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.

Administrative Assistants Conference

Date: Thursday - March 28, 2019
Time: All Day
This Event Has Filled To Capacity and Registration Is Now Closed.

This Event Has Filled To Capacity and Registration Is Now Closed.

Administrative Assistants Conference

March 28-29, 2019


This is What Collaboration Looks Like:

Growing Our Tool Kits for Meaningful Teamwork



You work hard all year supporting your school.  Now your school has the opportunity to support you and your professional development.



In an isolating job that often has little interaction with peers, it is amazing to have the chance to encourage, advise, and commiserate with people who know just what you do. It's the ultimate way to recharge!

- Previous Attendee



Who Should Attend:

  • Executive Assistant and Head’s Assistant
  • Assistant to the Development Office, Business Office, or Division Offices  
  • School Registrar
  • Administrative Assistant
  • Receptionist
  • School Secretary
  • Office Manager



Featuring Keynote Speaker: Ken Rogers, Middle School Principal, Charlotte Christian, NC


Surviving A Bear Attack: Strategies for Difficult Conversations


Maybe It IS You: Developing a Healthier Response to Feedback


The Program Will Include:

  • Sessions to increase your efficiency in your role
  • Policy updates
  • Skill-building workshops
  • Networking time with your colleagues from across the 8-sate region


The conference provides a great opportunity for newer administrative assistants to hear from more experienced assistants--to learn practical tips for time management, self care and organization. I think the conference was also a great platform for everyone to discuss shared experiences and organizational structures in their schools--hearing how other schools are run from top to bottom was very interesting!

– Previous Conference Attendee



Conference Overview

March 28: 1:00pm Arrival and Registration, 1:30 Program Begins, 5:00pm Reception with Heavy Hors D'Oeuvres

March 29: Program Concludes at 3:00pm


Conference Agenda

March 28, 2019


1:30-2:00       Registration 

2:00-2:15       Welcome

2:15-3:00       Community Building Welcome

3:00-4:00      Keynote 


Surviving A Bear Attack: Strategies for Difficult Conversations

Everyone dreads conversations that wind up intensifying into tense, even combative, interactions. By understanding the dynamics in these charged exchanges and managing your own emotions, you can more effectively de-escalate encounters. Leave with the skills necessary to manage these moments. 


4:15-5:00       Picturing The Ideal Administrative Assistants 

5:00-7:00      Reception & Dinner


March 29, 2019

8:00               Breakfast

9:00-9:15       Welcome Back

9:15-9:30       Smack Down


9:45-11:30      Workshop - Unpacking Difficult Conversations


Your role is in the heart of the school, so conflict can present itself in many directions including with supervisors, parents, and colleagues. Let’s practice how we can negotiate these situations while preserving relationships and making sure your voice is heard. This will be an interactive session where you will have the chance to consider several case studies from multiple angles and so some self-assessment to grow your toolbox for approaching difficult conversations. Presented by Tuney Kannapell and Marianne Picha of Book Bag Learning, a Seattle consultancy group working with educators and school leaders. Marianne and Tuney have extensive independent school and administrative experience and know first-hand the many complexities of school life that you face every day.


11:30-11:45      Smack Down 

11:45-12:45     Lunch

12:45-1:45      Round tables

    1. Strategies for setting professional boundaries
    2. Advocating for yourself and your advancement
    3. Relationships between staff and faculty
    4. Student Information Systems
    5. How to handle medical and immunization issues without a school nurse.
    6. How do you manage all the 3rd party software tools that a school uses?
    7. Communication with parents 
    8. Event Planning


1:45-2:45       Closing Session


Maybe It IS You: Developing a Healthier Response to Feedback

We receive feedback in a variety of forms: anonymous surveys, reactions from others, performance reviews, and even rumors. Learn why hearing feedback is so challenging and develop strategies to learn and grow from feedback of all kinds. 


2:45-3:00       Wrap up and Goodbyes


Our Presenters

Ken Rogers, Middle School Principal, Charlotte Christian, NC

Ken Rogers, a trained counselor, is a former faculty member of The Association of independent Maryland schools Fellows Program for New teachers and is currently on the faculty for the ISACS New Teacher Institute and the North Carolina New Teacher Institute. With Independent school experience as a teacher, dean, and head of middle school, he is a frequent ISACS and Southern Association of Independent Schools presenter and consultant to independent schools. Rogers is the Middle School principal at Charlotte Christian School (NC) and serves on the board of the Teaching fellows Institute.

Marianne Picha and Tuney Kannapel.

Marianne and Tuney have extensive independent school and administrative experience and know first-hand the many complexities of school life. Both Marianne and Tuney are principals at Book Bag Learning, a Seattle consultancy group working with leaders in schools and serve on the faculty of the NWAIS Emerging Leaders Institute.

You! Bring a Tool To Share in the Smackdown

Smackdowns are an open mic for sharing a tool or hack. Come ready to share a trick that has improved your workflow, your organizational processes or your systems. Each presenter will be given two minutes to show and tell their hack, will be able to pull up a website or description quickly on the web, but won't need any slides. 

Round Tables are opportunities to share with and learn from your colleagues.  You will be able to attend two of the discussions above. Feel free to bring a long any policies, procedures or materials that would help you share how your school approaches these areas. 

Registration Information

Registration Information

Conference Fees Will Include: Reception March 28, and Breakfast and Lunch on March 29.


Early Bird ..........   Deadline February 11, 2019 .................. $335

**** Deadline Extended Until February 15, 2019 Due to School Closures Due To Weather ****

Regular .............   Deadline March 4, 2019 .......................  $395

Late ...................   Postmarked after March 4, 2019............$410

Non-NWAIS Member School...............................................$465




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 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 Cancellation

Substitutions may be made any time prior to the conference. Written cancellations received by March 18, 2019 are eligible for a refund after a $50 cancellation fee. Cancellations received March 18, 2019 are ineligible for any refund.



I would definitely recommend this conference to other Administrative Assistants. It was great to just collaborate with other people on the best practices in the field. I learned so much about how best to communicate in my role. It was extremely relevant for me, and I would recommend it to others.

– 2013 Attendee from Rowland Hall-St Mark’s School (Salt Lake City, UT)




Hotel Murano

A Forbes four-star rated hotel in downtown Tacoma located adjacent to the Tacoma convention center and steps from the city’s best museums and restaurants. With a world-class art collection, delicious cuisine, full service spa, and beautiful meeting rooms and event space, NWAIS encourages you to relax, spend the night, and enjoy this lovely location.


We have filled our room block of available rooms at the original rate. We have been able to extend the block at a rate of $189 per night for single and double occupancy. Please make your reservation early as these are likely to fill as well.

Please make your reservation by March 2, 2017

To reserve your room by phone contact the reservations team toll-free at 866-986-8083 and refer to the group name “NWAIS Administrative Assistants Conference ” to receive the group discount. Alternatively, you can also make your reservation online here. The discounted rate is good for two days before and after the event.



It is always amazing to see how many hats one person might wear at a school and how they are able to manage the chaos. Being around like minded-people is truly rewarding.

– Previous Attendee





You are encouraged to consider joining the many attendees who stay on-site. The residential experience maximizes the opportunity to connect with colleagues and immerse yourself in the professional development.





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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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