SSL Certificate
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.

Fellowship For Collaborative Innovation:
Futurist Fellows

A Team Selected To Explore What is Next for Independent Education.
Applications for the next round to open December 1, 2018.

Congratulations for the 2018-19 Team of Fellowship Awardees:

Jennifer Davenport, Art Teacher

Saint George’s School

John Harnetiaux, Director of Outdoor Education

Catlin Gabel School

Michael Hyde, STEAM and Maker Integrator

Portland Jewish Academy

Roberta Renton, Director of Business Operations

Seattle Girls’ School

Joe Romano, Faculty / Librarian / Innovative Projects Coordinator

Annie Wright Schools

Guiding Question: How might we reimagine our current schools so that we sustain, flourish and thrive into the future. Using this guiding question, the team will develop a design question to explore over the course of the year.

To accomplish this exciting and perhaps daunting task, Futurist Fellows have been teamed with a group of other big thinkers in the community to utilize a design-thinking paradigm to explore a subset of these big questions. Applicants with diverse personal and professional backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

Design Thinking is a mindset. It’s Human-Centered. It’s Collaborative. It’s Optimistic. It’s Experimental.


Not sure about how you work intersects with design thinking? Explore the many applications to education from one of the premier design-thinking firms, IDEO.

Explore the Drop Down Menu Below for Information About Becoming A Futurist Fellow


  • Applicants must be employed at NWAIS schools (more than .75 FTE)
  • Team members may be teachers, administrators or staff
  • All members from NWAIS schools must have a recommendation of their head of school and/or Direct Supervisor (this will be a written recommendation and slightly more significant than the endorsement, requested in previous years. For that reason, schools may limit the number of applicants from each institution)
  • The project will address a question that impacts NWAIS schools and be sufficiently different from work already undertaken as a part of the applicants’ work at school or in a NWAIS planning committee
  • Members of teams who have previously applied are welcome to reapply

Time Line

  • December 1: Application open
  • February 9: Application deadline
  • April: Fellows will be informed
  • May: Fellows will be announced
  • August: First disbursement of funds ($1,000 each)
  • October: Kick off retreat
  • October - May: Project Development, Research and Compilation of Findings: Meetings throughout the year will be designed and carried out independently by the team. They will have access to video meeting platforms, and may choose to meet in person as well. The awards should be used to cover the costs of meetings during the year.
  • June: Second disbursement of funds ($1,000 each) and concluding retreat
  • Fall: Presentation at an NWAIS event such as Fall Educators Conference or Fall Heads Meeting.


In the first three years of the fellowship, one team was selected to explore a topic of their choosing over the course of a year, and then disseminate their learning to the rest of the NWAIS community.

The two most recent team have applied individually and were selected to work together. Over the course of the year, they explore the future of Independent Schools through a design experience with an interdisciplinary group of colleagues.

Applications for 2019-20 will open December 1, 2018


The team will design a product that will make their learning visible to NWAIS and its member schools and help them navigate the issue in the future. We hope that the group will have a chance to present their ideas in a workshop or presentation, as well, but the product must be something that can be referred back to over time and shared among our schools.It can be physical or digital.

Examples of products could include:

  • A list of guiding questions, with background information, for schools to consider in their strategic planning
  • An infographic which describes of the regional competitive landscape of educational opportunities for k-12 students
  • A sample business plan for a new financial model of school
  • A body of research around demographic or societal trends in education
  • A prototype schedule for a school that shifting focus to SEL or 21st Century Skills Based Curriculum
  • A toolkit to rethink time and calendars
  • Physical designs for schools that are more teacher and student centered

Recommendation and Endorsement

Each applicant also needs the endorsement of their Head of School as well as a recommendation from a colleague (who may also be your head of school).

  1. Recommendation / endorsement form (Send to All Recommenders)
  2. Endorsement form (send to Heads of School, if someone else completed your recommendation)


The group will gather in person in October for a kick-off retreat, with a facilitator to develop the group into a team, grow skills around design thinking and start the designing process. Fellows will leave with a clear picture of their design questions, a work plan for the year, and a vision for their project product. All costs for travel and programming will be covered by the fellowship. The project will conclude with a final retreat at the end of the school year. This retreat will be driven by the Fellows, rather than a facilitator and will be a chance to coalesce the findings and create the final product.


Each fellow will be awarded $2,000 to contribute to the expenses of the project and to compensate team members for their time and work. The first disbursement of $1,000 will be made at the time of the award (August). The second disbursement of $1,000 will be made, in the same way, at the time the product is submitted (June of the following year). Award funds may be used to pay or reimburse team members for project related expenses, such as materials and meetings. It is also expected that a portion of the budget will be for stipends for the team. Typical expenses might include: travel, meeting expenses, conference registrations, research expenses, production of the team's product, substitute expenses, materials, etc. The cost of the retreat and associated travel expenses will be covered by NWAIS directly, and will not need to be funded through the awards.

Each team member will need to submit a w9 form to receive his or her disbursement. Team members will be responsible for any tax-related implication of receiving the award.

Visit the NWAIS Fellowship
for Collaborative
Innovation Website

Upcoming Events

  • Guiding
  • Inspiring
  • Advancing
Northwest Association of Independent Schools
5001 California Ave. SW, Suite 112
Seattle, Washington 98136
T: 206.323.6137 •
powered by finalsite