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

Spring Heads Meeting

Date: Monday - May 03, 2021
Location: Virtual Meeting
May 3-4, 2021

Spring Heads Meeting

Monday, May 3, 2021 (1:00pm-5:00pm PST)

Tuesday May 4, 2021 (9:00am-12:15 PST)



Program Update:

This program has been moved online, the agenda tightened up, the cost reduced and the content tweaked to reflect the current situation. Please note the following changes:

    • We will not be meeting on Sunday, May 2, 2021
    • The NWAIS Board Meeting will be moved to May 3, 9:00am-12:00pm PST
    • Monday's program will conclude at 5:00pm PST
We hope you will join us and your colleagues from across the association for this important annual touchstone.



Join Heads of School from across the Association for a virtual meeting to debrief the year, explore our current state, and look forward to what is next. Don't miss this opportunity to connect with those who share the unique journey of independent school headship.



Tentative Meeting Agenda

PRE-CONFERENCE - NWAIS Board Meeting Monday, May 3, 2021 from 9:00-12:00pm PST 


Monday, May 3, 2021






  Both/And for Sustainable Schools and Resilient Communities

  with Lindsay Burr, CEO, The Yarbrough Group





The Evolution of the Commitment to Care Standard





Tuesday, May 4, 2021



NWAIS Association Business Meeting





  Building Back Better: Community Wellbeing as a Matter of Survival
  with Jennifer Bryan, Ph.D., Founder and Principal, Re-Set School


Stretch Break


Fellowship Report: The Evolution of Public Purpose, A Tool-Kit for School-Based Reflection and Growth





Featured Sessions

Both/And for Sustainable Schools and Resilient Communities

In this unprecedented time we are all in the middle of multiple tensions.  As heads of independent schools, should we focus on trying to get into the classroom OR virtual teaching? Should we consider the bottom line OR mission of our school? Should we focus on immediate, short term needs to get us through pressing issues of the day OR focus on strategic, long term planning for the future? Should we focus on direction from our boards or the interests of the parents? Given the speed of change, should we bother with stability OR just go all out for change and innovation?

As individuals, should we focus on ourselves or others? On getting things done or rest? On our contributions or personal development.

The answer to these questions, of course, is, “YES.”

These questions are a few of the issues with which we struggle every day and have been exacerbated with the pandemic. They are called polarities. They are composed of two important demands BOTH of which require attention for individuals, families, communities and organizations to thrive.  Since the demands of both poles (e.g. Stability AND Change) are interdependent, choosing one of them and neglecting the other is unsustainable, a waste of time, money, and energy. 

In this interactive session, Lindsay Burr, CEO of the Yarbrough Group and graduate of a Colorado Independent School, will lead us through an overview of polarities and personal and professional applications that will help us all navigate the unusual times we currently face and build resilience for the future.


Building Back Better: Community Wellbeing as a Matter of Survival

While excellence in academics has always been central to the value proposition of private education, in recent years PreK-12 schools have increasingly found themselves as stewards of students’ social, mental and physical wellbeing. (Wilson and Marshall, Independent School, 2019) A growing emphasis on building relational competence and emotional resilience has prompted schools to review health curricula, student life programming, and equity and inclusion work. Then Covid-19 arrived, forcing us to address the wellbeing of all community members. Community wellness quickly became not only a priority, but a matter of survival. In this session we will explore the wellness lessons learned during the pandemic and consider the place of student and adult wellbeing as we envision the future of NWAIS schools.

Learn More About Our Speakers Here

More Program Information To Be Added Soon!

Registration and Payment

No payment is required to NWAIS at the time of registration. Your school will be billed after the event. Please register as soon as you know that you will be attending.




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.


NWAIS is going paperless.
All program materials will be provided electronically.


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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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