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2018 SAIS Annual Conference - Attendees
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2018 SAIS Annual Conference
October 14-16, 2018


The SAIS Annual Conference draws independent school leaders from throughout the region. In 2017, we hosted over 400 heads of school and administratorsAn informative, innovative, and comprehensive opportunity for independent school leaders to gather and discover proven strategies and emerging trends. Join us as we delve into hot topics and relevant issues. Attend sessions that fill in gaps in your experience, converse with leaders from schools with a similar size and budget, and learn from top-notch keynotes.

CALL FOR SESSION PROPOSALS: Share your knowledge and experience with your colleagues by submitting a session proposal here. The deadline is midnight on April 13, 2018.

Need to justify your attendance? Craft the perfect proposal using these key points.


The 2018 SAIS Annual Conference will take place October 14-16, 2018, at the Charleston Marriott 170 Lockwood Blvd, Charleston SC 29403.


Dr. Shimi Kang

"Dr. Shimi Kang is a powerful voice in the world of adolescent emotional health. She speaks to the challenges and opportunities in schools and families today, and her greatest gift is to leave the audience with practical tips and insights to bring to our work as educators as we care for children in our schools today." - Bryon Hulsey, Head of Woodberry Forest School

An award-winning Harvard-trained medical doctor, researcher, and expert on the science of human motivation, Dr. Shimi Kang offers the tools people of all ages need to succeed in the workplace and at home.

Dr. Kang is the former medical director of child and youth mental health for the City of Vancouver and clinical associate professor at the University of British Columbia. Dr. Kang is the author of The Self-Motivated Kid and The Dolphin Parent: A Guide to Raising Healthy, Happy, and Motivated Kids. The Dolphin Parent is a critically acclaimed book that became a #1Canadian Bestseller, released in Germany, Russia, and China, and won the 2015 U.S. News International Book Award.

Dr. Kang is a writer whose articles have been featured in the Huffington Post, Psychology Today, and TIME Magazine. She is a TEDx speaker and health expert for major media outlets such CTV & CBC National News.

Dr. Kang is seriously concerned about the direction of humanity and has made promoting mental health and wellness a priority. She is a global presence ambassador for The Global Presence which is a humanitarian organization that works to promote life skills for youth around the world. She recently launched DolphinKIDS: Future-Ready Leaders, her own innovation, leadership, and wellness program for youth in Canada, U.S., and India. She is also very proud of receiving the Diamond Jubilee Medal for her years of outstanding community service.

Dr. Khyati Joshi

Khyati Y. Joshi is a professor of education at Fairleigh Dickinson University. Dr. Joshi is the recipient of the 2014 FDU Distinguished Faculty Award for Research and Scholarship. She is the author and co-editor of many publications including: New Roots in America’s Sacred Ground: Religion, Race, and Ethnicity in Indian America; Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice; Asian Americans In Dixie: Race and Migration in the South; Understanding Religious Oppression and Christian Privilege; and authored numerous book chapters and articles on race, immigration, and religion.

In addition to numerous presentations to U.S. academic conferences, Professor Joshi has been invited to present her research on Hindu communities at the White House; to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to Vienna, Austria, where she addressed the racialization of religion, particularly Hinduism, Sikhism and Islam, as it relates to the development of policies to prevent and combat hate crimes in the OSCE region; and at several conferences in India, including an international conference of scholars on the Indian Diaspora sponsored by the Government of India. She has delivered continuing education seminars for members of the New Jersey Judiciary and bar, including NJ’s Judicial College. She was a consultant for the Pew Research Forum’s groundbreaking survey on Asian Americans and Religion.

Professor Joshi earned her doctorate in social justice education at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. She is a graduate of Emory University and pursued post-graduate studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Often contacted by journalists, Professor Joshi has appeared on C-Span, has been interviewed on PRI’s The World and Danish Public Radio, and been quoted in New York Times, The Times of India, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, Deseret News, the Boston Globe, Voice of America, the Houston Chronicle, India Abroad, the Saint Louis Dispatch, the Star Ledger, The Tennessean, and the Daily Record of New Jersey.

Pat Bassett

Prior to co-founding Heads Up Educational Consulting in 2013, a consulting firm that provides strategic, operational, governance, and programmatic guidance and consultation to educational enterprises, Patrick F. Bassett spent his entire career in education. He began in 1970 as a teacher in an independent school, then subsequently becoming the head of two independent schools, followed by assuming the role of president of ISACS, a regional association of independent schools, on his professional path that ultimately led in August 2001 to appointment as the president of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS).

He retired from NAIS in June of 2013, and became co-founder and senior consultant of Heads Up Educational Consulting. In that role, he continues to lead workshops, give keynote address, facilitate strategic planning and executive searches, and train boards, school leaders, and faculty on what constitute great schools, great teachers, and great leaders. Bassett began his career in independent schools in 1970 as an English teacher, lacrosse coach, and dorm parent at Woodberry Forest School, an all-boys boarding school. In 1980, he became head of an all-girls school, Stuart Hall, where he remained until 1989, when he was appointed head of school at Pomfret School. From 1993-2001, Bassett was the president of the Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS). He is an adjunct faculty member of Teachers College, Columbia University. Bassett has served on the board as a trustee of NAIS, The Multicultural Alliance, The Council for Spiritual and Ethical Education, The Council for American Private Education, and the National Network of Schools in Partnership.

