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2020 Institute for Strategic Leadership
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Expand your understanding of strategic leadership and build skills to positively impact your school. Sessions will be based on engaging exercises that can easily be replicated for your team or faculty and staff. Particularly helpful to those considering headship in the future and for teams to attend together. Featuring Keith Evans and David Mahler. The current price is $995 for SAIS members and $1,099 for non-members.


Keith Evans has worked in the independent school world for more than 25 years. Evans earned his undergraduate degree in Religion from Davidson College (1985) and graduate degrees from Harvard University (1990) and the University of Tennessee (1994) and is a two-time Fellow of the National Endowment for the Humanities. He has served on the boards of directors for both SAIS and the Virginia Council on Private Education. Additionally, he served as chair of the SAIS board in 2010-2011, and has also volunteered and consulted on more than a dozen accreditation reviews. Evans also dedicates time combating homelessness as a board member of several shelters in the Richmond area. Keith and wife Emilie have also volunteered as foster parents.


David Mahler received his BA in history from Wesleyan University and his M.Ed in curriculum and instruction from the University of Virginia. He has been a teacher, coach and administrator in both boarding and day school settings for his entire career. Prior to his appointment as the Head at Out-of-Door, David was the Academic Dean at the Collegiate School in Richmond, VA. He also served as the Director of the Virginia Association of Independent Schools New Teacher Institute and founded and led the JRPO Academic Deans Benchmarking Group, bringing independent school leaders from across the country together to analyze academic performance data and address curriculum issues, program development and organizational change. In 2007 David was elected to the Florida Council of Independent Schools Board of Directors. In 2008 he was appointed Chair of the Accreditation Commission for all Florida Independent Schools and in 2010 he became Secretary for the FCIS Board.


Craft a proposal using these key points


  • This was fantastic! I wish every senior administrator at my school would have the chance to go to this institute. Everything worked together to provide the perfect experience, the location, setting, accommodations, size, faculty, everything!
  • The ISL was very helpful and has allowed me to think about my role a bit differently.
  • The ISL was more helpful than my masters program.
  • The ISL gave me a network of people with the same experiences as myself.
  • I found the whole experience to be provocative, reflective, and hands down one of the best.
  • The experience was inspirational. I returned to school charged with new ideas and opportunities to derive new perspectives on how we see our school and create strategy.
  • The biggest thing was that I have learned a new paradigm for looking at leadership at our school. This was a truly inspiring and career-changing workshop.
  • I left with a highly clarified vision for strategy, and I am very clear on the next stage for me as I examine what I need to work on to increase my capacity for this leadership.
  • In today's independent school market, the ISL offers a significant opportunity for school leaders to re-imagine who they are and what they want to be.
  • The most important part of the ISA for me was the opportunity to spend time in an intimate, non-threatening discussion setting with other school administrators. I learned a lot not only from Keith during the sessions but from the other participants during the sessions as well as at drinks and meals. As a new administrator myself, I developed a lot of confidence from this experience.
  • This was a very valuable experience for me and I would like to bring a team next year. The event was also very well organized and the schedule and venue was excellent.
  • Keith and David were not only knowledgeable, but also brought a wealth of experience and wisdom into their sessions. They inspired all of us to think about how to do our personal best as leaders. It was a lot of fun collaborating with others and learning so much about the most effective ways to work together.  Very impressive.
  • They are two of the best presenters I have encountered in my 35 + years of independent school management.
  • Both Keith and David are outstanding presenters. Their manner is easy, yet they both have a wealth of experiences and knowledge to share.
  • Keith and David are excellent speakers.  Their experience makes them very credible.  The specific examples they gave from their professional and personal lives helped me get a handle on how I can apply what I learned at school.
  • I really appreciated both facilitators — they complemented each other well and had a lot of useful current information and resources to share.
  • Keith and David were fantastic. They have opened an entirely new perspective. I have a new gaze on how to develop as a leader and how to develop others!



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 special accommodations or have any questions, please contact


Cancellation Policy: Cancellations received before May 28 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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