SAIS Headlines
February 2013

The Purpose of Teacher Evaluation


The history of evaluation in education seems to stem from the underlying assumption that good teachers are not made; they are born. Principals traditionally formally evaluate each member of their division once or twice a year, generally by appointment.  Employing a checklist, the principal observes the teacher in the classroom for one period, ultimately writing a formal assessment that is shared with the teacher and then placed in a personnel file.  Summative in nature, the process offers little constructive feedback to the teacher; instead, the process provides a means for the principal to recommend retention or dismissal.  Though neither party embraces this model, both recognize its necessity to maintain accountability.  MORE ... 

SAIS @ NAIS 2013

February 28 | Philadelphia, PA


SAIS will be in booth #318 in the NAIS exhibit hall - please stop by and say hello!  You're also invited to join us for the SAIS reception on Thursday, February 28, 6-8 PM at JW's in the Philadelphia Marriott.  RSVP at

Encounters With Greatness: Finding and Developing Good Teachers


When my three seventeen-year-old children unpack their loaded backpacks, stacking the books on their desks for the evening like cement bricks of accumulated knowledge, three types of experiences likely occupy their thoughts about the school day: 1) the next day's workload, with a flood, stream, or trickle of ideas interspersed from the current day, 2) the interpersonal, emotional, and social experiences that inspired or embarrassed them, and 3) their teacherly encounters.  And they are fortunate to have some engaging teachers.  MORE ...


Faculty Salaries: 5-Year Trend 

In keeping with the theme of recruiting, retaining and rewarding teachers, the focus of this FastStats is faculty compensation. More specifically, the five-year trend of five critical elements of independent school compensation will be presented for both NAIS and SAIS teachers. An overview of the data1 indicates that SAIS teachers are not as well compensated when compared to their independent school colleagues from around the country.  MORE ...

Head of School Salaries 


In this FastStats, the base salaries of independent school heads are analyzed.  Specifically, a comparison is made among the median salaries for NAIS heads as a whole and an SAIS subgroup, over the past six years.  From the chart, the following is noted: first, there is a notable difference between the median salaries of SAIS subgroup of heads versus NAIS heads as a whole.  NAIS heads' salaries have been about 10% greater than the SAIS subgroup.  Although for the 2011-12 school year, that difference was cut in half to about 5%.  MORE ...

8 Things Every Head Should Know About Fundraising

April 16 | Atlanta, GA


Facilitated by veteran development expert LINDA McNAY, this interactive day-long workshop will take a deep dive into the basic tenets of fundraising from the perspective of the head of school.  Info & registration at

Shifting the Monkey 
by Todd Whitaker


Whether the setting is a school, an office, or even your home, there's always someone who doesn't follow the rules. For instance, who hasn't endured dirty cups or plates in the sink, left with the assumption that they will simply clean themselves?  When the irritation becomes unbearable, an email is sent out or a meeting is scheduled to let everyone know that leaving a mess behind will no longer be tolerated.  It's a fair request, but you, who don't drink coffee or never leave a crumb behind, react either with annoyance or guilt.  Feeling that your tidiness is underappreciated or unacknowledged, you resent this blanket statement that applies to someone else. Or, as a classic overachiever, you accept the full weight of this rebuke and assume an additional role as maid.  Meanwhile, the shirkers who regularly dump their dirty dishes are relieved to learn that they are not the only culprits and are reassured that individuals will not be held responsible.  MORE ...

SAIS President Dr. Steve Robinson:
The Head Evaluation: Assessing Constructs


Let's consider a case study: Each member of well-respected independent school board receives a letter signed by an anonymous parent who claims to represent the concerns of the entire school community. The letter asserts that "all of the parents" in the school are unhappy with the manner in which the head of school interacts with them at school functions. The letter also accuses the head of attending school athletic events only on occasion and when she does attend it is only for a brief stopover before "slipping out the backdoor." The letter goes on to insist that the board reprimand the head of school for this "lack of interest" in the students' hard work and demands, on behalf of the school community, that she be terminated if her "interest in students" does not increase.

After the receipt of this letter, several trustees called for an Executive Session at the upcoming board meeting to discuss how they should respond to the letter. Following the Executive Session the board voted to reprimand the head as a means of appeasing the disgruntled parents. This vote was followed by a notice to the parents outlining the board's future expectations for the head regarding attendance at school events.

