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.

Leaders of Color: A Professional Learning Community

For New and Returning Participants

Gathering will take place on four half days throughout the year from 10am to 2pm. It is our hope to hold as many of these as possible in-person. Meetings will move to virtual meetings if necessary.

Note For Covid-Related Changes: Several of these sessions are likely to be held by zoom this year. For each session moved online, participants will be refunded a portion of the registration fee. Please see the registration section below for more detail.

Updated Meeting Schedule (More Detail can Be Found Below)

Program Postponement: This program will be postponed to the second half of the 20-21 academic year. The November meeting will be cancelled and a meeting will be added in May or June (exact date TBD)

  • Monday, January 11, 2021
  • Monday, February 22, 2021
  • Friday, April 30, 2021
  • Monday, May 17, 2021

Who Should Participate?

This program is an affinity space for educational leaders with a commitment to continuing to learn and grow as a leader of color. This includes those leading from all different positions in schools including teachers, administrators and staff.

“This program helped me to reflect about my professional growth, connect with other leaders of color, and learn from the experiences and stories of national leaders of color in independent schools.” —Yaneth Vrentas, Director of Equity and Inclusion

Program Description

This professional learning community is an opportunity for leaders of color to reflect on and develop their visions, opportunities and aspirations within and beyond independent schools. For experienced, emerging and questioning leaders of color at all stages of their careers, this yearlong series will offer participants time and support to:

  • clarify their visions and goals as educators,
  • identify core leadership competencies and challenges,
  • design their own professional growth plans, and
  • network and build vital personal and professional relationships.

With the intention of knowing and sustaining ourselves in our careers, we will lean into case studies; reflect on our own experiences; talk frankly about the challenges, opportunities and expectations for leaders of color; recognize our personal growth edges; and drill down on the skills and knowledge we have and need to thrive on our diverse professional paths.

Open to returning and new participants, this leadership professional learning community is for educators of color who want to be effective, transformative and ever-growing in their work. These working conversations will include all aspects of who we are as leaders and the complexity of the communities in which we work.

The series will meet on four dates, beginning in November 2020, and will invite leaders of color from within and beyond independent schools to help participants reflect personally and learn collectively, based on where each participant is in their professional journey.

“I am grateful for my experience participating in the NWAIS Leaders of Color PLC, and it has been incredibly valuable for both my professional and personal growth. I had the privilege of participating in this PLC for two years, and I have walked away with more clarity of my own leadership philosophy, important knowledge and skills, models and mentors, and a network of leaders of color. Having been in leadership positions in independent schools now for 10 years, I was surprised at the amount of information, skills, and strategies about leadership that I did not know. This PLC gives people of color access to these crucial conversations all within an affinity space to provide context specific to the needs of people of color. This year I made a shift in my own career trajectory, and I attribute much of this accomplishment to what I have learned from Alison, Percy, the special speakers, and my PLC peers. I hope this program continues to be available to people of color, as it has been one of the most impactful leadership development opportunities for me.” —Christel McGuigan, High School Assistant Principal for Academics

Cohort Schedule

Meetings will take place on four half days throughout the year from 10am to 2pm. It is our hope to hold as many of these as possible in-person. Meetings will move to virtual meetings if necessary.

Meeting 1: Orientation to the program and professional self-reflection. Participants will gain tools for periodic self-checks and a skills-based framework to assess and plan their professional growth as leaders.

Meeting 2: Professional and personal growth edges and opportunities. Participants will identify their “gots” and needs as leaders, and identify priorities for their continued, intentional growth. In meetings 2 and 3, the PLC will also use hiring season as an opportunity to identify useful habits, skills and tools for growing as leaders, whether or not they intend to search for a new position.

Meeting 3: Systems-thinking. Participants will extend their gaze from self to institution and practice thinking systemically about everyday issues and needs in their institutions and communities.

Social networking: Professional community. Participants will have the opportunity to affirm and grow their professional network with NWAIS.

Meeting 4: Thinking forward. Participants will reflect on the year and preflect on their continued growth over the summer, the next academic year and beyond. Participants will gain frameworks for setting immediate goals and cultivating longer-range plans.

“Thank you for continuing this program and expanding it. As you well know, there is and will be a great need for this. I tell my POC colleagues about this program every year and nudge them until they've said they've applied… I would recommend this program to people of color who do not see themselves as leaders at their independent schools, but who I know would rise to the occasion should they have a chance.” —Anonymous


NWAIS Attendees: $795

Non-NWAIS Attendees: $1200

Note For Covid-Related Changes: Several of these sessions are likely to be held by zoom this year. For each session moved online, participants will be refunded $50 of the registration fee, decreasing the overall cost by up to $200. Due to the dynamic pricing, we encourage all participants from member schools to register using the "bill school option". This will allow us to settle the pricing at the conclusion of the series and minimize transactions. To facilitate this, the fee category (early / regular) will be determined by the date of online registration, rather than the date of payment.

“Participating in LOC was a gratifying experience that allowed me to get closer to and better understand my journey through independent schools. Being in conversation with others helped me better clarify my purpose and hone in on my professional objectives. This was the first time in 20 years that I've had these conversations in open air. And this would not have been possible without trust being established at the onset of our discussions. I appreciate how this time was honored and respected by my peers, and how Alison, with her bounty of grace and thoughtfulness, allowed us to push into topics that have often been left off the table. This is hard work - for all of us. I am appreciative of the time spent caring about our health, wellness and success.” —Keisha Wilson, Director of Development

TO RECEIVE THE REGISTRATION DISCOUNT: Your registration must be complete and payment must be postmarked or received by the appropriate deadline.

For registrations completed by mail or online registrations with payment by check, payment must be postmarked by deadline date.

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

Cancellation Policy

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

NWAIS is Going Paperless

All program materials will be provided electronically. If there are pre-event materials, they will be sent to you via email about a week prior to the event. Please "BYOD" (bring your own device) to access them at the workshop or if you prefer, print out the digital materials and bring them with you. We will not have hard-copy packets for attendees on-site.

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 air and ground 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

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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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