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.

NWAIS Conferences, Workshops and Events

New Heads Institute

Date: Wednesday - July 29, 2020
Time: All Day
Location: Virtual or at NWAIS Offices (Seattle)
July 29 - 31, 2020



NWAIS New Heads Institute

July 29-31, 2020
NWAIS Offices (Seattle, Washington) or Virtually


Finance, Governance and Culture:

The Three-Legged Stool of School Leadership



Registration Is Now Open


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

Note on Meeting Remotely or In-Person: We are hoping to hold this small event in person this summer but are not sure yet if it will be feasible. We will update this page based on the latest policies and recommendations. Attendees will be able to choose to attend remotely. We appreciate your flexibility as we navigate this summer’s unknowns. Please note that the price has been significantly reduced over previous years and will remain the same for remote and in-person participation.

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 also invited  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.




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:

  • Provide 1:1 coaching to help you plan for a thoughtful transition and launch into your new headship
  • 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 and Content

Full Conference: 2:00pm, Wednesday, July 29 - 2:00pm on Friday, July 31, 2020.



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, departing Head of School, Charles Wright Academy and incoming Head of School at Wasatch Academy, Briel Schmitz, Head of School at Spruce Street School and Mark Crotty, Executive Director of NWAIS.  The faculty will be joined by NWAIS staff and board members, and other guest speakers including current heads of school.

Matt Culberson, Departing Head of School, Charles Wright Academy incoming Head of School, Wasatch Academy

Briel Schmitz, Head of School at Spruce Street School

Mark Crotty, Executive Director of NWAIS




NWAIS Attendees

Early Bird (By July 9, 2020) $625
Regular (By July 20, 2020) $695
Late (After July 20, 2020) $765

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

Non-NWAIS Attendees  - $925 (anytime)



Travel Reimbursement

Click here for travel share reimbursement form


Due to the small size of this event, we are not setting up a room block. If you would like assistance in setting up accommodations, please contact Casey Fredricksen at cfredricksen@nwais.org


Cancellation Policy
Substitutions may be made any time prior to the conference. Written cancellations received by July 22, 2020 are eligible for a refund after a $100 cancellation fee. Cancellations received after July 22, 2020 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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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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