Print Page   |   Contact Us
2018 Institute for Heads | June 19-22
Share |


All heads are invited to join us for year 11 of this stimulating and unique retreat designed for both the head and spouse.


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. The number of participants is limited to foster connections and allow for contributions from all attendees. Featuring Rob Evans and Michael Thompson.

Topics for the 2018 institute include:

  • Preventing and Coping with Abuse and Misconduct
  • Anxious Parents, Anxious Children
  • Dynamics of Succession and the Secret Search
  • Building and Maintaining a Strong Leadership Team
  • Talking Turkey About Performance with Faculty and Trustees
  • The Professionalization of School Sports
  • Being Married to the Head and the School: How Spouses Cope
  • Health, Wellness, and Mindfulness: How Much Should Schools Be Doing?


Tuesday-Friday, June 19-22, 2018

  • Registration opens at 1:30 PM on Tuesday, June 19.
  • The first session will begin at 2:00 PM.
  • We will conclude by 12:00 PM on Friday, June 22.


Renaissance Asheville | 31 Woodfin Street | Asheville, NC


   SAIS Member School
 Non-Member School
 Through April 23
 $2,295  $2,499  $895
 April 24 - June 4
 $2,395  $2,599  $950
 After June 4
 $2,495  $2,699  $995



You may make hotel reservations online or by calling 1-800-468-3571. The discounted SAIS block rate is no longer available. Hotel check-in time is 4:00 PM. Check-out time is 11:00 AM. Complimentary wifi in guest rooms and complimentary self-parking available. 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.



  • AIRPORT: Asheville Regional Airport (AVL)
  • GROUND TRANSPORTATION: The Renaissance Asheville Hotel is located 15 minutes from the Asheville airport (AVL).
  • MAPS & DIRECTIONS: If you are driving, please see the hotel's  maps & directions page.
  • PARKING: Complimentary on-site parking is available.


Your registration fee includes a reception and dinner on Tuesday, breakfast and lunch on Wednesday and Thursday, and breakfast on Friday. Dinner on Wednesday and Thursday is on your own. Take a look at some of the OpenTable recommended local restaurants.


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


Special group reduced rate of $20/day for valet parking.


  • Michael and Rob never disappoint. They are both deftly helpful, funny and warm, and know how to bring out the best discussion and then provide meaning around it. I get more out of this than I did out of graduate school.
  • Being with fellow travelers, you get refocused and reenergized because you know you aren't in it alone. I value these relationships. It's not about networking; it's about bettering each other and our profession.
  • Rob and Michael are the reason we go. We love their commitment to independent schools and their willingness to revitalize school leaders each summer!
  • I found the spouse session to be emotionally hard, yet beneficial. My wife and I had great talks after this session; it will help us to prioritize our family and keep our relationship strong despite the challenges of the job.
  • The facilitators created a safe space for us all to connect, share, and get to know one another.
  • It was great for me to have my wife hear some of the things we deal with on a daily basis and great for her to have other spouses with whom she could share.
  • The IH serves for me as both an excellent heads conference and three days of therapy!
  • 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.
  • 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.


Payment: Payment is required by credit card at the time of registration.

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, but replacement registrants are welcomed.

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.

Target Audience: SAIS professional development events are designed for those in the K-12 independent school community. Topics such as working with parents and the board are presented and discussed through the lens of the independent school culture. As such, registration is limited to those from independent schools that are either already members of SAIS or from non-member schools that meet the membership candidacy criteria.

Calendar more
Winter Conference
January 27-29 | Franklin, TN
SAIS Academic Support Conference, SAIS Athletic Directors Conference, MISBO-SAIS Auxiliary Programs Conference & MISBO-SAIS Finance Institute.

Membership Management Software Powered by YourMembership  ::  Legal