Letter from the President 
Kirk Walker, Ph.D. 
I hope that your school year has started smoothly and that you are enjoying the spirit of community. As students, parents, faculty, and staff return to our campuses, we are reminded that we are more than academic institutions; we truly are communities bound by our commitments to change lives and build futures. It is also the case that these communities are busy places ... very busy. I am confident that your days are already filled with classes, faculty meetings, assemblies, field trips, staff meetings, athletic contests, trustee meetings, parents' nights, alum gatherings, and more meetings. Racing (often ricocheting) between the demands on your time, it can be a challenge to set aside moments for personal reflection and professional renewal.
Nevertheless, I hope that you will take the time to join the SAIS community for our 2015 Annual Conference, October 17-19, in Atlanta. It will be an excellent opportunity to learn from each other and from various experts in a wide variety of sessions, as well as a wonderful time to renew our associations with colleagues and friends. In addition to the impressive slate of conference speakers and presenters, I would also like to extend a special invitation to our heads of school and their board members for the Board/Head Retreat on October 17, which will be led by our long-time friend and colleague, Pat Bassett.
I look forward to our time together.

Dr. Kirk Walker 
A Delicate Balance  
*2015 SAIS Annual Conference Preview*
As schools work to incorporate the latest technologies, they also seek a balance between the use of devices and traditional classroom instruction. Technology can keep students engaged in what they are learning, but does it disengage them from each other and from their communities? See what Dr. Catherine Steiner-Adair has to say about finding the right balance of technology in schools. >>Read more. 

>>Register for the 2015 SAIS Annual Conference.
Savoring Earth's Treasures
For several years, Cape Henry Collegiate School's 6th grade earth science teacher Ashleigh Cake maintained a modest classroom garden. Nurtured under grow lights, she and her students produced a few plants to study in the vein of environmental sustainability. But when one of her students said, "Mrs. Cake, we need to get these outside," Cake began to investigate options for an outdoor garden. Using some surplus departmental funds, in August 2014 she was able to get one garden bed built and since that time has tripled the gardens which now feature red-leaf lettuce, four kinds of tomatoes, Swiss chard, beans, herbs, peas, squash, zucchini, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, and edible flowers, along with two composting bins and three rain barrels. >>Read more. 
A Curious Mind: The
Secret to a Bigger Life 
by Brian Grazer 
Reviewed by Lee Hark, Assistant Head of School & Upper School Director, Durham Academy, Durham, NC 
From the outset of A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life, it's clear that movie producer-cum-author Brian Grazer wants the reader to see him as an affable, paradigm-busting guide to enlightenment - Virgil with hair gel and a robust expense account. Even the art department at Simon & Schuster is in on the act, depicting Grazer (and his notorious gelled hair) on the book's cover as childlike and full of wonder. >>Read more. 
Growth for the Future 
*2015 SAIS Annual Conference Preview*
If we could go back in time to 1995, would we make the same decisions for our schools, knowing then what we know now? The answer is probably not, according to John Chubb, president of NAIS. With increasing competition, escalating costs, and shifting demographics, schools must be more strategic in their decision-making and planning. >>Read more. 

