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2016 Institute for Heads
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We hope you'll plan to join us for the ninth year of this stimulating retreat designed for independent school heads and spouses.


This engaging, energizing, and nurturing retreat offers an opportunity for thoughtful dialogue and engagement with colleagues on key issues facing school heads. Featuring Rob Evans and Michael Thompson.


Tuesday-Friday, June 21-24, 2016

  • Registration is from 1:30-2:00 PM on Tuesday, June 21.
  • The first session will begin at 2:00 PM; please arrive no later than 1:45 PM.
  • We will conclude by 2:00 PM on Friday, June 24.


Wednesday & Thursday @ 5:00 PM

These optional sessions offer an opportunity to look at the personal side of leadership: the challenges of being the “first couple,” the particular burdens for spouses, partners, and children of heads, and so on. In past years, these discussions have been particularly rich. Whenever indicated, we will modify the topics to respond to a particular theme that emerges during the main institute discussions.


Omni Amelia Island Plantation | 39 Beach Lagoon Road, Amelia Island, FL 32034

  • Nestled on 1,350 acres at the tip of a barrier island just off the Northeast Florida coast, the Omni Amelia Island Plantation recently underwent an $85 million renovation. Enjoy luxurious oceanfront accommodations, world-class resort pools, relaxing beaches, full-service spa, a variety of dining options, and activities including biking, fishing, Segways, championship golf, tennis, a nature center, and much more! View the resort map here.


   SAIS Member School
 Non-Member School
 Through May 21
 $2,495  $2,799  $995
 May 21 - June 14
 $2,745  $3,079  $1,085
 After June 14
 $3,015  $3,379  $1,175



The date has passed for earlybird group reservation rates.  Please contact Lori Spear at or (404) 561-5841 for hotel information.


  • Check-in 4:00 PM.
  • Check-out 11:00 AM.
  • Late checkout: 1:00 PM check-out may be available for $75 (pending availability).
  • After 1:00 PM full nightly rate applies.


Travel arrangements to and from Jacksonville International Airport (JAX) may be made with the following vendors:

Dana's Limousine & Transportation Service | (904) 744-3333

  • Sedan (up to 2 people): $113.50
  • SUV (up to 5 people): $160

Front Runner Transportation | (904) 714-1277

  • Sedan (up to 2 people): $90
  • SUV (up to 5 people): $138

Prices are for one-way transportation service to/from JAX and include gratuity. Please call at least 7 days in advance to book your reservation.


Complimentary self-parking.  Valet parking available for a daily fee.


Tweet us @SAISnews! The official Twitter hashtag is #saisIH. Be sure to tag us when tweeting your event experience.


  • Best conference I have gone to in years. Michael and Rob are great, and the size was perfect. We got to know each other and people could contribute without being left out, which often happens in larger settings.
  • Nothing better after the school year is over than a retreat with Rob and Michael, in the nurturing SAIS environment.
  • The IH is a place where my spouse has an equal and valued voice. There is no other event like it.
  • I always leave the IH feeling like I received at least twice the value of what I invested in time and money.
  • This is three days of a good conference and three days of good therapy!
  • Excellent program! Dynamic, engaging presenters and great connections with colleagues.
  • With superb facilitators and impressive colleagues, the institute was a fabulous way to reflect on our roles from the "50,000 foot" perspective, while also recharging for the next year.
  • Absolutely the most helpful meeting of colleagues I have ever been involved in as a head.
  • Michael and Rob are the best facilitators around and they get people to share ideas, thoughts, concerns, etc. in a way that is incredibly supportive and helpful. Their presentations are also excellent but it is actually the facilitating ‐ getting the heads to share and learn from each other, which is extraordinary.
  • I came away refreshed, recharged and excited to return to my school. After 13 years as a head of school, this institute was wonderfully re-energizing.
  • I simply cannot say enough of the impact this made on me and my wife. It gave me understanding, guidance, and most important, strength to cope with a demanding job.
  • For the heads – and the spouses – Rob and Michael created a space for deep reflection, spontaneous laughter, and warm fellowship with new friends. Next year's dates are already in my calendar!
  • My wife really enjoys this conference. She needs this as much as I do. The fact she can connect with others in the same situation is wonderful for her.
  • This was the best conference/retreat I have ever attended, and I recommend it enthusiastically, not only because of the quality time with Rob and Michael, but also because of the interaction with fellow heads of school.
  • Rob and Michael are very receptive to the group dynamic and adjust to it as needed. The fact that they are both psychologists adds an important dimension to the institute.
  • This Institute has allowed my wife and me to return to school refreshed and armed to navigate the natural unavoidable dilemmas that are inherent in independent school communities.
  • This gathering of experienced heads of school is a must for any mid‐career head of school. It truly is a refresher, inspiration, and affirmation of what we do.
  • My wife felt that she was no longer alone in feeling the way she does about my job.
  • I really got a glimpse into my husband's world. Also, everything that I feel as a head's spouse was suddenly validated. It offered a great sense of relief.
  • Good way for my husband to learn that what we experience is typical and goes with the territory.
  • My wife not only felt that she understood my role in the school with more clarification, but felt the institute also greatly added benefit to her profession in the corporate world.


  • This institute is specifically designed to be relevant to spouses as well as heads.
  • It offers a chance for both heads and spouses to learn from and connect with others who share the same role.
  • In addition to a specific session that focuses on the "first couple" and sustaining a healthy marriage, other sessions frequently touch on themes that relate to the spouse's role or that help spouses understand the larger context of issues facing heads.
  • Spouses are welcome to attend every session, or just some, and to participate in the discussion.
  • Typically about half of the attendees bring spouses, and half attend solo.


Business casual (erring on the side of casual) is always safe with us. We want you to be comfortable. Be sure to bring a jacket or sweater in case you find the meeting room chilly. We tend to skew cooler rather than warmer. 


If you require any special accommodations, please contact


Please contact or (404) 561-5841 with any questions about this event.


Cancellation Policy: Cancellations received in writing to 21 days prior to the event will be refunded less a 20% processing fee. After that date no refunds are available.

Consent to Use of Photo / Video / Audio:  Registration, attendance at, or participation in SAIS meetings and other activities constitutes an agreement by the registrant to SAIS’s use and distribution (both now and in the future) of the registrant or attendee’s image or voice in photographs, videos, electronic reproductions, and audio of such events and activities.

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