We are committed to...
  • encouraging diverse points of view.
  • continuous reflection and on-going improvement.
  • collegial relationships and ethical leadership.
  • independent education options for families.
  • promoting the independence of our schools.
  • quality standards without standardization.
  • assisting schools in fulfilling their missions.

New Heads Institute

Date: Wednesday - July 31, 2019
Time: All Day
Location: Talaris Conference Center
July 31 - August 2, 2019



NWAIS New Heads Institute

July 31-August 2, 2019
Talaris Conference Center, Seattle, Washington


Finance, Governance and Culture:

The Three-Legged Stool of School Leadership


The NHI gave me both the tools and the confidence to start my school year off with vision and strategies. It was immensely powerful to connect with such a diverse, passionate and talented group of leaders. I left the conference feeling excited about my new role rather than nervous about all of the things I still have left to learn.

– Past Attendee


Attending this conference is a must for new heads, whether you are brand new to the position or new to the region. It's a great opportunity to learn some new things, confirm some existing ideas, and to form connections with other HOS's in the association prior to the Fall Head's Conference.

– Past Attendee

Who Should Attend?

New and newer Heads of School should attend.  The program will be built around those that are stepping into their roles this year or last year.  This is an intimate event, and generally has fewer than 10 attendees, providing an opportunity to build strong relationships with new colleagues.

Experienced Heads of School who are new to the Association or starting at a new school, are invited to attend for Thursday afternoon through Friday morning to build relationships within the Association, learn about the many benefits of membership, sit in on valuable sessions, and take some time for planning as you too, embark on new phase of your leadership journey.



Planning to Attend the NAIS Institute For New Heads?

These two programs are wonderful complements to each other.  One recommendation would be to attend the NWAIS institute in the summer you take on your role and the NAIS Institute once you have completed year one, or do both in the first year.  If you would like to hear more about the right order and fit for you, please call and discuss the opportunities with Emily McGrath, Associate Director.


Already An Experienced Head But New To NWAIS?

Join us for the abbreviated institute for more experienced heads stepping into new roles. Experienced Heads of School, stepping into a new role are encouraged to attend an abbreviated Institute from 12:00 Thursday, July 31 through 2:00pm August 2, 2019. The receptions, dinner and breakfast are included in the cost of registration. Participants will be able to benefit from time set aside for discussion and reflection and come away prepared, focused, and inspired to begin this new chapter in their career. 

Current NWAIS Head of School?

Welcome your new colleagues for a reception and dinner at Talaris Conference Center on August 1, 2019 from 5:00-7:00pm.


This was invaluable time spent with colleagues and mentors. The return on my time and money spent for this Institute is incalculable.

- Past Attendee



Session Programming Will:

  • Help you prepare for your entry into this new, more challenging position.
  • Match and manage a new school culture.
  • Understand regional and cultural dynamics in the Northwest.
  • Hear “lessons learned” from veteran heads on building trust and developing strong working relationships with all constituencies. 
  • Discuss how to work with your board on moving your school forward.
  • Provide a variety of useful strategies and tools to help you enhance the success of your first year, including crafting your entry plan for your new role.
  • Develop an understanding of the variety of outside resources available to help you and your school.
  • Connect you with other Heads of School and your association


Coming from the public school setting, the New Heads Institute provided me with insightful knowledge and valuable activities to help me transition to my new role as Head of School.

  – Past Attendee



Conference Format

Full Conference

Wednesday, July 31

2:00-5:30pm      Conference Programming

6:00pm              Dinner

Thursday, August 1

         8:00am              Breakfast

         9:00-5:00pm      Conference Programming

         5:00-7:00pm      Reception and Dinner with NWAIS Heads of School

Friday, August 2

         8:00am              Breakfast        

         9:00-2:00pm      Conference Programming

         2:00pm              Conference Conclusion


Abbreviated Conference: 12:00pm, Thursday, August 1 - 2:00pm on August 2, 2019



Attending this workshop is a fantastic way to begin your new headship. You will emerge with more confidence, a set of colleagues that you can draw upon for support, and a well-vetted plan to implement in your school. This is time well spent!

– Past Attendee




The program will be led by Matt Culberson, Head of School, Charles Wright Academy, Briel Schmitz, Head of School at Spruce Street School and Mark Crotty, Incoming Executive Director of NWAIS.  The faculty will be joined by NWAIS staff and board members, and other guest speakers including current heads of school. Heads of school from across the association will be invited to attend the reception to welcome heads new to the association.

Matt Culberson, Head of School, Charles Wright Academy

Briel Schmitz, Head of School at Spruce Street School

Mark Crotty, Incoming Executive Director of NWAIS




NWAIS Attendees

Early Bird (By July 3, 2019) $1150
Regular (By July 18, 2019) $1250
Late (After July 18, 2019) $1325

Experienced, New Heads of School, abbreviated Institute: $300

NWAIS Schools are also eligible to take advantage of additional savings through the NWAIS travel share program. See travel reimbursement below.

Non-NWAIS Attendees $1495

Registration is Now Open





Attendees can stay onsite at Talaris Conference Center reservations should be made with them directly. Please call (206) 268 - 7000 to make your room reservations.  We have secured a group rate of $159 per night, but are based on availability at the time of reservation. Talaris is a conference center and does not have amenities like a restaurant onsite, although University Village, an outdoor mall is just four blocks away and neighborhood restaurants, cafes and jogging trails are within walking distance. Talaris' 18 acres of park-like beauty provides a quiet oasis in the city.

If you are interested in a more full service hotel, The Silver Cloud, University District (5036 25th Avenue NE, Seattle, WA 98105) is very nearby and offers a complimentary shuttle. Conveniently located just one mile from the heart of the bustling University of Washington main campus and the renown Seattle Children’s Hospital, the Silver Cloud Hotel Seattle – University District is only two blocks away from the award winning, upscale University Village shopping center, which features many fine restaurants and unique shops.  

Your registration must be complete and payment must be postmarked or received by the appropriate deadline to be eligible for the early bird discount.

• For online registrations with payment by check, payment must be postmarked by deadline date.

• Online registrations paid by credit card must be completed by 11:59pm on the deadline date.



Cancellation Policy
Substitutions may be made any time prior to the conference. Written cancellations received by July 24, 2019 are eligible for a refund after a $100 cancellation fee. Cancellations received after July 24, 2019 are ineligible for any refund.



NWAIS Is Going Paperless.
All program materials will be provided electronically.

If there are pre-event materials, they will be sent to you via email about a week prior to the event. Please bring a internet connected device, download the materials in advance or print out the digital materials and bring them with you. We will not have hard-copy packets for attendees on-site.



Attendees Will Be Eligible For Clock Hours And / Or STARS Credits

Attendees from NWAIS member schools receive clock hours and STARS free of charge. For those not affiliated with a member school, there is a $10 processing fee for Clock Hours and for STARS Credits. The original clock hours form or your STARS certificate will be mailed back to you for your records. If you need to petition another agency for credits or you would like a certificate for your files, NWAIS is happy to provide one upon request at no charge.



NWAIS May Help Cover Travel Costs

The NWAIS travel reimbursement policy is designed to reimburse candidate and accredited member schools for some travel costs. This policy applies to a school’s total travel expenses (not the cost of rooms and meals), no matter how many people the school sends to the workshop. If your school spends more than $150 dollars on travel for this event and is traveling a distance greater than 250 miles you will be reimbursed a percentage of your expenses. Click here for more details

Click here for travel share reimbursement form



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T: 206.323.6137 • info@nwais.org
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