He currently serves on the board of trustees of United Educators (a school and university risk management insurance company), Finalsite (a website & mobile technologies company), Woodberry Forest School, the Benedict Foundation, Three-W International (an international student placement and services company), and Grab the Torch (a non-profit dedicated to inculcating philanthropy in youth). Professional recognition has included being named a Kellogg National Leadership Fellow in 1986; a recipient of the Educational Leadership Award in 2000 by The Klingenstein Center of Teachers College; and global leadership awards from The European Council for International Schools (ECIS), from the Near East South Asia Council of Overseas Schools (NESA), and from NAIS. A Phi Beta Kappa, magna cum laude graduate of Williams College where he was captain of the lacrosse team, Bassett also holds a master's degree in film studies from Northwestern University.


Registration is not yet open. If you would like to be notified when registration opens, please email

 SAIS Member School 
 Non-Member School 
Through August 16
 $395  $449
August 17 - September 27
 $455  $509
After September 27
 $495  $549



Share your knowledge and experience with your colleagues by submitting a session proposal here. The deadline is midnight on April 13, 2018.


You may make hotel reservations online or by calling (843) 723-3000 and asking for the SAIS rate. The discounted rate of $179 is available through September 21, 2018. Hotel check-in time is 4:00 PM. Check-out time is 11:00 AM. Complimentary wifi in guest rooms. Complimentary on-site parking available as well as valet parking for $10/day. As we expect the block to sell out, be sure to make your reservations early.

Please note that SAIS is not using a housing bureau for room reservations. SAIS nor the hotel will call you and ask you to make reservations over the phone. If you receive a phone call saying you need to make reservations, it is a scam. Please make your reservations online or by calling the hotel directly.


Craft the perfect proposal using these key points.


  • AIRPORT: Charleston International Airport (CHS)
  • MAPS & TRANSPORTATION: The Charleston Marriott is located about 15 minutes from the Charleston International Airport (CHS). Please see the hotel's maps & transportation page for more information.
  • PARKING: Complimentary on-site parking is available as well as valet parking for $10/day.






  • TWITTER: Tweet us @SAISnews! The official Twitter hashtag for the conference is #saisAC18. Please tag us when tweeting about the conference.
  • FACEBOOK: Like the SAIS Facebook page.
  • INSTAGRAM: Follow us on Instagram @SAISnews.


Click here for information about previous conferences, including keynote speakers, dates, and locations.


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, but replacement registrants are welcomed.


  • The value for the price is beyond excellent. I heard numerous attendees comment on the quality of programs and benefit of attendance while they were still at the conference - very high praise for the sessions and networking opportunities.
  • Always a great opportunity to meet other heads and network with each other. Great conference!
  • This was really a great conference. I found the vendors open and helpful. The speakers were very inspiring while being relevant to all schools. I also met new people and re-connected with others, all invaluable connections.
  • The SAIS conference continues to represent the best value of any state, regional, or national conference of which I am aware.
  • Just astounded at the wonderful sessions and the timeliness of all the information. Great presentations that are valuable to our organizations. Will help us strengthen our schools!
  • Both the sessions and the conversations are wonderful, and vital to improving my ability to further my school's direction.
  • The SAIS conference is consistently the best educational event that I attend.
  • The sessions were all so good, it was hard to decide this year! The conference was extremely valuable and one I will continue to attend!
  • Top notch "right now" trending talks. The presenters were knowledgeable, smart, clear, fun and made a real difference with me.
  • I always love this convention. I learn as much through networking opportunities as from the presenters.
  • I find that SAIS events are always above average and exceedingly well-organized, well-planned, and full of relevant and intriguing content.
  • This is the one conference I insist upon attending every year.
  • Best value for the dollar.  Great job!
  • I learned, once again, that there are both others out there experiencing and striving for the same things I am, and that there are others finding the same frustrations I am. This is good to know.
  • The most important thing about the conference was the opportunity to network with administrators from schools whose demographics were similar to our own. The conference schedule allowed for a great deal of such interactions that were very useful to me.
  • I was able to attend sessions that filled in gaps in my experience as an educator.
  • I was happy to make new connections this year, and I also appreciated the collaborative format in the workshops. Clearly much time was spent working with the presenters in advance. SAIS just keeps getting better and better.
  • Excellent presenters, with pertinent content, strategies, and ideas that can easily be used upon returning to my school.
  • This was my first visit to the conference and I gained so much that I definitely plan on returning next year.
  • With economic issues, I only attend one conference a year and I always select the SAIS Annual Conference.
  • Great content, well executed, up to usual SAIS standards.
  • The conference is excellent and a great value.  It is amazing how SAIS provides all this for the price!

2018 SAIS Board/Head Retreat


The 2018 SAIS Board/Head Retreat is an excellent opportunity to strengthen the relationship between the head and the board. Participation in this retreat is limited to heads of school and board members. It will take place on Sunday, October 14, from 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM at the Charleston Marriott, 170 Lockwood Blvd, Charleston, SC 29403. More information may be found at

2018 BHR FACILITATOR: Debra Wilson

Debra Wilson

Debra Wilson is general counsel for the National Association of Independent Schools. She received her B.A. in English from Sewanee, The University of the South, and her J.D. from the University of South Carolina at Columbia. Debra joined NAIS in 2000. As general counsel, Debra executes or coordinates all legal work of NAIS. She also oversees the association’s government relations work, including reviewing regulations, legislation, and cases impacting independent schools. She has written many articles on the legal issues that impact independent schools. Debra presents on the various legal issues that schools face and is committed to helping schools mitigate legal risks on the front end. Beyond the legal realm, Debra is also involved in the governance work at NAIS, including co-authoring the Trustee Handbook with Donna Orem.

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