1:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Are you a team member responsible for administering your school’s upcoming accreditation process? This workshop includes a review of the guidebook and offers the opportunity to ask questions in an informal setting.
Separate registration required (register here).
Speaker: Skip Kotkins, Senior Consultant, Carney, Sandoe & Associates
The challenges facing boards and heads are more complex than ever. A trusting board/head relationship creates powerful opportunities for the school to thrive and move forward when critical moments arise.
This workshop will discuss what heads need most from their boards and vice versa. It will also address those issues participants identify as most pressing in their current schools.
We will discuss key concepts including:
4:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Registration / Exhibit & Sponsor Booths Open
5:00 PM – 6:00 PM
KEYNOTEsponsored by ISM
Speaker: Lee Rubin, President, Lee Rubin Speaks
Machines are evaluated based on the output of the entire unit, not the impressiveness of their individual parts. Extraordinary teams, like great machines, require certain components that hold their pieces together. While most organizations focus exclusively on building the skills of their individual members, elite organizations invest in the “stuff” that transforms a collection of talented individuals into extraordinary, machine-like teams.
6:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Reception sponsored by FLIK Independent School Dining
8:00 AM – 6:30 PM
8:00 AM – 9:00 AM
Breakfast Buffetsponsored by CCS Fundraising
Exhibit & Sponsor Booths Open
9:00 AM – 10:15 AM
KEYNOTEsponsored by Carney, Sandoe & Associates
Speaker: Michael Horn, Author
For years, educators and school leaders have been grappling with how to build an educational system that meets the needs of all its students. Drawing on expertise and experience, the session will share a practical blueprint to rebuild an education system and give a compelling call to action to overthrow the status quo and embrace a better path forward.
Using time-tested leadership and innovation frameworks, this session will offer a prescriptive and holistic approach to address the challenges that stem from widespread unmet learning needs.
10:15 AM – 10:45 AM
10:45 AM – 12:00 PM
Speakers: Cintra Horn, Assistant Head for Student Affairs, Ashley Hall, and Yerko Sepúlveda, Director of Community Engagement & Belonging, Porter-Gaud School
Educators are always looking for tools to master their craft. Porter-Gaud School and Ashley Hall acknowledged that before doing any curriculum implementation or policy writing, their faculty and staff should learn about the lived experiences of those they serve. A combined study group with educators from both schools emerged as the right partnership in the context of the Zinn Education Project’s Teaching for Black Lives National Campaign.
In this workshop, participants will explore three objectives that shaped the school partnership:
Speaker: Janice Gregerson, Counsel, Venable
Recently, independent schools have seen a shift in the nature and intensity of student misconduct. At the same time, schools are cognizant of the mental health crisis impacting students and faculty alike. Relatedly, parents and students increasingly are looking to schools to resolve their disputes, where perhaps previously the school was not asked to intervene. Schools are reevaluating how they define their jurisdiction over student conduct as behavior, how they define certain forms of student misconduct, and the method(s) schools will use to investigate and respond. These efforts are done to better inform parents, students, and employees alike as to how a school will respond.
In this session, we will review the different considerations schools have employed in managing this complex landscape, as well as the different strategies schools may seek to employ as they investigate and respond to student misconduct.
In this lightning-round interactive breakout session for heads and trustees, we’ll discuss three topics for 25 minutes each. Participants will walk away with practical tips for a successful partnership between the board and the head. During the lightning rounds, we’ll:
Speakers: Clay Elliott, Head of School, The Salisbury School, and Julie Rust, Assistant Head of School for Teaching & Learning, St. Andrew’s Episcopal School
Join this session to learn about creating structure within a faculty to grow authentic faculty involvement and empowerment within a school or division. Work to develop leadership amongst faculty who are already committed to your institution and grow their loyalty to the school. Understand research about the younger generation of teachers and how it might inform the voice that we offer them and the structures we build to help them grow.
Speakers: Natalie Skinner, Executive Vice President, and Bob Weston, Senior Vice President; Practice Lead, Independent Schools, CCS Fundraising
This session will help you understand and refine your value proposition, which is critical for successful admissions, marketing, and fundraising efforts. Discuss strategies for engaging with new families who have recently joined your school community and learn how to cultivate their philanthropic support. We will review effective ways to tell your story, including best practices for donor cultivation and why it’s important to coordinate all of your cultivation activities into one integrated plan, resulting in a stronger philanthropic culture at your school.
Speakers: Tracie Catlett, Head of School, Greensboro Day School, and Nina Kumar, CEO, Authentic Connections
Results from surveys administered to over 100,000 students and 15,000 educators, including over 42,000 students and 7,000 educators at schools in the South, show that rates of clinically significant depression and anxiety among students have increased since the start of 2020, while rates of burnout among educators remain high.
In this workshop, we will describe the modifiable aspects of school life that are most closely tied to student and faculty well-being and will underscore areas of strength and improvement commonly found across schools. Specifically, they will examine how feelings of belonging and social relationships at school inform students’ mental health. We will describe how Greensboro Day School has used data collected from students and staff, starting in 2019, to implement targeted wellness programming. Attendees will learn best practices for supporting their communities.