Did the board follow proper protocol relating to good governance, ethical evaluation processes, and fair treatment of its sole employee? To answer that question, it may be necessary to review the principles of good practice in the board's evaluation of the head of school.  MORE ...

Administrative Leadership Institute

June 19-21 | Atlanta, GA


MICHAEL THOMPSON and ROB EVANS lead this enriching opportunity on relational leadership for administrators who supervise adults, evaluate teachers, and/or work with parents.  Registration opening in March at

Institute for Senior Administrators

June 24-26 | Atlanta, GA


KEITH EVANS and DAVID MAHLER will examine the nature of strategic leadership and pathways to continual growth, focusing on new leadership demands in a VUCA world (volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous).  Registration opening in March at 

Check Out These Blogs ... or view online


 A Tale of Two Stories: Reflections on a Hate Crime

Rabbi Dr. Gil Perl, Dean of The Margolin Hebrew Academy (TN), discovers a story of compassion and kindness alongside a story of hate. 


 The Newtown Tragedy Response: Glock and Bach

Bill Brown, Holy Innocents' Episcopal School English Teacher (GA), reflects on why this national heartbreak led some to buy guns and others to play music.


 Our Technology Infused World

David Colon, Collegiate School Academic Dean (VA), encourages us to consider the distinction between quantity of dialogue in technology infused world and quality of meaningful conversation.


 Kill the Rule

Suzanna Jemsby, Galloway Head of School (GA), wonders whether some rules have been around so long that we've forgotten why we follow them.  


 Time Out at the Failure Love-Fest

Grant Lichtman, host of SAIS's Lunch and Learn on Emerging Innovative Practices, offers healthy criticism of the embracing failure movement, reminding us that we need "to be focused on maximizing experience in the equation, not failure." 


Stressed, Exhausted, Overworked? Welcome to High School!

Stan Beiner, Head of School at The Epstein School (GA), asks when and why we let the college preparatory track become so overwhelming.

Transforming School From Consumption to Creation

Bo Adams, Director of Education Innovation at Unboundary and April 19 SAIS Lunch and Learn presenter, urges schools to transition students from consumers of knowledge to creators of solutions. 


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Education With 
a Global Focus
The spring forum series is designed to provide a thoughtful and informed discussion on why global education is important, what global education includes, and how schools can start or continue meaningful global education programs.

We hope you'll plan to attend one of the forums in your area. There is no cost to attend, however, it is important for you to pre-register to assist us with space planning.

Who is the target audience?
The forums are designed for all school staff who have an interest in global education, including heads, administrators, and faculty.

More info and online registration available at
Institute for Experienced Heads
June 25-28
Hilton Head, SC
MICHAEL THOMPSON and ROB EVANS lead this institute for heads and spouses, offering thoughtful dialogue and engagement with colleagues on key issues facing school heads.  Spouses who attend are included in all programs. 
Registration opening in March at
Accreditation Research Survey

Select schools that meet specific criteria may be asked to participate in a university research study examining perceptions surrounding accreditation.  If you are selected (via email), please participate. 

lunch&learn v1
Pedagogical Master Planning 
Lunch & Learn
with Bo Adams 
April 19
BO ADAMS, educational blogger and thinker, will discuss the need for Pedagogical Master Planning, and the processes, tools, and facilitation schools need to develop shared understanding, unified direction, and adaptive progress. 
Visit to register. 
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Institute for 
New Teachers 
Charlotte, NC | July 15-17
Memphis, TN | July 22-24
Atlanta, GA | July 29-31 
Atlanta, GA | August 1-3
The Institute for New Teachers is an innovative and experiential must-attend workshop for every teacher new to teaching - or just new to the world of independent schools.  This hands-on institute covers many topics related to teaching in an independent school environment 

Registration opening in March at
Institute for 
New Heads 
June 17-19
Atlanta, GA
BILLY PEEBLES and SCOTT WILSON lead this program designed for heads new to headship (entering the first through third year) or just new to SAIS.  Registration opening in March at
to Russia
April 23-May 2
SAIS President STEVE ROBINSON and NAIS Senior Director of Global Initiatives PAUL MILLER will lead an exciting international travel opportunity of development, learning, and connecting that is specially designed for independent school leaders.  Info & registration at
Accreditation Portal

The SAIS Accreditation Portal, an online tool to help your school experience accreditation digitally, has launched! Screenshots here.