A Letter From Incoming SAIS President Dr. Brett Jacobsen

September 28, 2023

Dear SAIS Community, 

Many years ago, I attended the first SAIS Institute for New Heads, led by Kirk Walker and Billy Peebles. As a product of this incredible organization, I owe a great deal to the educational leaders who have mentored and invested in me throughout my 28-year career. Today, I am deeply honored and humbled to accept the appointment to become the next president of SAIS. The overwhelming opportunity to give back to impact a generation of leaders is a high calling with extraordinary responsibility. 

I want to express my gratitude to SAIS Board Chair Jackie Westerfield, the Search Committee, and the SAIS Board of Trustees. Stewarding a thorough, thoughtful, and rigorous search process, they represented the association well. To Lori Spear, acting president, and the entire SAIS team, thank you for setting the conditions for educators to learn, grow, and flourish. I am excited about our partnership. Also, I would like to convey my indebtedness to Debra Wilson. Walking onto the scene of SAIS in 2019, no one could have predicted the wisdom and guidance that would be needed during a global pandemic. Her leadership took SAIS to new heights, and we are inspired to build on her achievements in the years ahead. Most importantly, I want to thank my family — Adrienne, Cate (‘24), and Claire (‘26), for allowing me to transition from serving one school community to supporting hundreds throughout the United States. 

From Coronado to Charleston, Meridian to Miami, Redmond to Richmond, the nearly 400 elementary and secondary schools throughout our vast association paint a beautiful picture of local communities all committed to continuous improvement through accreditation, professional development, and visionary leadership. United by our common goals, we remain devoted to the values of independent governance and respect for differences of member schools across 16 states, Latin America, and the Caribbean. 

When my tenure begins next July, I will be traveling across the association to learn of the reality of your respective hopes, needs, questions, and wonders and how SAIS can continue to support and add value to your unique mission and vision. In the meantime, I look forward to engaging with you in the coming weeks and months through virtual calls as well as seeing many of you at the SAIS Annual Conference and a variety of programs scheduled for 2024.

Eagerly anticipating the opportunity to join you on this purpose-driven adventure,

Dr. Brett Jacobsen
SAIS President-Elect