Speakers: Ray Casey, President, Westminster Christian Academy; Sean Casey, Head of School, Franklin Road Academy; Doreen Kelly, Head of School, Ravenscroft School
Join this breakout session where three siblings come together to share their invaluable insights gained from a collective 45+ years of experience as heads of school. This engaging session will delve into the complex world of independent school leadership, offering reflections on leadership approaches, the art of mentoring, effectively managing boards, and tackling the common challenges faced by all school leaders.
Through anecdotes and discussions, these sibling leaders will share their path to success and reveal the lessons they have learned throughout their respective journeys. Attendees will gain a unique perspective from this family, and leave this session equipped with practical strategies to enhance their own leadership journeys. Whether you’re a current school leader or aspiring administrator, this breakout session is an opportunity to glean wisdom from this family’s experience.
12:15 PM – 2:00 PM
LUNCH: Distinguished Service Awards, NAIS Update sponsored by Southern Teachers
2:30 PM – 3:45 PM
Speaker: John Grant, Director of Curriculum Alignment and Worldview, Evangelical Christian School
For schools with spiritual formation as part of their mission, attendees will leave this session with a renewed sense of the essence of education, a classically-informed understanding of the human soul, an expanded network of peers responsible for the spiritual formation cultures at their schools, and a practical tool to help schools assess their spiritual formation culture. Attendees will have a roadmap for assessing the formal and informal ways spiritual formation happens at their schools.
Speakers: Michael Connor, President, and Thom Greenlaw, Senior Strategic Partner; Connor Associates Strategic Services
When a head of school leaves or is let go, the board often defaults to finding a new leader as soon as possible so the school doesn’t appear weak or have its reputation damaged by the departure. We believe a “strategic pause” is a better approach to succession planning. There are at least 10 steps a school can take to maximize its reputation, preparation, and confidently set its new head up for a soft landing – ready to set strategic priorities for the school’s path to sustainable success.
Speakers: Stephanie Keaney, Executive Director, NCAIS; Susan Perry, Associate Head of School for Wellness and Belonging, Forsyth Country Day School; and Patricia Sasser, Assistant Head of School, St. Mary’s School
Join this highly interactive and fun workshop co-created to bring voice, reflection, and action steps to initiate self-examination about your mindset and beliefs about women in educational leadership. This session will celebrate strengths and identify challenges. Participants will work directly with the speakers in facilitated small groups to explore four themes and the associated, specific, in-demand leadership skills we have learned that can help in grounding awareness for how to move from where you are to where you want to be.
Speakers: Sean Casey, Head of School, and Jill Johnson, Director, Capital Campaign and Planned Giving, Franklin Road Academy
Join this session to learn innovative, non-traditional strategies to lead a successful capital campaign. Franklin Road Academy, a coeducational, Pre-K– 12 school in Nashville, had not embarked on a capital campaign in more than a decade, and the largest campaign in the school’s 45-year history was a $9M campaign. With our strategic vision and master plan as our guide, we met one-on-one with families and never set a goal or publicly announced the campaign. Our annual fund and endowment doubled, 65 families invested $100K+ in the capital campaign, and last year, we celebrated a successful $27M capital campaign. Capitalizing upon the momentum from this successful campaign, we just secured a seven-figure lead gift to begin phase II.
Let us inform and empower you with the strategies, language, and processes we used to engage our community, transform our physical campus, drastically improve our student experience, and do what no one thought was possible.
Speaker: Connie White, Director of Learning & Innovation, Woodward Academy
We are all working to prepare our students for an ever-changing future, but the latest research tells us that our priority should be to develop learning opportunities designed to foster student agency. These enriched experiences will put students in situations that are appropriately challenging and yet will incorporate the elements of agency to develop our student’s ability to make decisions, solve problems, and explain their thinking.
In this interactive session, participants will gain a better understanding of what developing student agency looks like in a school or classroom and how to encourage its development. We will:
Participants will walk away with a toolbox of resources that they can immediately use in their schools.
3:45 PM – 4:15 PM
4:15 PM – 5:30 PM
Speakers: Glyn Cowlishaw, Head of School, Providence Day School, and Jim Hulbert, CEO, The Jane Group
School leaders are increasingly finding themselves in more difficult conversations with stakeholders than ever before. They are challenging school leaders regarding decisions around DEIJB, curriculum, gender, and hiring/terminations which can create mistrust, internal conflicts, and fractures. Conversations are being secretly taped and shared on social media by alternative organizations whose goal is to divide your community. Presenters will share strategies for managing these issues through real and anonymized case studies.
Speakers: Scott Collins, Assistant Director of Admissions, University School of Nashville, and Kristine Varney, Director of Instruction, Norfolk Collegiate School
Sustainability is a major topic for independent schools and has been for at least the past decade, as discussions emerged after the 2008 financial crisis with tuition continuing to rise. In 2022, many school leaders found themselves in a challenging financial situation and had similar discussions surrounding sustainability.
