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

Fall Heads Meeting

Date: Monday - November 09, 2020
Location: Virtual Conference
November 9 (1-3pm) & November 10 (9-12pm)


Virtual Fall Heads Meeting

November 9, 2020 (1-3pm) & November 10, 2020 (9-12pm)


Register Here


Meeting Agenda

Monday - November 9, 2020

8:30am-12:00pm           Board Meeting

1:00pm-3:00pm             Fall Heads Meeting Day 1

         1:00-1:15 - Welcome

         1:15-1:45 - John Inazu - keynote address - Confident Pluralism

         1:45-2:30 - Interactive, expanded Q&A on “confident pluralism” and how independent school communities can utilize patience, humility, and tolerance to move beyond divisions and stay focused on the public good.                                  

         2:30-3:00 - Wrap up


Tuesday  November 10, 2020

9:00am-12:00pm            Fall Heads Meeting Day 2

         9:00am-10:15 am           NWAIS Association Business Meeting

        10:30am-12:00pm          Interactive Workshop: Sustaining Faculty Morale and Energy in a Time of Uncertainty with Michael Thompson and Rob Evans


Keynote Speaker: John Inazu

Law professor and author John Inazu will set out the framework for “confident pluralism”: the legal approaches and civic practices that we need to live well with each other despite deep differences about the things that matter most.  Inazu will make the case for three civic aspirations of tolerance, humility, and patience, and explore why educational institutions are important to achieving these aspirations.  This session will also invite questions about thinking about confident pluralism in light of current events, including protests, civic unrest, racial injustice, social media, and national politics.

John is the Sally D. Danforth Distinguished Professor of Law and Religion at Washington University in St. Louis. He teaches criminal law, law and religion, and various First Amendment seminars. His scholarship focuses on the First Amendment freedoms of speech, assembly, and religion, as well as related questions of legal and political theory. He is the author of Liberty’s Refuge: The Forgotten Freedom of Assembly and Confident Pluralism: Surviving and Thriving Through Deep Difference. John has written broadly for mainstream audiences in publications including USA TodayThe Los Angeles Times, and The Washington Post.

John holds B.S.E. and J.D. degrees from Duke University and a Ph.D. in political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He clerked for Judge Roger L. Wollman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit and served for four years as an associate general counsel with the Department of the Air Force at the Pentagon.



Workshop Speakers: Michael Thomson and Rob Evans


Sustaining Faculty Morale and Energy in a Time of Uncertainty

The Covid-19 pandemic requires that schools operate in something like wartime conditions into an uncertain future. How can heads of school help teachers sustain the effort and spirit required? Rob Evans and Michael Thompson will outline ways to find the right balance between support and challenge, empathy and expectations.  


Robert Evans, Ph.D.

Rob Evans, clinical and organizational psychologist

Robert Evans is a clinical and organizational psychologist and the Executive Director of The Human Relations Service in Wellesley, Massachusetts. A former high school and pre-school teacher, and for many years a child and family therapist, he has consulted in more than 1,700 schools throughout the U.S. and internationally, working with teachers, administrators, and boards, and speaks widely at educational conferences.

Rob received his undergraduate degree from Princeton and his doctorate from Harvard. His interests have focussed on change and resistance to it in schools and organizations, on the challenges of leading innovation, and on changes in American families and their impact on schools. He is currently concentrating on ways to improve collegiality and candor among educators and to promote realistic dialogue about accountability.

He is the author of many articles and three books: Seven Secrets of The Savvy School Leader, The Human Side of School Change, and Family Matters: How Schools Can Cope with The Crisis in Childrearing.



Michael G. Thompson, Ph.D.

Michael G. Thompson, Ph.D. is a consultant, author and psychologist specializing in children and families. He is the supervising psychologist for the Belmont Hill School and has worked in more than seven hundred schools across the United States, as well as in international schools in Central America, Europe, Africa and Asia.

He and his co-author, Dan Kindlon, wrote the New York Times best-selling book, Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys (Ballantine Books, 1999). He is the author of Speaking of Boys: Answers to the Most-Asked Questions about Raising Sons (Ballantine, 2000), and co-author (with Catherine O’Neill Grace and Larry Cohen, Ph.D.) of Best Friends/Worst Enemies: Understanding the Social Lives of Children (Ballantine, 2001) and Mom, They’re Teasing Me: Helping Your Child Solve Social Problems (Ballantine, 2002.) About Best Friends, Worst Enemies the Publishers Weekly review declared, “Not since Dr. Spock and Penelope Leach has there been such a sensitive and practical guide to raising healthy children.” The Pressured Child: Helping Your Child Achieve Success in School and in Life (with Teresa Barker, Ballantine, 2004) was written to help parents understand the complex journey of children through school, from Kindergarten through senior year. His third book on the psychology of boys, entitled, It’s a Boy!: Understanding Your Son’s Development from Birth to Eighteen, was published in 2008. It focuses on the importance of undirected, free play in the lives of boys. Dr. Thompson’s newest book, Homesick and Happy: How Time Away From Parents Can Help a Child Grow, was published by Ballantine Books in May of 2012.

A dedicated speaker and traveler, Michael Thompson has appeared on The Today Show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, ABC 20/20, CBS 60 Minutes, The Early Show and Good Morning America. He has been quoted in the New York Times, The Washington Post, Newsweek, Time and U.S. News and World Report and has been a guest on NPR’s “Morning Edition” with Susan Stamberg, “Talk of the Nation” with Ray Suarez and the Diane Rhem Show. He wrote, narrated and hosted a two-hour PBS documentary entitled “Raising Cain” that was broadcast nationally in 2006.



Please pre-register for this event by November 2, 2020. 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. Due to the virtual program, the cost of meeting should be significantly reduced over previous years. See below for more detail.


Register Here


NWAIS Heads Meeting Policies

Fall Heads Meeting Billing Policy

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.


Note for 2020: In a virtual format the above policies are in place, but with no travel expenses the effective result is:

  • The total program expenses will be divided by all accredited and candidate schools, and any other member schools who register to attend.
  • Schools will be invoiced after the event
  • The cost will be significantly reduced and estimated to be about $85


Heads Meeting Guest Policy (for reference): 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.


Note for 2020: This year we ask that schools to limit guests and send just one delegate from each school. If the Head of School is unable to attend, they may register someone in their place.




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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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