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2020 Annual Conference - NOW VIRTUAL!
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An innovative virtual opportunity for independent school leaders that will take place October 21-23. Content will be geared toward heads of school, senior administrators, and other aspiring leaders. More information will be shared as plans are finalized.


Wednesday, Oct 21 | 1:30-5:30 PM Eastern
Thursday, Oct 22 | 9:00 AM-3:45 PM Eastern  
Friday, Oct 23 | 9:00 AM-1:00 PM Eastern


Wednesday, October 21

Reuben Brigety

Reuben Brigety is the 17th vice-chancellor and president of The University of the South. Prior to this role, Brigety was dean of the Elliott School of International Affairs at The George Washington University and former U.S. ambassador to the African Union. He also served as the permanent representative of the U.S. to the UN Economic Commission for Africa and as deputy assistant secretary of state in the Bureau of African Affairs. Prior to his work in the policy arena, Brigety was an assistant professor of government and politics at George Mason University and before that taught international relations at the School of International Service at American University. Before entering academia, he conducted research missions in Afghanistan and Iraq with the Arms Division of Human Rights Watch. Brigety is a 1995 distinguished midshipman graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and holds a master’s degree in philosophy and a Ph.D. in international relations from the University of Cambridge.

Debby Irving

Debby Irving is one of many voices in the national racial justice community. Irving educates and consults individuals and organizations seeking to create racial equity at the personal, interpersonal, institutional, and ideological levels. Irving has worked in the Boston area to bring diversity, inclusion, and community-building to schools and arts institutions. She's worked in private and public urban schools to foster community by focusing on honest dialog that educates and connects people through collective wisdom and divergent backgrounds. Since 2009, Irving has worked exclusively to support people wanting to learn about how racism and white privilege operate in their own lives and institutions. Her book, Waking Up White tells the story of her two-steps-forward-one-step back journey away from racial ignorance. More information at

Thursday, October 22

Heather Hoerle & John Katzman

Heather Hoerle became executive director of The Enrollment Management Association in 2011, following 20+ years of progressive leadership roles at The Association of Boarding Schools and NAIS. Since joining EMA, she's worked to innovate and build new enrollment services for the wider independent school industry. As an advocate for enrollment management professionals, Hoerle seeks to empower school leaders to build enrollment strategy through research and data-driven planning. Hoerle serves on three independent school boards (New Jersey Association of Independent Schools, National Business Officer's Association, Princeton Academy of the Sacred Heart) and enjoys the challenge of future-focused governance work.

John Katzman is the founder and chief executive officer of Noodle Partners. Before founding Noodle Partners, Katzman founded and was CEO of 2U, which helps the University of Southern California, Georgetown, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Washington University, Northwestern University, and other institutions build and run high-quality online degree programs. Prior to 2U, he founded and ran The Princeton Review, which helped half of the students applying to U.S. colleges and universities each year find, get into, and pay for school. Katzman serves on several boards including Renaissance Learning, the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, and the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.

Michael Horn & Jeff Selingo (learn more about their keynote session here)

Michael Horn is a senior strategist at Guild Education, which partners with leading employers and organizations to help offer education and upskilling opportunities to America’s workforce. He is also the co-founder of and a distinguished fellow at the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation. He is the author of three books: Choosing College, Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns, and Blended: Using Disruptive Innovation to Improve Schools . He serves on the board and advisory boards of a range of education organizations, including the Clayton Christensen Institute, the Robin Hood Learning+Tech Fund, and the LearnLaunch Institute. He also serves as an executive editor at Education Next and is a venture partner at NextGen Venture Partners. Horn holds a B.A. in history from Yale University and an M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School. More information at

Jeff Selingo is the author of two New York Times bestsellers, College (Un)Bound and There Is Life After College. His next book, Who Gets In & Why: A Year Inside College Admissions, will be published in September 2020. He writes regularly for The Atlantic, the Washington Post , the New York Times, the Chronicle of Higher Education and is co-host of the podcast, FUTURE U. Selingo is a special advisor for innovation to the president at Arizona State University, where he is the founding director of the Academy for Innovative Higher Education Leadership. He is also a visiting scholar at Georgia Tech’s Center for 21st Century Universities. His work has been honored with awards from the Education Writers Association, Society of Professional Journalists, and the Associated Press. He received a bachelor’s degree from Ithaca College and a master’s degree from the Johns Hopkins University. He is a member of the board of trustees at Ithaca College. More information at

