conference, to be held in Anaheim, Nov. 30-Dec. 2. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the conference.

Pai has taught 5th and 6th grade math, language arts, and social studies at Westland School in Los Angeles for three years. She also serves on a faculty committee for Social Justice and Anti-Bias Curriculum. At the NAIS conference, she will speak on “Communities in Questions: How People of Color in Independent Schools Create and Sustain Community” and “The Thin Veil of Asian Privilege: Perspectives on Asian Identity.”

Pai serves on Westland’s Diversity Leadership Team, which focuses on the recruitment and retention of families and school staff, as well as parent education on people of color.

“It’s interesting how a lot of the work of diversity, equity and inclusion is being done at independent schools,” she says. “Westland has always been committed to this work, and now we are trying to document our work and be more explicit and intentional in our instruction and curriculum. Westland has also provided lots of professional development for its faculty and staff in diversity, equity, and inclusion. Our school also has a board level committee, the Diversity Leadership Team – which I am also a member of – that is tasked with parent education around this work and the recruitment and retention of families and staff of color.”

This summer, Pai participated in a UCLA Writing Project retreat to celebrate 40 years of the program, which is based at Center X. In her twelfth year of teaching, she says that teaching is her greatest challenge.

“My ultimate goal in teaching writing is to support my students so that they may discover their voice, discover themselves, and maybe discover some truth about the world, too, along the way,” says Pai. “Working towards this goal, I must build trust and relationships with my students. Only then can I learn about their experiences.”