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2016 Institute for New Heads
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We hope you'll plan to join us for the ninth year of this institute designed for those new to headship.


A necessary primer to headship and a chance to sharpen your vision for the first years as head. The institute will cover topics such as leadership, balance, strategic planning, managing financials & externals, mission driven schools, and working with boards, faculty, staff, & parents. Led by a panel of experienced heads including Jack Hall (The Walker School), Christie Holman (The Walker School), Damian Kavanagh (SAIS), Jay Underwood (High Meadows School), Kirk Walker (SAIS), and Kristin Watts (Trinity School of Atlanta).


June 15-17, 2016


Emory Conference Center & Hotel | 1615 Clifton Rd | Atlanta, GA 30329
Meeting Room: Trillium (South Wing)


 SAIS Member School 
 Non-Member School 
Through May 15
 $795  $899
May 15 - June 8
 $855  $959
After June 8
 $915  $1,019



Emory Conference Center hotel reservations may be made prior to May 25 by phone at 1-800-933-6679 under the group name “SAIS” or online. The room rate is $169/night plus applicable taxes and fees.


Check-in time is 4:00 PM. Check-out time is 12:00 PM. Your room may be ready early on Wednesday when you arrive. If not, feel free to bring your bags with you to the meeting room.


Hartsfield Jackson International Airport (airport code = ATL)


The Emory Conference Center & Hotel is located 30 minutes from the Atlanta airport (ATL).  We recommend using a taxi, Uber/Lyft, or shuttle service:


If you are driving, please see the hotel's maps & directions page.


Parking is complimentary for all participants. Please read below for details based on your lodging status.

  • Lodging: If you are staying at Emory, please park in the garage that is located below the hotel on the far left side of the main entrance.  Take a ticket when you enter.  Your room key will allow access privileges to the parking garage.
  • Non-Lodging: If you are a local participant, you may park in the garage below the hotel on the far left or in the South deck, which is on the right as you enter the hotel property.  Please keep the parking ticket you receive upon entry.  When you depart, you will enter that ticket followed by a chaser ticket that you will receive at the institute registration desk.


Your registration fee includes all meals beginning with Wednesday dinner and ending with Friday breakfast. If you are a local participant and will not attend the dinners, please let us know in advance so we can adjust our meal counts.


There will be wireless internet available throughout the conference center.


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


  • I’ve been to a lot of conferences in my career, and this is the best I’ve ever attended. There are other courses for new heads available, but the SAIS Institute for New Heads is by far the best value for the money.
  • A good chance to reflect on a vision for your first year(s) -- perhaps one of your last times to reflect with leisure and to plan for the big picture.
  • I appreciated the chance to build friendships and professional relationships with fellow new heads that will be a valuable resource in the days, weeks and years ahead. I visit by email or in person with several of my classmates regularly.
  • The SAIS Institute for New Heads was a rich experience to learn from some of the most experienced independent school leaders in the country, to collaborate with other new heads in the same position, and to go away with a notebook of synthesized materials covering every school topic a new head confronts. More than a traditional conference, the collegiality and mentorship from the INH will last a lifetime. If there is any conference a new head should attend his or her first year, this is the one.
  • It validated much of what I hope to accomplish as a new head as well as sparked new ideas.
  • I benefited so very much from the kindness, support, and brilliance of the facilitators. It was an opportunity that I am glad I did not miss in my first year as a head of school.
  • The opportunity to develop relationships at the INH was most encouraging. Networking with experienced heads and having the opportunity to learn from them was also a high point for me personally.
  • The institute was extremely worthwhile. It gave me the time to figure out what goals I have as a head of school and what drives me. It also reminded me that I am to be the leader for which I was chosen ... not to try and copy my predecessor.
  • The most valuable thing I will take away from the conference was being able to observe the attitude and perspective of great leaders.
  • I feel like SAIS and a cohort of heads will help me become more successful as a new head.
  • Networking with other heads was the most important part of the institute for me. Hearing the small pieces from the heads helped me realize that being a head is not all about budgets, technology, and curriculum. Being a head is about relationships with parents, community, and students. I was afraid that becoming a head would remove me from the students, but Scott Wilson proved to me that you can still be involved by opening car doors during carpool and engaging in school spirit as well.


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.

Calendar more
SAIS@NAIS Reception
February 27 | Long Beach, CA
Please stop by SAIS booth #882 in the exhibit hall too!

Leadership Retreat
April 15-16 | New Orleans, LA
Join us for a real conversation about women in independent school leadership.

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