Letter from the President
Kirk Walker, Ph.D.
Our thanks to all of you who attended the annual conference ... more than 300 of you representing 165 schools in 12 states, plus Canada and Mexico. Hopefully, you found it to be informative,  engaging, and enjoyable. If you have not already, I encourage you to complete the post-conference survey. Your thoughts will be very helpful to us in planning the 2016 event. 
One of the keynote speakers commented that while the SAIS conference is a large one, it retains the feel of a small one. From my perspective, that is a real positive and a nice reflection of the wonderful work the staff (particularly Lori and Anna) do in creating that sense of smallness. It is my hope that however large (in numbers) the conference may become, it will continue to feel like a family reunion ... preferably the reunion of a family that gets along well with each other. 
As we gathered together, I was reminded of what a special group was assembled in that place: women and men not only devoted to education but also devoted to a vision of education that embraces the whole learner. However, I was also reminded of the challenges that all of our schools share in varying degrees: admissions, fundraising, governance, financial sustainability, strategic planning, etc. Since our association's goal is to support you in your mission, we remain committed to helping each of our member schools address these challenges. In a climate where governments are increasingly interested in regulating schools, we are committed to protecting our independence. In a field where teachers, administrators, and schools tend to operate in isolation, we are committed to connecting professionals for mutual benefit. And finally, in the rapidly changing world of research, we are committed to keeping you informed about the latest findings and trends. 
It is just what families do for each other. 
2015 SAIS Annual Conference Highlights  
With 43 sessions, 54 corporate sponsors and exhibitors, and two keynotes, the 308 school attendees of the 2015 SAIS Annual Conference enjoyed myriad opportunities for professional development, networking, and idea generation to take back to their home schools. The sessions themselves covered a wide range of topics, from LGBTQ issues to branding to ethics to division-specific roundtables for school leaders. >>Read more.


Click here to watch a video of the Highlights of the 2015 SAIS Stephen P. Robinson Collaboration Grants session.

Click here to watch a video of 2015 SAIS Annual Conference keynote speaker, Ian Symmonds' address.

2016 SAIS Athletic Directors Conference
For the first time, SAIS will host an Athletic Directors Conference, January 14-15, 2016, in Atlanta. Topics will include strategic leadership and operational excellence in the athletic offerings at the school, legal issues, social media and marketing, and concussions and return-to-play protocols. Registration is now open! >>More information.  >>Register here.   
The Myth of
the Perfect Girl   
By Ana Homayoun 
Reviewed by Payton Hobbs, Head of Lower School, Ravenscroft School, Raleigh, NC 
While scanning the covers of popular magazines, scrolling through social media feeds, and listening to conversations in gyms and coffee shops, I quickly realize why young girls believe in this "myth of the perfect girl." These girls see their mentors and role models struggling to find their own authentic success and happiness in our complex and interdependent world. >>Read more.
The word Events in cut out magazine letters pinned to a cork notice board. Events may refer to news
2016 Calendar of Events
SAIS offers a variety of affordable, accessible, and relevant professional development programs for independent school leaders. 
See the full SAIS calendar of events at www.sais.org/events.
See events hosted by our member schools at www.sais.org/otherevents.  
The Stephen P. Robinson Collaboration Grants 
The Stephen P. Robinson Collaboration Grants were created to encourage independent schools to form new partnerships with other schools, institutions of higher education, businesses, and/or nonprofits. SAIS will annually divide a total of $25,000 among two to five member schools. Those applying must demonstrate a vision and capacity to pursue and carry out meaningful collaborations. Successful examples have demonstrated efforts that benefit the greater community or region in unique ways. SAIS will accept proposals for the 2016 Collaboration Grants until December 31, 2015. >>Read more. 
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 
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].
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. Please complete our Legacy Club bio form.
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 http://dasl.nais.org for more information and to get started.


2015 SAIS Annual Conference Highlights
2016 SAIS Athletic Directors Conference
Book Review
2016 Calendar of Events
Stephen P. Robinson Collaboration Grants
On-Site Board Workshops
SAIS Featured School
Blogs of Note
Tweets of Note
The Great Thanksgiving Listen
SAIS Featured School
Darlington School 
Founded in 1905, Darlington School is an independent, college-preparatory PK-12 day and boarding school with boarding in grades 9-12. Our mission is to empower students to learn with passion, act with integrity, and serve with respect, and it is our goal that these lessons are carried with them as they move into the next phase of their lives and beyond. >>Read more. 

Would you like to be an SAIS featured school? Contact [email protected].
Blogs of Note
Jess Hill, upper school director at Harpeth Hall School in Nashville, TN, writes about the growing epidemic of perfectionism.

Jeff Sandefer, co-founder of Acton Academy in Austin, TX, offers motivation to young learners.

Jackie Westerfield, head of Grandview Preparatory School in Boca Raton, FL, points us toward success.

Byron Hulsey, head of Woodberry Forest School in Woodberry Forest, VA, writes about the calendar-driven pace of school life.

Tweets of Note
Halloween fun, what we can still learn from Mr. Rogers, and an awesome 4th grade video.
The Great Thanksgiving Listen
Teachers and students are invited to participate in The Great Thanksgiving Listen, an oral history project of StoryCorps in partnership with NCSS, NNSTOY, NYSAIS, Teach for America, NEA, and others. On Thanksgiving weekend, high school students are asked to record an interview with a grandparent or another elder using the free StoryCorps app. With permission from the participants, the interviews will then be uploaded to the StoryCorps archive at the Library of Congress.

>>For more information, visit
>>Teachers may download a toolkit here.