IMAGINE . . . Leading by Example!


Photograph of Toni Graves Williamson

Toni Graves Williamson

Academic Director

  • BA in Political Science, Duke University, 1998
  • M ED in Curriculum and Instruction, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, 2006
  • M ED in Private School Leadership, Columbia University, 2011

Favorite Quote: 

"Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go...."-TS Eliot



I'm Toni Graves Williamson.  My history with Duke Youth Programs Summer camps is a long one.  I started teaching at Duke Young Writers Camp in 2000.  I also spent four years on the residential side of Duke Youth Programs as the Director of Residence Life. I have been away from camp a couple of years working on my Masters degree at Columbia University and I am so happy to return to Duke this summer especially as a part of this program.

For the past 12 years my non-camp life has been spent at Carolina Friends School in Durham, NC where I have taught a variety of social science, math, and drama classes to Middle and High school students.  One of my favorite things about teaching at a Quaker school is the commitment that the community makes towards Service Learning.  Students in my school grow up understanding that service is just what they do and who they are.  I am impressed with the amount of energy and time that the young people that have been a part of my life at CFS have put into serving others and I am inspired to do so myself.  I have spent time doing service projects here at home as well as taken two service trips, one to Kenya and one to Trinidad where I worked with kids who lived in an orphanage. 

Throughout my life I have always taken a stand for justice, equality and human rights.  Much of the curriculum that I have designed at Carolina Friends School has been driven by my desire for these basic rights for everyone and has led me into the work that I do outside of the classroom as a diversity practitioner.  What that means is that I design programs for students and adults that help to promote cultural sensitivity, multiculturalism, and strategies that build inclusive communities.  I have just been hired by Abington Friends School near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as the Director of Diversity and Inclusion in order to put those skills in action.

What I hope to do at Duke Imagine this summer is to help to empower the young people who enter my class to stretch beyond their potential and have positive change on the world around them as a result of that work.  I can't wait to get started.



Photograph of John Gentile

John Gentile is a nationally recognized diversity practitioner. He has worked with many prestigious educational institutions and organizations. He has lead workshops, facilitated dialogues and affinity groups, trained faculty, and has been featured as a keynote speaker. He has presented at the Critical Analysis of Race in Learning and Education (CARLE) Institute and the Immigrant Justice Corps in New York City. He has worked with the YWCA of the City of New York as a facilitator around identity development.

He is a founding committee member for the inaugural conference, (Re)defining Power: White Male Voices in Diversity Work, a conference for 6th to 12th grade white males students wanting to explore their role in equity and justice work. He has been a faculty member for the National Association of Independent Schools' Student Diversity Leadership Conference since 2009. He was the recipient of The Princeton Prize for Race Relations in 2007. He is originally from Washington D.C., but now resides in Brooklyn, NY.

Favorite Quote:

"Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out, and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real, you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."


Photograph of Kate Pendergrass

Kate Pendergrass joins the Duke Imagine staff for the third year. She is entering her tenth year as an educator where she has taught math in Tampa, Florida and at Carolina Friends School in Durham, NC where she currently works. Kate received her undergraduate degree from Elon University and her Masters degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. At Carolina Friends School she has become increasingly involved in leadership for issues of diversity and inclusion. She represents the school in the Triangle Diversity Alliance, a cohort of independent schools that organize yearly conferences for high school students and is the chair of the All- School Diversity and Inclusivity Committee. One of her favorite things to do at CFS is the annual trip that she takes with Middle School students through the South on a Civil Rights Tour. Kate’s passion for social justice has led her to work with the Youth Life Foundation of the Triangle where she tutors weekly. Currently, Kate lives in Carrboro and she and her husband are expecting their first child in August!