Small independent schools face unique challenges that larger schools do not encounter, or when they do face the same challenges, the impact is greater due to the school’s size. Researchers from Vanderbilt University partnered with NAIS to provide information about the current state of small schools (defined as 200 or fewer students), with the goal of providing tailored recommendations for ways that NAIS can support small schools.
This workshop will examine the landscape of small schools, as well as what small independent school leaders have done to help their schools become or remain sustainable in a competitive educational marketplace.
Speaker: Jeffrey Mitchell, Head of School, Currey Ingram Academy
A school is as good as its people and thus has an obligation to hire, support, lead, and retain the best possible people. With a squeezed labor market, the challenge is all that much greater. This workshop presents one school’s journey to create a leadership development tool that is easy to use (manageable), supported by established experts (triangulated), and likely to lead to growth (meaningful).
Speaker: Nija Majmudar Meyer, VP for Enrollment Management, Woodward Academy
As independent schools, we prefer to think of ourselves as anything but a business. However, the “trust us” approach of the past no longer resonates with parents who demand immediate response times, personalized experiences, and proven returns on their financial and emotional investments. Forward-thinking schools must look to out-of-industry customer service models to justify that we are worth the expense. Are you ready for the next step? Join this workshop that will debunk misperceptions such as “customer service means giving ‘A’ grades” and examine how independent schools can offer an exceptional customer experience and increase enrollment as a result.
Speakers: Jared Colley, Head of Learning & Innovation & CBE Specialist, and Ann Marsh Rutledge, Head of Learning and Innovation, MV Ventures, The Mount Vernon School
Artificial intelligence has many worried that we will assess human cognition in the context of cognitive technologies like ChatGPT. The reality is that we’ve always been playing the imitation game when verifying a student’s understanding. Is this their idea? How do I know? AI has actually provided an opportunity to make assessments of human cognition more precise. Still, we must be intentional and explicit about what kind of cognition we actually want to measure.
In this session, we’ll work with tools, resources, and assessment examples that use Webb’s Depth of Knowledge to build proficiency scales and tasks that demand learners to make visible the true human advantage over machines: namely, our ability to imagine, extend our thinking, to think strategically, and to evaluate. We need our assessments to measure the skills that make up the human advantage in the age of intelligent machines.
5:30 PM – 6:30 PM
Reception sponsored by Carr, Riggs & Ingram CPAs and Advisors
8:00 AM – 12:00 PM
8:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Sponsor Booths Open
Speaker: Jennifer Wallace, Journalist & Author
You’ve likely never heard about the specific framework of mattering, but you’ve felt it. Mattering occurs in life’s big moments, like birthdays, and in everyday moments too, like when a colleague calls to check in on you when you’re sick. The feeling that hits you when you pick up the phone is mattering – you feel deeply valued by your friend. When a teacher assigns a child a classroom chore like watering plants, that child feels counted on and capable of adding value to their little world. They feel like they matter.
Mattering expresses the deep need we all have to feel seen, cared for, and understood. Whether we are young or old, the need never fades. Mattering involves not just feeling valued but also adding value, the ability to make a positive impact on the world.
But today we find ourselves in a mattering deficit. Adults and children are reporting record numbers of loneliness in their personal and professional lives. It’s particularly evident in schools. Teachers feel like they aren’t valued. Parents feel they aren’t heard. Children feel they’re valued based on how well they’re performing. Mattering can help. It’s a coachable skill that anyone can learn and offers a rich, intuitive framework for reinvigorating school culture and protecting wellbeing. Join the closing keynote for an introduction to the mattering framework and take home one of the most powerful tools for enhancing mental health and building a community-wide sense of belonging.
Speakers: David Perkinson, Head of School, Episcopal Day School, and Scott Tyink, Head of Middle & High School Development, The Origins Program
Building inclusive and engaging school culture starts by paying attention to staff and student needs including safety, competence, autonomy, relationship, and fun. Learn how the Developmental Designs model works using specific high-leverage practices to meet these needs. Experience several of the practices including The Circle of Power and Respect, setting expectations, and the reflective loop.
Speaker: Meera Shah, Executive Director, Trey Education
Contributor: Peter Gow
This session will help school leaders develop effective strategies and processes for ensuring that each new faculty hire—whether experienced or new to the profession—is prepared for success from the final interview through the first years of teaching in your school. New hires must be positioned for success not only in “doing their job” but as members of communities whose distinct cultures have evolved to bring forth meaningful student learning experiences. Session participants will explore approaches to recruiting and hiring that match their school’s specific aims and needs and be introduced to—and take away for their schools’ own use—adaptable templates for effective and personalized new teacher programming including handbooks, orientation sessions, and mentorship.
This session will be useful to anyone charged with recruiting, hiring, orienting, and/or mentoring new faculty.