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2020 Leadership Retreat | April 20-21 | Chattanooga, TN
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The 2020 SAIS Leadership Retreat will focus on the declining tenure of heads of school, the causes of head turnover, and how to solidify the relationship between the head and the board to avoid those challenges. The facilitators will offer insights from recent research, trends, and current issues in governance. This program is designed for those who interact with boards including heads, CFOs, assistant heads, division heads, advancement directors, and those considering headship.


  • Insights and Implications from the NAIS-UPenn Research Collaborative on Head Turnover
  • Leading Change in Uncertain Times – Considerations for Heads and Boards
  • Trends in Good Governance – Habits of Highly Effective Boards
  • Fireproofing Your School's Leadership
  • Supporting Leadership Sustainability

Session descriptions available at the orange schedule button above.


Anne-Marie Balzano is the director of leadership and governance at NAIS. In this role, she designs and implements learning opportunities and conducts research on issues facing independent schools. She hosts the NAIS Trustee Table podcast and recently worked on the NAIS board chair handbook. She is now leading a research project with the University of Pennsylvania on factors leading to head of school turnover. Balzano has delivered numerous presentations on building leadership capacity across teams and managing school change. She earned her bachelor's degree from American University and her doctorate from Mills College.


Terry Briggs is a partner at Bowditch & Dewey. Briggs concentrates his practice on executive and equity compensation, ERISA, and other highly technical employee benefits issues on behalf of for-profit and nonprofit entities. Prior to attending law school, he owned and managed a family retail business. Before that, he was a consultant and worked in state government. He received his bachelor's degree from Columbia University and J.D. from Boston College. 


Debra Wilson joined the SAIS staff in July 2019. 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. She previously served as general counsel for NAIS for 19 years. In addition to her role as chief legal officer, she presented to school leaders around the country and fielded inquiries from schools facing legal or governance issues. Before joining the NAIS staff, Debra was a tax litigator at the Department of Justice.



Monday-Tuesday, April 20-21, 2020

  • Registration opens at 12:30PM on Monday, April 20
  • First session begins at 1PM
  • Final session concludes at 12PM with a grab & go lunch on April 21



Member School 



Through February 7
$595 $699
February 8 - March 6
$645 $749
March 7 - April 10
$695 $799
After April 10 $795 $899



Craft a proposal using these key points.


Westin Chattanooga, 801 Pine St, Chattanooga, TN 37402
Reservations may be made online or by phone at (866) 912-1083.
  • Group rate = $189 
  • Cut-off date = March 30 or when block is full 
  • Parking: overnight valet $17/day or daily valet $10/day


Your registration fee includes:

  • Monday: reception
  • Tuesday: breakfast, grab & go lunch


  • The LR was great! I learned so much about myself and my leadership team.
  • The level of engagement during this workshop is unmatched by any other workshop I have attended.
  • The retreat unveiled some things I would like to work on, but ultimately boosted my confidence in things I do well.
  • This experience was life-altering as I move forward to the next stage of my career.
  • Simply put, this was the best professional conference I have attended. It is exactly what I need to learn in order to grow.
  • Excellent. The conference was extremely well-organized and every effort was taken to provide an optimum learning experience.
  • The LR reconnected me with what I need to do to let my team shine.
  • It was great to have such a diverse group of heads together and sharing ideas.
  • The most important part of the retreat was getting to know the other school heads ... I got a good overview of leadership, how it can be defined, and what it looks like in action.
  • Well worth taking days at this very busy time of year. It was energizing enough to get me through to graduation and provided great ideas for planning for next year.



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 March 30 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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