Friday, October 23

Nina Kumar & Suniya Luthar (learn more about their keynote session here)

Nina Kumar is co-founder and chief executive officer of Authentic Connections, an organization aimed at maximizing well-being in school communities through data and insights. Prior to Authentic Connections, Kumar was a product manager at IBM Watson Health. Kumar graduated from Williams College with a B.A. in computer science and psychology and a concentration with honors in cognitive science.

Suniya Luthar is professor emerita at Columbia University’s Teachers College and co-founder and chief research officer of Authentic Connections, a science-based organization committed to maximizing well-being in school communities. Her research involves vulnerability and resilience among various populations including youth in poverty, teens in upper-middle class families, and parents (especially mothers) in high-achieving, stressful communities. 


Jon Meacham

Jon Meacham is a presidential historian, Pulitzer Prize-winning author, and one of America’s most prominent public intellectuals. Known as a skilled orator with a depth of knowledge about politics, religion, and current affairs, Meacham brings historical context to the issues and events impacting our daily lives. He is the author of numerous New York Times bestsellers and a contributor to TIME and The New York Times Book Review. He served as Newsweek’s managing editor from 1998 to 2006 and editor from 2006 to 2010. Named a “Global Leader for Tomorrow” by the World Economic Forum, he is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a fellow of the Society of American Historians, and chairs the National Advisory Board of the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Washington University. Meacham is a Distinguished Visiting Professor of History at The University of the South and a Visiting Distinguished Professor at Vanderbilt.


SAIS Member
School Personnel
School Personnel
Through Sept 25 $195 per person $299 per person $329 per person
After Sept 25
$245 per person $349 per person $379 per person



Member schools with seven or more registrants will receive registration rebates based on the chart below. Rebates will be issued within 30 days of the conference.

Attendees 7-12 $50 per person
Attendees 13-20 $75 per person
More than 20 attendees? Contact for pricing.







    Click here for information about previous conferences, including keynote speakers, dates, and locations.


    • The SAIS Annual Conference is state of the art. The topics are fantastic, the participants are friendly and engaging, and the SAIS staff is the gold standard. They work hard to make the experience as pleasant and easy as they can.
    • The event is, without question, one of the highlights of the season -- a forum that we find so valuable!
    • I have finally figured out why this is the best conference we attend. National conference can be too unwieldy. State conferences only have attendees only from a specific state. At SAIS, school leaders who have known one another for a long time but now work in different places can reunite. As a result, the web of connections between participants is deeper, richer, and longer. This creates a congenial tone unmatched at other events and therefore makes the SAIS conference more productive than any other.


    • This has been a really wonderful conference! I hadn't attended an SAIS event previously, and although I wasn't sure if virtual would be ideal, I have learned so much. Networking and sharing ideas with my cohort was extremely beneficial. I look forward to attending in-person one day!
    • I was shocked at how smoothly this virtual event went! Every detail was covered, and I learned so much while making connections with others. The hours were great and breaks were long enough but not so long that time was wasted. While I hope to attend a conference in person sometime soon, the virtual option allowed for more flexibility. I would have been unable to attend without the online option.
    • Your tech worked perfectly. The goody box that was mailed to us in advance with the printed program plus the linked conference schedule and the daily emails with links ALL contributed to an easy-peasy experience.
    • I am enjoying this conference and the Zoom format. The chat allows backchannel discussion and additional information exchange. I also enjoyed the cohort discussions.
    • The only negative was not being able to see colleagues in person. That said, there were many more positives to this format.
    • Thank you for all that y'all are doing to make this conference possible, even on a virtual platform! I am really learning a lot, and I appreciate it.


    If you require special accommodations or have any questions, please contact


    Cancellation Policy: Cancellations received before October 7 via will be refunded less a 10% processing fee. After that date refunds are no longer 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.

    Calendar more
    Annual Conference
    October 21-23 | Virtual
    Various dates & topics
    Virtual Roundtables
    Held monthly by role
    More Events

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