SAIS Distinguished Service Award

Established 2012 in Memory of Dale Regan

This award is given by the SAIS Board of Trustees to a head of school or senior administrator in recognition of a long and distinguished career in independent education as well as service to SAIS. Recipients are recognized at the SAIS Annual Conference.

The creation of this award in 2012 was inspired by the life and work of Dale Regan, who devoted 34 years of her life to the Episcopal School of Jacksonville, and who, posthumously, was the award’s first recipient.


Rachel Deems
Spartanburg Day School – Spartanburg, SC

Award Presentation Video

Rachel Deems was named head of Spartanburg Day School in 2012. Under her leadership, the school reached its highest enrollment in almost 20 years and surpassed the strategic endowment goal. She previously served at two independent schools in Georgia: head of The Westfield School in Perry for four years and director of development at Stratford Academy in Macon for nine years. Prior to that, she served as chief administrative officer, assistant provost, and dean of students at Mercer University and director of alumnae affairs and vice president at Judson College.

Rachel has volunteered for the Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra, United Way of the Piedmont, Globalbike, the Rotary Club, and the Spartanburg Regional Hospital System. She also formerly served as a board member of both GISA and SAIS.

A native Alabamian, Rachel holds a B.A. from Judson College and an M.A. from The University of Alabama.

Jack Hall
CarterBaldwin Executive Search – Atlanta, GA

Award Presentation Video

Jack Hall served as head of The Walker School in Atlanta from 2011-2022, overseeing the school’s largest capital campaign and spearheading the New Avenues Immersive Dyslexia Program. He previously served as head of Augusta Preparatory Day School for 12 years. Prior to that, he was a teacher, coach, and administrator at The Westminster Schools in Atlanta for 11 years, founding upper school head at The Out-of-Door Academy in Sarasota, and the director of admission & financial aid at MICDS in St. Louis. In July 2022, he joined CarterBaldwin Executive Search.

A native Atlantan, Jack is an avid Braves fan and a dedicated Sunday School teacher who has also served on and chaired the boards of both GISA and The Stony Brook School as well as serving as a facilitator for the SAIS Institute for New Heads.

Jack holds a B.A. in theatre from Davidson College, an M.S. in athletic administration from Georgia State University, and an M.A. in education administration from Columbia University, where he was a Klingenstein Fellow. 


Marifred Cilella
The Howard School – Atlanta, GA
Award presentation video

Mark Reed
John M. Belk Endowment – Charlotte, NC
Charlotte Country Day School – Charlotte, NC (2009-2021)

Award presentation video


Jill Muti
Ashley Hall – Charleston, SC
Award presentation video

Marcia Prewitt Spiller
Woodward Academy – Atlanta, GA
Award presentation video


Sandra Adams
Summit School – Winston-Salem, NC (1990-2008)
Award presentation video

Bob Shirley
Heathwood Hall Episcopal School – Columbia, SC (1978-2000)
Award presentation video

Kirk Walker
McCallie School – Chattanooga, TN (1999-2014) and SAIS President (2015-2019)
Award presentation video


Sarah Whiteside
Altamont School – Birmingham, AL (2007-2017)
Award presentation video


Pat Taylor
Jackson Academy – Jackson, MS (2007-2017)
Award presentation video


Marvin Lishman
Magnolia Heights School – Senatobia, MS (1981-present)

Ned Fox
Charlotte Latin School – Charlotte, NC (1976-2001)


J. Robert Chambers
Athens Academy – Athens, GA (1983-2013)

J. Peter Jernberg
Jackson Academy – Jackson, MS (1988-2014)

William W. Jablon
Maclay School – Tallahassee, FL (1976-2014)


Dale Regan
Episcopal School of Jacksonville – Jacksonville, FL (2007-2012)