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Summer of Leadership at SAIS

Monday, August 24, 2015  
Posted by: SAIS Staff
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What do 85 heads of school, 78 school administrators, 87 new teachers, and 61 assistants have in common? They spent time this summer in one of the 10 SAIS summer programs. Over 15 facilitators provided content and engagement on topics of strategic leadership, renewal and growth, and tips for new teachers. There was a design-thinking workshop to examine the SAIS accreditation process, training and networking for the head’s assistant, and strategic thinking exercises for the SAIS Board of Trustees. Over 170 independent schools took advantage of the SAIS summer offerings. The largest workshops this summer were the Institutes for New Teachers with 87 from 36 schools. But the largest single event was the inaugural Institute for the Head’s Assistant with 61 participants from 53 different schools. 

Institute for New Teachers: What would you tell future participants?

DON'T PANIC. Be open to new ideas. If you have a question or idea, say it - this is the time to get answers! Go a bit out of your comfort zone with your taped lesson. This is the time to see if something new works or not.

Your lessons will improve from the workshop. So if you think yours isn't up to the right caliber, it will be by the end of the session!

Institute for Strategic Leadership: What did you learn that you'd like to implement at your school?

I learned that our curriculum needs to mirror the changing society that we live in – “VUCA” [characterized by volatility, uncertainty
, complexity, ambiguity]. We need to set the stage for the future of independent schools looking drastically different than they are today. Visionary and strategic leaders will hold a huge advantage over schools that do more of the same.

Distributed leadership, capacity building, unique strategic purpose, how to grow as a leader.

Institute for the Head’s Assistant: What did you learn that you'd like to implement at your school?

How to continue to handle co-workers and administration team members at a professional level. Encourage them to take responsibility with the small things.

I learned many new ways to phrase comments or questions in the gatekeeper's role. Also learned ways to appropriately convey information to the head.

Administrative Leadership Institute: What was the most important part of the institute for you?

The chance to hear from colleagues and connect with in similar positions and get the sense that "I am not alone" in a role that, as we discussed, can be very isolating.

The most important part of the institute was learning about ways to deal with parents, hearing insights about effective communication, and learning from the experiences of others. It allowed our admin team to learn and grow together and gave us things to think about as we begin a new school year.

Institute for New Heads: What did you learn that you'd like to implement at your school?

So many things! I feel like a kid in a candy store! SAIS and the cohort of helpful heads from the INH will help me become more successful.

I really liked the idea of data gathering and my social media footprint.

Institute for Heads: What was the most important aspect of the institute? 

Reflection and renewal! I am able to use it as a quasi-therapy session. It is also good to connect with colleagues and friends. 

Structured to include full participation by spouses - only conference which does so . . . a place where my spouse has an equal and valued voice. 


Overwhelmingly, several themes emerged from the comments and feedback from participants. Everyone enjoyed meeting new colleagues and the networking opportunities that occur at SAIS events. Everyone left knowing more than they did before and having new tools and ways of thinking about their school and their role. Also, almost everyone wanted the programs to be longer so that the engagement could continue!

Thank you for attending. Thank you for providing meaningful feedback that will help SAIS continue to improve events designed to meet your needs. Thank you for continuing to support each other and the students and families whose lives you change every day.  

Calendar more
Institute for New Heads
June 13-15, 2018 | Peachtree Corners, GA
An informative program preparing administrators for a successful transition to headship.

Institute for Heads
June 19-22, 2018 | Asheville, NC
This energizing and nurturing retreat offers an opportunity for thoughtful dialogue and engagement with colleagues on key issues facing heads of school and their spouses.

All Events

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