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Fall Heads Meeting

Date: Monday - November 04, 2019
Time: All Day
Location: Hotel Murano, Tacoma (WA)
Save The Dates - November 4-5, 2019




Fall Heads Meeting

November 4-5, 2019

 Hotel Murano, Tacoma (WA)


Conference Resources

Program, Slide Decks and Handouts will be posted as they are received



Featuring Workshop with

Ross Wehner

Founder, World Leadership School and TeachUNITED




Clarifying Purpose

Ross is a teacher, social entrepreneur, and Founder of World Leadership School and the non-profit TeachUNITED, which partner with a range of K-12 schools to reimagine learning and create next-generation leaders. Ross is also a parent of two middle school kids and is part of a team working to launch a high school focused on purposeful, community-based learning in Boulder, CO. He is working on Deep and Bright, a book that explores how K-12 schools can help students explore, discover and articulate purpose.

Ross’ journey to understand purpose in life began in his early 20s when he quit a reporting job in Washington, D.C. and moved to South America, where he wrote about Chile’s Pinochet government for the San Francisco Chronicle. He went onto work in Peru during a chaotic decade of terrorism, cholera and hyperinflation. These experiences launched his career as a changemaker. He decided to stop reporting on problems, and instead start looking for solutions.


He returned to the United States to explore the possibilities of purpose-driven education. He worked as a teacher at two independent schools, including Bush School in Seattle, which emphasized experienced-based learning. He received a Master’s in Latin American literature. He led wilderness programs as an instructor for the National Outdoor Leadership School. These experiences gave him the experience to start World Leadership School, which today partners with 50 independent schools on global travel programs and teacher coaching. He also started TeachUNITED, a growing non-profit that partners with under-resourced rural schools in the United States, Tanzania and Costa Rica. Both organizations have shaped Ross’ views about how K-12 schools can create purpose-driven, world-connected students.




Monday, November 4, 2019

2:30-3:00        Meet and Greet: Heads New or Returning to NWAIS and The NWAIS Board

3:00-3:30        Fall Heads Meeting Registration

3:30-4:30        Welcome From Mark Crotty, Executive Director, NWAIS

4:30-6:00        NWAIS: Supporting Independent Schools in the Past, Present, and Future


We all acknowledge the demands and needs in our schools are changing. How has NWAIS supported schools well in the past? How can NWAIS support schools as in the future?  Greg Bamford, Associate Head of School at Charles Wright Academy and co-founder of Leadership+Design, will lead us through an exercise to identify needs, goals, and dreams for NWAIS as we enter the year with a new Executive Director.


6:00-8:30          Reception & Dinner                                                


Tuesday, November 5, 2019

7:45-9:00         Breakfast & Business Meeting

9:00-12:00        Purpose Clarification Workshop with Ross Wehner, Founder, World Leadership School and TeachUNITED

In independent schools across North America, the movement from memorizing content towards mastering skills is accelerating. But the highest bar of all is when schools create opportunities for students to use these skills to take meaningful action in the world. In so doing, students have the potential to explore and discover purpose. Simply put, purpose is a core of meaning inside a person that connects to actions on the outside. It can be as simple as taking care of a sibling or lighting up a room with humor. Purposeful kids are healthier, happier, manage stress better, and learn more deeply than students who are merely goal-driven. In my view, purpose in learning is the underlying shift that connects exciting new directions in learning, such as project-based learning (PBL), social and emotional learning (SEL), and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) work.

In this 3-hour workshop, we will review the theory and science behind youth purpose. We will see what purpose learning looks like in a range of schools around the nation. Most importantly, we will begin a process for helping school leaders clarify their own sense of purpose, so they can experience what this shift might feel like for teachers and students. Many leaders have a strong sense of purpose but few can articulate it in a compelling way, which is a lost opportunity to show up as an authentic leader who inspires trust. Teachers who can communicate their “why” in clear ways also create trusting, safe classroom spaces where students can express their own identities. “A teacher’s classroom may be the only space a child has to take the armor off his or her heart,” says Brené Brown. “Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation.”





Please pre-register for this event by October 16, 2019. You may register using the online registration portal or by calling 206-323-6137. You will not be charged at the time of registration. Attendees are billed subsequent to the event. See below for more detail.



Hotel Murano (Tacoma, WA)

A Forbes four-star rated hotel in downtown Tacoma located adjacent to the Tacoma convention center and steps from the city’s best museums and restaurants. With a world-class art collection, delicious cuisine, full service spa, and beautiful meeting rooms and event space, NWAIS encourages you to relax, spend the night, and enjoy this lovely location.

NWAIS has secured a special rate of $135.00 per night for single and double occupancy.

Please make your reservation by October 12, 2019

Reserve Your Room Online

Or Call Reservations at 253-591-4145 or 877-986-8083. Ask for “NWAIS Institutional Leadership and Fall Heads Group Rate” to ensure you receive the discounted room rate.   



NWAIS Events Are 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.


NWAIS Heads Meeting Policies

Annual Fall and Spring Heads Meetings are open only to schools affiliated with NWAIS.
All NWAIS Accredited and Candidate member schools are billed for a portion of the Heads Conference expenses whether or not the School Head attends. Travel expenses to and from the meeting are reimbursed, added to the meeting expenses, and shared among all accredited and candidate member schools. Hotel expenses are not covered by the Travel Share Policy. If the Head of School of an Accredited and Candidate member school cannot attend, they may send a representative in their place. 

Heads from Affiliate Members and Subscriber Schools will only be charged for the Heads Conference if they attend. They will be billed for a full share of the meeting expenses. They are however, responsible for their own travel expenses, and not responsible for any portion of the pooled travel expenses.


Heads Meeting Guests are asked to register in advance. Guests that are attending the program sessions will be billed after the event for the cost of the meals only. They are not responsible for the shared travel costs or program expenses. Spouses or other guests who do not attend programming will be billed after the conference and will only be charged for the meals, which they register to attend. Only one attendee from each Accredited and Candidate member school is eligible for any reimbursement of travel costs through the Travel Share program.


In the case that a guest of a Head of School is unable to attend, there is no cancellation fee until 4 days prior to the start of the meeting. After that point, all registrations are final, and guests will be billed regardless of attendance.



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Northwest Association of Independent Schools
5001 California Ave. SW, Suite 112
Seattle, Washington 98136
T: 206.323.6137 • info@nwais.org
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