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

Business Officers Conference

Date: Monday - April 26, 2021
Time: All Day
Location: Two-Day Virtual Conference
April 26 & 27, 2020


NWAIS Business Officers Conference

April 26, 2021 (9:00-3:30pm PST) &

April 27, 2021 (9:00-12:15pm PST)

Building from 2020 – Applying What We Learned for A Stronger Future.


Who Should Attend?

Independent School Business Managers and Their Colleagues.


Conference Overview

Each year NWAIS hosts a dynamic conference which is an opportunity to gather with colleagues and engage with content around school finance and operations. This year the conference will be held virtually. In the light of this change, we have moved it from three to two-days and shortened up the hours. Participants will engage in sessions around the economic and legal landscape and the changing role of leadership in a post-pandemic world as well as have an opportunity to connect with colleagues from across the region.


One Day or Two

Attendees can register for one or two days of the conference. Attendees will have access to recordings for the days they are registered. A two-day registration also entitles you to the "plus one" registration.


Sessions Will Be Recorded

All of the conference sessions will be recorded and available for 2 weeks after the conference conclusion. If you would like access to a specific recording make sure you are registered for that day of programming. 




Bring a Plus One! For this year only – each full conference registration comes with a “plus one”. Registrants can have a colleague from your school join you for all or part of the conference. This is a great way to share the learning, cultivate emerging leaders and build connection with colleagues



Virtual Conference Agenda

Monday April 26, 2021


9:00-9:45                   Welcome and Reconnect

10:00-12:00               From Survival to Prosperity: Two Economists Discuss Life After the Pandemic

As the American economy entered 2020, it was extending the longest expansion in modern economic history. However, this progress was truncated by a global pandemic that pushed the economy into recession by March 2020.

In the session, seasoned economists Ben Scafidi and Roger Tutterow review the pre-Covid 19 economic climate, consider plausible scenarios for recovery, likely policy responses, successful handling of Covid as a source of strategic advantage and suggests best practices for managing our way through the current health and economic crisis. The session includes suggestions on how independent schools should “audit” themselves for the upcoming challenges and allows for an interactive discussion of best practices. Together we will consider what changes form this year of disruption will be become permanent and what smart leaders learned from 2020.


Benjamin Scafidi, Ph.D.

Ben Scafidi is a professor of economics and director of the Education Economics Center at Kennesaw State University. He is also a Friedman Fellow with EdChoice and a senior fellow with the Georgia Public Policy Foundation. Previously, he served as the director of education policy for the Georgia GOAL Scholarship Program, the first chair of the state of Georgia’s Charter Schools Commission, as a member of Georgia’s Charter Advisory Committee, the Education Policy Advisor to Governor Sonny Perdue, on the staff of both of Governor Roy Barnes’ Education Reform Study Commissions, and as an expert witness for the state of Georgia in school funding litigation. He received his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Virginia and his bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Notre Dame.


Roger Tutterow, Ph.D.

Roger Tutterow is Professor of Economics at Kennesaw State University. In addition, he serves as Director of the Econometric Center, an applied research center housed in KSU’s Coles College of Business. His analysis of the economic, business and political environments have been featured in a variety of media including Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Business Week, Forbes, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, New York Times and on CNN, CNBC, NBC, Bloomberg Television, NPR’s “Marketplace” and “All Things Considered,” and CNN-Radio. In addition to his work in academia, Dr. Tutterow has served as a consultant on financial economics and statistical modeling for Fortune 500 companies. He has provided expert testimony on economic, financial and statistical matters in state and federal courts and legislatures. Dr. Tutterow holds a B.S. in Decision Science from Berry College and a M.A. and Ph.D. in Economics from Georgia State University. Prior to joining Kennesaw State University, Dr. Tutterow held faculty and administrative appointments at West Virginia University, Georgia State University and Mercer University. He has also served as a visiting professor at the University of the West Indies in Trinidad and at the Institute for Industrial Policy Studies in Seoul, South Korea.


