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2019 Board/Head Retreat
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Designed to strengthen the communication and partnership between the head of school and members of the board, this program offers the opportunity to collaborate on current challenges and identify common goals for the success of the school.

Participants will examine tensions inherent in the board/head relationship and explore current issues and pressures that complicate the independent school environment. To navigate these difficult waters successfully, the head and board must communicate effectively with one another as well as the wider community.

Led by Jack Creeden, Amada Torres, and Debra Wilson.

This event is sponsored by Mills Uniform Company


Sunday, October 27, 2019

  • Registration is from 9:30-10:00 AM.
  • The first session will begin at 10:00 AM.
  • We will conclude by 4:00 PM.


Crowne Plaza Ravinia, 4355 Ashford-Dunwoody Rd, Atlanta, GA 30346



Member School 



Through August 16
$295 $339
August 17 - September 13
$315 $359
September 14 - October 11
$335 $379
After October 11
$385 $429


The SAIS block is closed. Rooms may still be available at the regular hotel rate.

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.


Jack Creeden has over 20 years of school leadership experience. He was head of school at multiple independent schools and served as the president of School Year Abroad, leading schools in China, France, Italy, and Spain. Before embarking upon his career in independent schools, he held administrative positions at the University of Wisconsin and Rutgers University in New Jersey. He has also been a leader in the independent school community, mentoring aspiring heads, conducting governance workshops, and serving as chair of the Board of Trustees for NAIS. Dr. Creeden holds a bachelor’s degree in English from College of the Holy Cross, as well as a master’s degree in English literature and a Ph.D. in educational administration from the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Amada Torres is vice president of studies, insights, and research at NAIS. She attended the Universidad del Pacifico, and received a M.S. in business economics from the University of Essex.

Debra Wilson joined the SAIS staff in July 2019. She grew up in Connecticut, where she graduated from the Williams School, an independent school located on the campus of Connecticut College. She received her B.A. in English from Sewanee, The University of the South, and her J.D. from the University of South Carolina at Columbia. Debra previously served as general counsel for NAIS and as a tax litigator at the Department of Justice. She has presented to school leaders around the country and abroad. She is an avid reader, photographer, and cook, and loves to be outdoors in the low country of South Carolina. Wilson and her husband, James, reside in Mount Pleasant, SC, with their three children.


  • AIRPORT: Hartsfield Jackson International Airport (airport code = ATL)
  • GROUND TRANSPORTATION: The hotel is 1 mile from the Dunwoody MARTA station on the red line ($2.50 one way). Cabs are also available to/from the airport ($60 one way).



  • The BHR is the best of all possible meetings with your board chair/head. I came away feeling and thinking more confidently about my headship and how to map us toward our future.
  • As always, useful. Worth the time, effort, and money to attend.
  • I thoroughly enjoyed the entire conference. It is always delightful to interact with colleagues and SAIS is always professional with their delivery.
  • The retreat was a great reminder of what is involved in a successful Board-Head relationship.
  • The BHR was very helpful for my relationship with the chair.
  • Very valuable and my board chair was very appreciative of the information shared/learned.
  • The retreat was very helpful in affirming as well as challenging our current practices as a board. I appreciate the fact that SAIS offers this learning experience for heads and chairs to attend together.
  • The most important thing about the BHR was validation that these relationships between boards and heads are unique, intimate, and that it's absolutely necessary to cultivate them. 
  • Glad to have the opportunity to bring the board chair to SAIS to see what it's like, how much support and collegiality there is, and that he is doing a great job!


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 currently employed by K-12 independent schools. Topics are presented from an independent school perspective and discussed based on that unique culture. As such, registration is limited to faculty/staff from SAIS member schools or from non-member schools meeting the SAIS candidacy criteria. Please contact if you have questions about eligibility.

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