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2020 Annual Conference | October 18-20 | Nashville, TN
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An informative, innovative, and comprehensive opportunity for independent school leaders to gather and discover proven strategies and emerging trends. Join over 300 colleagues from across the Southeast to 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 speakers.

Content will be geared toward heads of school, division heads, other administrative and aspiring leaders as well as deans and directors. A variety of sessions will be offered in the areas of:
  • leadership
  • legal issues
  • diversity/equity/inclusion
  • teaching and learning
  • marketing/communications
  • admissions/development

For questions about speakers and sessions, contact For questions about exhibits and sponsorships, contact


Sunday-Tuesday, October 18-20, 2020


Franklin Marriott Cool Springs, 700 Cool Springs Blvd, Franklin, TN 37067 


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, Katzman 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 for- and not-for-profit boards of directors including Renaissance Learning, the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, and the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. He has authored many articles and five books.

KEYNOTE - Tuesday, October 20, 9AM


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. 


KEYNOTE - Sunday, October 18, 5PM



The earlybird member school rate is $425. 

Registration is not yet open. If you would like to be notified when registration opens, please go to


  • AIRPORT: Nashville International Airport (BNA)
  • GROUND TRANSPORTATION: The Franklin Marriott Cool Springs is located 20 miles from the Nashville International Airport. Please see the hotel's maps & transportation page







    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!


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


    Cancellation Policy: Cancellations received before September 27 via will be refunded less a 20% 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.

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