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SAIS President Search Updates
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SAIS President Search Updates


November 7, 2014

The SAIS Board of Trustees is pleased to announce that Dr. Kirk Walker has been selected to serve as the next SAIS President, succeeding Dr. Steve Robinson on July 1, 2015.

Dr. Walker is well known to the independent school community, having served as Head of The Bright School, Ensworth School, and McCallie School. He is currently serving as Interim Head of Webb School of Knoxville. Dr. Walker's deep engagement in SAIS includes seminal moments in the Association's history including the launch of the initial SAIS accreditation program in 2001, serving as chair of the 2006 Search Committee that brought Dr. Steve Robinson to SAIS, and leading eleven SAIS accreditation visits. Additionally, he has served on the SAIS Board of Trustees in many capacities including Secretary, Treasurer, Accreditation Committee Chair, and Board Chair, as well as having served on and chaired the board of the Tennessee Association of Independent Schools (TAIS). 

This historical perspective will serve Dr. Walker well as he meets the challenge of leading the membership and the SAIS Board of Trustees through long-term planning. The SAIS Board of Trustees is committed to articulating a future that respects the tremendous contributions of the past, recognizes the continuity of the present, and can adapt to the unknown challenges of the future. Dr. Walker brings unparalleled institutional memory to the task of leading the organization through a process of clarifying its goals and vision.

Dr. Walker was born and raised in Chattanooga, TN, and is a graduate of McCallie School. He holds a B.A. in Comparative Religion from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and an M.S. in English Education plus a Ph.D. in Curriculum Development from Vanderbilt University. He and his wife Patsi are parents to a daughter and two sons. He enjoys traveling with his family, hiking, scuba diving, reading, music, and badminton.

We are fortunate that SAIS is extraordinarily strong and continues to fulfill its mission of strengthening member schools by providing high quality accreditation processes, comprehensive leadership growth opportunities, and visionary leadership development programs. Through the dedicated leadership of staff, the association will continue to thrive during this period of introspection, environmental scanning, and future planning.

In accepting the appointment as the next SAIS President, Dr. Walker said, "I am both honored and excited. Over the years, I have been continually impressed by the Association's commitment to serving the needs of its member schools and to advancing quality education. I welcome the opportunity to be a part of its future."

Welcome to SAIS, Dr. Walker!

Update from the Search Committee

October 22, 2014

The SAIS Search Committee, in partnership with Brigham Hill Consultants, launched a national search in July 2014 for a new President for SAIS. The search process yielded many qualified candidates, four of whom were selected as finalists. The finalists were interviewed by the Search Committee on October 20-21, following the SAIS Annual Conference in Atlanta. The selection of the President requires full board approval, which will take place at the December 2014 meeting.

SAIS President Profile

August 28, 2014

Information and application instructions for the SAIS President search are available in the SAIS President Profile.  Inquiries about the search should be directed to Jessica Cockrell, Brigham Hill Consultancy,

Announcement from the SAIS Search Committee

August 25, 2014

On behalf of the Search Committee of SAIS, I am delighted to announce that we have retained Brigham Hill Consultancy to assist with our upcoming President search to identify and appoint the successor to Steve Robinson. Based in Dallas, the firm has extensive experience conducting searches for independent schools, educational associations, and other nonprofit organizations across the nation. Former clients include the National Business Officers Association, the Independent Schools Association of Northern New England, Durham Academy, Ensworth School, Woodward Academy, and Tampa Preparatory School, to name a few. We are very pleased to be assisted by Linc Eldredge and Jessica Cockrell of Brigham Hill.

In addition, the Search Committee has been formed and includes the following:

  • Marifred Cilella, Howard School (Atlanta, GA)
  • Barbara Daush, St. Agnes Academy-St. Dominic School (Memphis, TN)
  • Byron Hulsey, Woodberry Forest School (Woodberry Forest, VA)
  • Dennis Manning, Norfolk Academy (Norfolk, VA)
  • Ned Murray, Episcopal Day School (Augusta, GA)
  • Darren Pascavage, Valwood School (Valdosta, GA)
  • Mark Reed, Charlotte Country Day School (Charlotte, NC)

I am honored to serve as Chair of the Search Committee, and I look forward to being in touch as the search progresses this fall. In the meantime, if you have any general input or would like to suggest a candidate, we invite you to contact Brigham Hill directly at


Darren Pascavage
Chair, SAIS Search Committee
Head, Valwood School

Announcement from Barbara Daush, Chair, SAIS Board of Trustees

July 24, 2014

Dear SAIS Community,
By now you may have received the mailed announcement of Steve Robinson's resignation from SAIS effective June 30, 2015.  We are excited for Steve as he embarks on a new journey to Honduras, and we are appreciative of his many contributions to SAIS over the past seven years.  
A search committee has been formed and details will be available once the process has been finalized.

Barbara Daush
Chair, SAIS Board of Trustees
Head, St. Agnes Academy-St. Dominic School


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