Tap Dancing on Marbles:
Leadership, Governance, and Stewardship

This interactive session for heads and trustees will unpack how leadership, governance, financial sustainability, and organizational stewardship intersect. At the core of this work is mission-driven, data-informed decision making. Schools have always been complex organizations requiring deft guidance and careful oversight. However, the pandemic created conditions that even the most seasoned school leaders and trustees could never have imagined.

Emerging from a period of economic disruption, political polarization, and racial reckoning, the independent school landscape has shifted dramatically over the last 18 months. During this time, many schools focused on short term objectives in order to address the daily fires on their doorstep. Now, school leaders and trustees must balance the need for long-term planning to ensure school sustainability while also caring for an exhausted and frayed community. For many, this feels like tap dancing on marbles.

We will explore how to practically apply these concepts through the use of case studies, simulations, and group discussions. Participants will learn how to leverage effective leadership and governance strategies, such as change management and organizational savvy, to support their schools during this critical time of disruption.


Anne-Marie Balzano
Senior Governance Strategist, Mission & Data 

Ari Betof 
Co-Founder & Partner, Mission & Data


SAIS Member School PersonnelNon-Member School Personnel
Through September 3$175 per person$219 per person
September 4-October 1$225 per person$269 per person
After October 1$325 per person$369 per person


  • Group rate: $162
  • Cut-off date: Friday, September 24, or when the block is full.
  • Parking: SAIS attendees receive 50% off Crowne Plaza Ravinia’s self-parking rates
  • Group rate offered three days pre/post based on availability.

NOTE: SAIS does not utilize the services of a housing vendor for any events. Neither SAIS nor the hotel will call you to make reservations over the phone. Please use the above hotel link to secure your reservation directly with the Crowne Plaza Ravinia.

COVID Safety Guidelines

Providing a safe environment for learning is top priority. We must all work together to achieve this. As of September 1, the number of attendees is being limited to make sure that we can provide adequate distancing and spacing in the meeting rooms.

We want to keep you safe and healthy. All participants will be asked to:

  • Wear a mask throughout the workshop except while eating/drinking.
  • Do not travel or attend if you feel sick or if you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19.
  • Be fully vaccinated according to CDC guidelines or submit a negative PCR test administered within 72 hours of arrival at the conference.
  • Complete a declaration of COVID-19 vaccination as soon as possible.

We understand everyone has varying comfort levels and personal situations that may lead to different decisions at this time. If you are unable to comply with the above requirements, we will be happy to refund your registration fee or discuss other accommodations. Please complete this form as soon as possible to let us know your circumstances.

A few other things to know about conference logistics and protocols:

  • Hand sanitizer and masks will be available.
  • There will be extra space in front of the podiums so speakers can be unmasked.
  • We know you will be exuberantly happy to see each other, but please try to replace hugging and shaking hands with elbow bumps and friendly waves!
  • Seating will be spaced for social distancing.

As COVID-19 guidelines continue to shift, we will monitor the numbers and adjust accordingly. Thank you for your flexibility and understanding as we navigate returning to the in-person events that are so important to the fabric of the SAIS community. If you have any questions, please email lori@sais.org.

Acknowledgement of Risk and Safety Procedures

Participation in SAIS events signifies an attendee’s acknowledgement of infectious and other diseases and voluntary assumption of the risk of exposure or infection by attending the event. Attendees agree to comply with all guidelines and procedures, including distancing and/or masking, that may be implemented by SAIS, in accordance with recommendations from the CDC and other public health authorities.

Cancellation Policy

Cancellations received before October 7 via this form will be refunded less a 20% processing fee. After that date refunds are no longer available, but replacement registrants are welcomed. In the event that SAIS cancels the event, attendees will be notified and the cost of registration will be refunded via the original payment method. 

Consent to Use of Photographic and Video Images

Registration, attendance at, or participation in SAIS meetings and other activities constitutes an agreement by the registrant to SAIS’s use and distribution (both now and in the future) of the registrant or attendee’s image or voice in photographs, videos, electronic reproductions, and audio of such events and activities.

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