12:00-1:00                Lunch Break

1:00-3:15                   Legal Panel: Flattening the Contract Learning Curve


As we navigate the “new normal,” it’s an ideal time to review your contracts and make sure they reflect the current best practices for independent schools and offer appropriate legal protection. Come listen to a panel of school attorneys who regularly advise on the legal implications of your agreements, as they cover the following topics:

  • What are the basic principles of a contract, and the legal implications of your agreements?
  • What should always – or never – be included in your contracts?
  • How to do you build in flexibility in case you need to change your normal operations (and, for example, pivot to remote learning)?
  • What are the recent trends in enrollment contracts?
  • What should be in an employee contract? 
  • When negotiating with third parties, what terms are legal landmines for a school that you should watch out for when they send their contract to you to sign?   

Mike Porter (Miller Nash), Joy Ellis (Foster Garvey), and Grace Lee (Venable LLP) will host a lively presentation and answer your questions about contracts and how to set up your school for legal success. Join us! 


Joy Ellis, Foster Garvey PC


 Grace Lee, Venable LLP


Michael Porter, P.C., Miller Nash Graham & Dunn LLP, Partner




Tuesday April 27, 2021

9:00-9:15                   Welcome Back

9:15-10:00                 The Future of Leadership with Mark Saine Senior Director, Client Engagement and National Advocacy, TIAA

The disruptive forces that are changing education necessitate a new way of thinking about and approaching leadership. The talent that will lead in the future also demand an intentional approach to leadership making an institution's practice of leadership a key differentiator in your employee value proposition.  Many of the ways people are taught to lead (if they are taught at all) were developed on the factory floor of the early 1900s and are woefully out of date. This session explores the capabilities that leaders need to effectively guide the organization in the evermore complex, ambiguous future environment.

Mark Saine is the Senior Director of Client Leadership Solutions at TIAA. Mark supports our clients by helping them to build leaders internally that are prepared to take on increasingly complex roles and to manage the demands of a rapidly changing environment. He provides leadership development services including workshops, retreats, consultation and coaching. He has worked for TIAA for 20 years and he holds a bachelor’s degree from Anderson University (Indiana), a master’s in student personnel from Ball State University (Indiana), and a master’s in organizational psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University (New York).


10:15-12:15               HR Legal and Policy Update With Karen A. Kalzer, Helsell Fetterman LLP and NWAIS Legal Counsel

After a year of manning the “bat phone” from home, Karen will talk about the top legal issues we have dealt with, and expectations for next year.  We will review some of the most common legal situations that have arisen and how living and operating through the pandemic may have changed things, such as reasonable accommodations expectations, vaccinations, and mental/emotional health.  We will also talk about the Biden administration and state level changes we can anticipate.

Ms. Kalzer practices employment and education law with an emphasis on defending complex litigation for communities of faith, non-profits, schools and private employers. She has handled and successfully resolved over 300 claims of employee misconduct by combining tough incisive legal tactics with an empathetic litigation approach and compassionate communication skills. Her practice requires targeted experience in areas of privacy rights, Constitutional issues, mental health, and human development.


Ms. Gilliam’s practice focuses primarily on defending private and public entities, including school districts, in a wide range of civil litigation matters pending in state and federal courts and before administrative agencies, with an emphasis on employment-based and negligence claims.She has practiced in Washington for the past seven years following a move from the island of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, where her practice extended to all aspects of civil litigation before the Federal District and Territorial Courts in defense of corporate clients in varying tort and employment matters.





NWAIS Attendees

Full Conference, Two Day Registration (comes with a +1)

Early Bird: $225 if registration is completed by March 31, 2021

Regular: $255 if registration is completed after March 31, 2021

Non-Member: $295 (anytime)


Single Day Registration (Either Day)

Early Bird: $175 if registration is completed by March 31, 2021

Regular: $195 if registration is completed after March 31, 2021

Non-Member: $235 (anytime)


Updated Bill School Option: Easiest way to register! Member schools are encouraged to "bill your school". This will simplify your process and minimize transactions. Your registration date will now be calculated as the date you complete your online registration, rather than the date that payment is collected.


Non-NWAIS Attendees (anytime): $295



Bring a Plus One: Share the Learning, Cultivate Emerging Leaders and Build Connection with Colleagues. For this year only – each full conference registration comes with a “plus one”. Registrants can have a colleague from your school join you for all or part of the conference.



TO RECEIVE THE REGISTRATION DISCOUNT: Your registration must be complete by the appropriate deadline.

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 April 19, 2021 are eligible for a refund after a $50 cancellation fee. Cancellations received after April 19, 2021 are ineligible for any refund.


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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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