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Institute For Early Career Educators

Starting January 2022

Who Should Consider This Program

Educators in their first three years of independent school teaching

Cohort Overview

Designed for educators in their first three years of independent school teaching, educators in this cohort will meet three times between January and May to discuss ideas of pedagogy, planning, and professionalism with expert educators and instructional coaches.

Participants will work together to build and deepen their practices (instructional & curricular), their resilience, and foster a growth mindset for ongoing learning. They will also develop relationships with other early career educators, deepening their connection to the educational community. In addition to honing some of the core elements of teaching practices, cohort members will also delve into topics that specifically relate to independent school culture such as: the tensions between autonomy and alignment, the challenges and opportunities inherent in parent communication.

Areas of Focus

Through intentional cohort-building approaches, attendees can expect to gain knowledge and skills while creating a network of supportive peers. The following content will be covered:

  • Classroom Culture
  • Lesson & Unit Planning
  • Professionalism
  • Communication (parents, colleagues, supervisors, etc.)
  • Problems of Practice
  • Reflection

Program Components

This program will be comprised of one full day in-person workshop and two virtual follow-up sessions. The faculty will also offer one-on-one coaching as needed (optional)

January 28, 2022 (9:00-3:00pm PST)

In-person full-day meeting + Reception

March 24, 2022 (3:00-5:00pm PST)

Virtual meeting

May 11, 2022 (3:00-5:00pm PST)

Virtual meeting


The program faculty are current and former Instructional Coaches, who were awarded the NWAIS Fellowship for Collaborative Innovation and have continued to contribute to NWAIS through coaching round tables and programming for early career educators

Michelle Harrison, The Evergreen School, Shoreline, WA, Primary Division Head

Michelle is a longtime experienced educator with a background as an instructional coach and curriculum designer, as well as over 25 years of teaching experience, primarily in the elementary grades. She has been at Evergreen for 15 years and served as an instructional coach for six. Most recently, as the chair of the Academic Task Force during the summer of 2020, responsible for leading the development of academic plans in preparation for the unprecedented 2020-2021 school year. Connecting with teachers and supporting them in developing their teaching craft is the most exciting aspect of coaching work for Michelle. She believes that teachers who have consistent, non-evaluative support are more confident, take more risks and are better equipped to be successful teachers. In her work she has supported teachers by observing and giving feedback, coplanning lessons, setting goals, problem-solving and sharing ideas.

Regan Wensnahan, The Little School, Bellevue, WA, Director of Admissions

Regan Wensnahan has worked in independent school education since 1985 and has been director of enrollment management and marketing at The Little School since 2017. Having worked at and attended a variety of progressive independent school throughout her life, she has strong experience supporting student centered learning environments. Ms Wensnahan has held a variety of positions in six schools in the area as a classroom teacher, literacy and instructional coach, and director of studies. She has also been an educational consultant helping families work through the process of finding a good fit school for their child. Initially, she worked to improve her own practice through voraciously reading and attending workshops and classes. Over the years, her passion shifted to helping fellow teachers think and learn more about the process and products of teaching. The role of an instructional coach is a delightful fit for Regan because it allows her to walk with teachers as they reflect on the many complex choices that they make daily in lessons.

Cost and Registration

Member Early Bird
Register before December 1, 2021

Member Regular
Registrations between December 1 and December 15, 2021


Member Late
Registrations after January 4, 2022


Non-Member (anytime)
Non-members are not eligible for early registration discounts.


Attendees Will Be Eligible For Clock Hours And / Or STARS Credits

To be eligible for credits you must sign up for them in advance of the program. Attendees receive clock hours and STARS free of charge. The original clock hours form or your STARS certificate will be mailed back to you for your records. If you need to petition another agency for credits or you would like a certificate for your files, NWAIS is happy to provide one upon request at no charge.

Please contact Cindy Steele for questions about clock hours or to sign up.

NWAIS May Help Cover Travel Costs

The NWAIS travel reimbursement policy is designed to reimburse candidate and accredited member schools for some travel costs. This policy applies to a school’s total travel expenses (not the cost of rooms and meals), no matter how many people the school sends to the workshop. If your school spends more than $150 dollars on travel for this event and is traveling a distance greater than 250 miles you will be reimbursed a percentage of your expenses. Click here for more details

Click here for travel share reimbursement form

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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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