>>Register for the 2015 SAIS Annual Conference.
Retiring in 2016?A blue nametag sticker with the words Hello I Am Retired to illustrate that you are done with your career and are living off a pension or 401k or other retirement savings
If you are a head of school who will be retiring at the end of the 2015-16 school year, please let us know so we can induct you into the SAIS Legacy Club, a group of retired heads of school who gather twice a year. The induction ceremony will take place at an invitation-only dinner on Saturday, October 17, in conjunction with the SAIS Annual Conference. Please email [email protected] ASAP to make sure we have you on the list (and please include a bio and photo).
2015 SAIS Annual Conference 
October 17-19
Crowne Plaza Ravinia | 4355 Ashford-Dunwoody Rd | Atlanta, GA 30346
Saturday, October 17
  • 10:00-4:00 PM - Board/Head Retreat (separate registration required at
  • 1:00-5:00 PM - Chair Training Workshop
  • 4:00-7:00 PM - Registration Desk Open
  • 5:30-7:00 PM - Opening Reception - sponsored by FLIK
Sunday, October 18
  • 9:00-10:00 AM - Breakfast Buffet + Exhibit Booths Open
  • 10:00-11:30 AM - Breakout Sessions
    • FEATURED TRACK: #EduTrendingNow - sponsored by SCHOOLADMIN
    • The Amazing Minds You're Missing Out On: A Crash Course in Differentiation, Neuroscience, & Cerebrodiversity
    • Leadership & the Uses of Market Research
    • Leveraging New Media Trends to Engage Constituents
    • Highlights from the SAIS Steve Robinson Collaboration Grants
  • 11:30-12:00 PM - Break + Exhibit Booths Open
  • 12:00-1:45 PM - Lunch + Annual Business Meeting
  • 2:00-3:30 PM - Breakout Sessions
    • FEATURED TRACK: #EduTrendingNow - sponsored by SCHOOLADMIN
    • Leadership Team Development & the Birkman Method
    • Six Game Changers for Your Marketing Strategy
    • The Broader Systemic Implications of the 21st Century School
    • Innovation's Strategic Convergence: Planning, Program, Messaging
    • A Crash Course in Major Gift Fundraising
    • LGBTQ Issues & Independent Schools
  • 3:30-4:00 PM - Break + Exhibit Booths Open - sponsored by MARKEL
  • 4:00-5:30 PM - General Session - John Chubb - sponsored by CARNEY, SANDOE & ASSOCIATES
  • 5:30-7:00 PM - Reception + Exhibit Booths Open - sponsored by BRACEWELL & GIULIANI LLP
Monday, October 19
  • 7:30-9:00 AM - Breakfast Buffet + Exhibit Booths Open
  • 7:45-8:45 AM - Breakout Sessions "Meet & Eat"
    • FEATURED TRACK: Lost in Connection: The Impact of Technology on Childhood, Family Life, & Education - sponsored by FOLLETT
    • Collaborative & Innovative Learning Spaces
    • Current & Coming Legal Topics
    • Boosting Enrollment Through Inbound Marketing
    • Brand Diaries: The Making of a Mount Vernon Mom
    • Hot Legal Topics
    • Building an Ethical Community in Your School
    • Roundtable - Middle School Heads
    • Making Effective Technology Decisions
  • 9:00-10:30 AM - General Session - Rick Wormeli - Cultivating Personal Creativity -sponsored by TADS
  • 10:30-11:00 AM - Break + Exhibit Booths Open
  • 11:00-12:00 PM - Breakout Sessions
    • FEATURED TRACK: Mary Had a Little iPad: Rebooting K-8 Education in the Digital Age - sponsored by FOLLETT
    • Access, Affordability, & the Competition Facing Independent Schools
    • Current & Coming Legal Topics
    • Governance & School Sustainability
    • Schools Must Think & Act Like a Brand
    • Independent Schools in the New Economy: Re-Imagining Sustainability
    • Leading with Trust
    • Practical Cognitive Science Principles for Differentiated Instruction with Rick Wormeli
    • Hot Legal Topics
  • 12:00-12:45 PM - Lunch + Exhibit Booths Open
  • 1:00-1:45 PM - Breakout Sessions
    • FEATURED TRACK: The Big Disconnect: Your Students in Class & Your Students Online (Grades 9-12) - sponsored by FOLLETT
    • 2,300 Parents Tell All: Realities of the Changed Admission Funnel
    • Smartphones, Tablets, & Laptops, Oh My!
    • The Advancement Team - Self Knowledge & Team Building
    • The Technology Director on the Academic Team?!
    • Take Action & Create Positive Change
    • Roundtable - Small Schools
    • Can You Be a Successful Head of School?
  • 1:45-2:00 PM - Break
  • 2:00-2:45 PM - Breakout Sessions
    • Got Grit: The Call to Educate Smart, Savvy, & Socially Intelligent Students in the Digital Age (all ages)
    • Using Google Apps for Education to Create a Collaborative School Culture
    • The Independent Schools' Survival Guide for Building Programs
    • What to do When Your School is Thrust in a Scandal
    • Ten Tidbits You Should Know About Independent School Law
    • Roundtable - Special Needs Schools
    • Roundtable - Lower School Heads
    • Roundtable - Upper School Heads
  • 3:00 PM - Conference Adjourns 
Featured speakers include:
Rick Wormeli, John Chubb, Ian Symmonds, Catherine Steiner-Adair
                Rick Wormeli                         Catherine Steiner-Adair                     Ian Symmonds
             Monday Keynote                       Monday Featured Track              Sunday Featured Track
 $425 (until September 25)

The registration fee includes all sessions plus these meals:
Saturday reception / Sunday breakfast, lunch, reception / Monday breakfast & lunch
Don't forget to reserve your hotel room at the Crowne Plaza Ravinia online or by phone at (800) 554-0055.  The SAIS rate is $129 and the cut-off date is September 25We expect the block to sell out, so please make your reservation as early as possible.  Please note that SAIS does not use a housing bureau; you should make your reservation directly with the hotel.

Sponsors & Exhibitors:


A Delicate Balance
Savoring Earth's Treasures
Book Review
Growth for the Future
2015 SAIS Annual Conference
Board/Head Retreat
Blogs of Note
Tweets of Note
2015 SAIS
 Board/Head Retreat

This retreat offers an excellent opportunity to strengthen the communication and partnership between the head and the board. 

It will take place at the Crowne Plaza Ravinia on October 17 from 10:00 AM-4:00 PM immediately prior to the 2015 SAIS Annual Conference.  Participation is limited to heads of school and board members.
The retreat will be led by Pat Bassett, President of Heads Up Educational ConsultingHe is a former teacher, college professor, head of school, and president of two independent school associations. He received his B.A. in English from Williams College and his M.A. in film studies from Northwestern University. He is a Kellogg National Leadership Fellow and has served on numerous boards.
More information at  
Blogs of Note
Peggy Hendrix, director of admissions at The Schenck School in Atlanta, tells the story about her son's diagnosis with dyslexia.  

Remember middle school dances? Read about this and the importance of traditions from Sarah Barton Thomas, middle school director at The Montgomery Academy in Montgomery, AL.

Sean Corcoran, head of Brainerd Baptist School in Chattanooga, TN, gives advice about managing kids' apps.

Beth Houf, principal of Fulton Middle School in Fulton, MO, offers inspiration to start off the school year with a bang.

Tweets of Note
Preschoolers learning about the Beatles, parachute day, inspiring introverts,
& more! 
Benchmarking Data Collection
It's time to enter your data into DASL by NAIS. We are not collecting this important statistical information and encourage all schools, regardless of NAIS membership to enter data. When you need a benchmark on salary or student ratios or operational expenditures, you will need it. Don't delay - data entry has already started. Visit for more information and to get started.
Just Say Cheese: 
Your Photos Wanted!

Got any great photos of your campus, students, or a special occasion at your school?  Would you be willing to let SAIS use them on our website, in marketing materials, and in publications such as this?  If so, please send high-resolution files to [email protected].
On-Site Board Workshops
SAIS President Dr. Kirk Walker and Vice President Damian Kavanagh are available to visit your campus and conduct on-site governance workshops. 

Trusteeship for Independent Schools

New Trustee Orientation

Becoming an Outstanding Board

The Changing Landscape of Independent School Governance