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  • encouraging diverse points of view.
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  • collegial relationships and ethical leadership.
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  • quality standards without standardization.
  • assisting schools in fulfilling their missions.

NWAIS Conferences, Workshops and Events

Leadership Institute

Date: Monday - June 22, 2020
Time: All Day
Location: Sleeping Lady Resort (Leavenworth, WA)
Moved Online - June 22-24, 2020


2020 NWAIS Leadership Institute

June 22-24, 2020

Program Update:

This program has been moved online, the agenda tightened up, the price significantly reduced and the content tweaked to reflect the current situation.

If travel or price were a barrier in the past, don't miss this opportunity to join your NWAIS colleagues for this impactful program for school leaders.

Featured Workshops:

Mapping Your Inclusive Leadership Ecosystem with Kisha Palmer


The Power of Purpose-Driven Leadership with Ross Wehner



Online Conference Overview

In the light of the current health crisis, NWAIS is excited to bring the Leadership Institute to you via remote learning.

The program will incorporate interactive presentations from our guest facilitators, small group activities and chances to connect with other attendees. There will be structured sessions to share our learning from this year as we start to look forward together. In addition, evening sessions will provide opportunities to laugh and connect with your association colleagues.

Based on the new structure of the event, we are able to drop the cost by more than 50%, making the event accessible to a broad range of attendees. Many attendees make this an annual part of their professional development. If you have thought about attending in the past, this would be a great year to try out the program and then join us in person, in future years, at the lovely Sleeping Lady Resort.



Who Should Attend

Assistant Heads, Division Heads, Deans, and those in and aspiring to Educational and Administrative Leadership Roles.

Why Attend The Leadership Institute 

This program is created by your peers in NWAIS leadership roles to support the work of experienced and aspiring leaders. The program includes time to reflect on the year's successes and challenges, build a new skill set and consider how it will be relevant in the coming year. Attendees have found it valuable to attend on their own or in cohorts from their school. The two facilitators, Kisha Palmer and Ross Wehner, have retooled their presentations to specifically address the tremendous shift school leaders are making now.


What Is Included In the Online Program?

  • Three, Half-Day Synchronous, Interactive Sessions (including two interactive workshops, two discussion-based breakout sessions and two fun and informal evening programs)

  • Small Group Activities and Connection Points

  • Individual or Small Group Coaching Sessions with Our Conference Facilitators

  • Informal Time to Connect with Colleagues



This event will mirror the in-person experience and will be primarily synchronous and take place the same days as the in-person event. The mornings will be filled with engaging and interactive programming. The afternoons will be free for personal reflection, short small group or individual coaching sessions and all the other things that need to be done while we are all working remotely. Attendees will reconvene for a brief group discussion at the end of the day and are invited to stay for a fun-filled, informal gathering time in the early evening.

Afternoons will be free. Within the free time, there will be an option to sign-up for short, small-group or individual coaching sessions with facilitators.

More Detailed Information About Individual Sessions Can Be Found Below 


June 22, 2020


9:00-9:15 Welcome & Orientation
9:15-10:00 Job-Alike Table Groups
10:15-12:00 Mapping Your Inclusive Leadership Ecosystem with Kisha Palmer, Founder, Institute for Inclusive Leadership

Afternoons Free.


* Small Group or Individual Coaching Session / Office Hours with Morning Workshop Facilitator: Kisha Palmer

* Discussion Sections

3:30-4:00 Wrap up with Kisha and Ross
4:00-5:00 Social



June 23, 2020


9:00-9:15 Welcome Back
9:15-12:30 Interactive Session: Is Purpose the Future of Leadership? with Ross Wehner, teacher, social entrepreneur, and Founder of World Leadership School and the non-profit TeachUNITED

Afternoons Free.


* Individual Coaching Session / Office Hours with Morning Workshop Facilitator: Ross Wehner

* Discussion Sections



June 24, 2020

9:00-9:15 Welcome Back
9:15-9:30 Discussion Session Orientation Leading Through The Unknown - Shared Learning
9:45-10:30 Topic Based Group Discussion - Round 1
10:30-10:45 Break
10:45-11:30 Topic Based Group Discussion - Round 2
11:30-12:30 Wrap Up, Reflection and Conclusion

Optional Add-on for Assistant and Division Heads

1:00-3:00 Closing Meeting of Emerging Leaders Institute




This year's program will be comprised of three workshop sections.

Mapping Your Inclusive Leadership Ecosystem with Kisha Palmer

How has this year tested, challenged or impacted your leadership? What leadership growth edges have been revealed by this year? How can you build inclusive leadership protocols into your role?

Inclusive Leadership is relational, responsive, and greater than any single individual. It invites participation and accountability and acknowledges systems of power and privilege. Wherever you are positioned in your school ecosystem, you can build a dynamic leadership profile that fosters partnership and sustainability. In this two-hour workshop participants will map their leadership journeys through an equity and inclusion framework. Using story sharing, personal reflection and paired activities, participants will vision the essential skills, relationships and conditions to nurture inclusive leadership ecosystems within their school communities.

Kisha Palmer is the founder and principal of The Institute for Inclusive Leadership.

