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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.

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." - Byron Hulsey, Head of Woodberry Forest School

KEYNOTE SESSION: Navigating Modern-Day Realities: Stress & Adaptability
TIME: Tuesday, Oct 16, 9:00-10:00 AM


BREAKOUT SESSION: Enhancing Social, Emotional, and Cognitive Skills (SEC) in Schools, the Classroom, and Home
TIME: Tuesday, Oct 16, 10:30 AM-12:00 PM

  • Read Dr. Kang's bio here.

Dr. Khyati Joshi

FEATURED BREAKOUT SESSION: Building Our More Perfect Union: Getting Comfortable With Uncomfortable Conversations
Monday, Oct 15, 2:30-3:45 PM and 4:15-5:30 PM

  • Read Dr. Joshi's bio here.



Tim Fish

FEATURED KEYNOTE SESSION: Re-Imagining Independent Schools: An Innovator's Journey
Monday, Oct 15, 9:15-10:00 AM and 10:45 AM-12:00 PM

  • Read Tim Fish's bio here.



 SAIS Member School 
 Non-Member School 
Through August 16
 $395  $449
August 17 - September 21
 $455  $509
September 22 - October 3
 $495  $549
After October 3
 $525  $579



Please see hotel options under the "Hotel" button above. CUT-OFF IS FRIDAY, SEPT 29. If you experience any difficulty making your reservations, please contact



  • 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 at the headquarters hotel as well as valet parking for $10/day.


Each night SAIS will host a networking reception with cocktails and hors d'oeuvres. For your dining pleasure following those events, check out some of the OpenTable recommended local restaurants. Charleston is a foodie town; be sure to make your reservations in advance!






  • TWITTER: Tweet us @SAISnews! The official Twitter hashtag for the conference is #saisAC2018. 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.


  • 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!


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.

2018 SAIS Board/Head Retreat


Designed to strengthen the communication and partnership between the head of school and members of the board, the SAIS Board/Head Retreat offers the opportunity to collaborate on current challenges and identify common goals for the success of the school. This workshop will provide an overview of the challenging trends facing our industry and our students, as well as the opportunities ahead. Teams will work to identify the trends and topics that are most challenging for their particular schools and have time to collaborate on potential paths forward. Featuring Debra Wilson, Kawai Lai, and Jefferson Burnett.

The 2018 SAIS Board/Head Retreat 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 FACILITATORS: Debra Wilson, Jefferson Burnett, and Kawai Lai

Debra Wilson
General Counsel

Kawai Lai
Executive Director &Co-Founder

Jefferson Burnett
  SVP, Education Innovation

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