Learn More About Our Conference Facilitators Here

The Power of Purpose-Driven Leadership with Ross Wehner

COVID-19 has put a spotlight on school leadership as never before. Why is it that some schools have been able to innovate and hold their communities together, while other schools seem to have frozen and limped toward the end of the school year? The difference between these schools has often been purpose-driven leadership. School leaders have always been required to effectively manage people, schedules, dollars, curriculum, and facilities. But COVID-19 has tested school leaders to go beyond IQ and tap into EQ and purpose. Leaders who can be vulnerable, empathetic and rally their school communities around a purpose-driven vision help their school communities adapt better to traumatic change. Given the uncertainty ahead, purpose is no longer an optional skill for leaders. It’s a survival skill.

Purposeful leaders inspire trust because they have a tight fit between essence (who they are on the inside) and form (how they show up on the inside). It’s easy to understand a purpose-driven leader, and see how she embodies her purpose story with her actions, words and even thoughts. Most school leaders and teachers have a deep sense of purpose, but few can express that purpose in compelling ways. That is a lost leadership and teaching opportunity. Purposeful students are also happier, healthier and manage stress more effectively than students who are merely goal-driven.

There are visible and intentional strategies K-12 schools can pursue that help admin leaders, teachers, and students explore purpose and bring greater meaning to learning. We believe the question guiding the future of learning is “How can K-12 schools help students explore, discover and articulate purpose?”

In our time together, educators will:

  1. Explore the theory and science of purpose.

  2. Begin a journey to explore and clarify purpose.

  3. Develop a personal purpose statement and a map around that statement in order to guide future action.

  4. Share resources of what Purpose Learning looks and feels like in schools around North America.



Ross Wehner is a teacher, social entrepreneur, and founder of World Leadership School and the non-profit TeachUNITED.

Learn More About Our Conference Facilitators Here

Leading Through The Unknown - Shared Learning

We have collectively learned so much this year. At the closing of the school year we will benefit from hearing from and reflecting on our own and others' response to our changing independent school landscape. During this morning session, attendees will gather in topic areas, led by the NWAIS Emerging Leaders Institute Cohort, to share what you have learned through leading into the unknown.


Optional Affinity Session For Division and Assistant Heads


Add-On Affinity Session Assistant Heads and Division Heads (June 24, 1:00-3:00pm)

Theme: Leaving the forest and getting into the weeds: the nitty gritty logistics and what is keeping you up at night

In response to attendee requests, we have built on an additional 1:00-3:00pm meeting, specifically for Assistant Heads and Division Heads. This time will be structured and run by members of the planning committee and will provide you an opportunity to connect with colleagues around the unique challenges of these roles. Stay and enjoy this extended affinity time with other senior leaders.

Cost: No charge 



Registration Deadline: All registrations must be completed by June 15, 2020

Register Here


NWAIS Member Rate:

Early Bird: $245 By June 1, 2020

Late: $285 After June 1, 2020


Non-Member School Participants:

$345 Anytime until June 15, 2020 (Registration Deadline)


To receive the early bird or regular discount, your registration must be complete and payment must be postmarked or received by the stated deadline.

* For registrations completed by mail or online registrations with payment by check, payment must be postmarked by the stated deadline

* Online registrations completed by credit card must be completed by 11:59pm on the stated deadline.

Substitutions and Cancellations

Substitutions may be made any time prior to the conference. Written cancellations received by June 15, 2020 are eligible for a refund after a $75 cancellation fee. Cancellations received after June 15, 2020 are ineligible for any refund.


Already Registered With NWAIS or Sleeping Lady Resort?

Please note this important information.

  • Sleeping Lady Resort will be cancelling all registrations and refunding any deposits paid. They may need to get in touch with you if they do not have complete credit card information. If you have not heard from them, feel free to reach out to them directly at: 1-800-574-2123 or email reservations@sleepinglady.com

  • If you have registered with NWAIS for the institute, your registration will be rolled over to the online program, and the difference in the registration fee will be credited back to your account. If you would no longer like to participate, please let us know in writing at your earliest convenience and no later than June 15, 2020. Written cancellations can be emailed to Cindy Steele, NWAIS registrar. After June 15, no refunds will be offered.





Attendees of past Leadership Institutes were asked what they would tell those who have not attended before.  Here are a few of their responses.


The networking opportunity can't be beat. It's a very different feel and pace than most other conferences.


Thoroughly planned, overall - outstanding


I think it is great to attend with a group from your school - very valuable on many levels and worth the investment.


You will gain so much & you will also have the chance to fully integrate it into what you do. This conference is informative but invested in personal reflection and application. It is an outstanding opportunity to interact with peers.


This is an amazing opportunity to connect with colleagues from your own school and people who are your peers at other neighboring schools. This is a chance to not only offer your own ideas but to walk away with a better sense of where independent schools are heading.


It is an excellent opportunity to connect with colleagues, refresh after the school year, and dream big about the future of your school. I came away with both practical ideas I can implement right away, and more ambitious ideas for the leadership team at my school. I highly recommend it and hope to be back next year!




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Northwest Association of Independent Schools
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T: 206.323.6137 • info@nwais.org
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