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2020 SAIS Annual Conference Speakers


Keynote Speakers

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.

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

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

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

Nina Kumar & Suniya Luthar

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.

Breakout Speakers

Suzanne Bogdan

Suzanne Bogdan is managing partner with Fisher Phillips’ Fort Lauderdale office. She also serves as the chair of the firm's Education Practice Group, actively representing private educational institutions in employee, student, and board issues. Bogdan's practice includes preventive counseling, training, audits, policy reviews, drafting of contracts, defense of claims in the administrative setting, and litigation in all courts. Bogdan also works with many of the accrediting agencies and school associations.

Nicole Brittingham Furlonge

Nicole Brittingham Furlonge is the director of the Klingenstein Center and professor of practice at Teachers College, Columbia University.  She is also co-founder of LEARNS Collaborative. Previously, Furlonge was the director of teaching and learning and English department chair at Holderness School in New Hampshire. She was chair of the English department at Princeton Day School in Princeton, New Jersey. She served as english master and mentor teacher at the Lawrenceville School, also in New Jersey, and English department chair and director of diversity at St. Andrew’s School in Middletown, Delaware. She earned her Ph.D. in English at the University of Pennsylvania, where she titled her dissertation, “On the Lower Frequencies: Listening and African American Expressive Culture.” She is the author of Race Sounds: The Art of Listening in African American Literature.

Karen Bradberry & James Calleroz White

Karen Bradberry serves as the chief diversity, equity & inclusion officer at The Galloway School. Bradberry has over 20 years of teaching, administrative, and executive leadership experience in public and private schools, higher education, and the nonprofit sector. She is a former co-chair of the NAIS People of Color Conference and serves as a faculty member for NAIS’s Diversity Leadership Institute. Bradberry holds a B.A. in English with a minor in linguistics from Texas A&M University, a M.Ed. in secondary education from the University of North Texas, and a Ph.D. in reading and educational leadership from Texas Woman’s University. She holds state certificates in English, reading, secondary education, and secondary administration and is currently pursuing a certificate in school management and leadership through a joint program offered by Harvard Graduate School of Education and Harvard Business School.

James Calleroz White is currently the head of school at The Galloway School in Atlanta, GA. Calleroz White attended Harvard University where he earned a B.A. in government in 1995 and a M.Ed. in administration, planning, and social policy in 2001. He also earned his Ed.D. in educational leadership, teaching, and administration from Arizona State University in 2012. Calleroz White has over 20 years of experience in education including teaching, administration, and leadership at the JK–12, university, and nonprofit level. He currently serves as a board member for Horizons Atlanta and the Independent Schools of the Central States (ISACS). He is also a faculty member for the Diversity Leadership Institute for NAIS.

Laura Day & Jason Kreutner

Laura Day is the founding director of the Institute for Social Impact at The Hockaday School where she investigates the intersection of community engagement and problem solving throughout North Dallas. Working with students of all ages, Day inspires future leaders to build empathy in their environments, develop leadership and advocacy skills, and design solutions to address real world problems. She is a recent recipient of the Good Works Under 40 People’s Choice Award, Community First Award from Parkland Foundation, and Fast Company’s Finalist for Innovative Education Ideas.

Jason Kreutner is founder and head of University School of the Lowcountry. He has extensive experience as an educator and leader in independent schools and is a recipient of a NAIS Fellowship for Aspiring School Heads. Prior to establishing USL, he was dean of students and then director of studies at Charleston Collegiate School, served as upper school dean and history department chair at Porter-Gaud School, and was dean of students and humanities Instructor at Heathwood Hall Episcopal School in Columbia, SC. He is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the South Carolina Honors College and received his master’s degree from Emory University in history. Kreutner was recognized by the South Carolina Independent School Association as the Headmaster “Rookie of the Year” for the 2007-2008 school year. In 2013, he received SCISA’s Dr. Charles S. Aimar Educational Leadership Award. He consults and has provided guidance to several existing and new independent and public schools.

Janice Gregerson & Grace Lee

Janice Gregerson is an associate in Venable's Independent School Law and Labor and Employment practices. She works collaboratively with her clients to anticipate matters before they become problems, and provides counsel in the following areas: employment hiring and separation, including advice related to processes which ensure compliance with applicable laws and appropriately protect client interests; daily employment challenges, such as harassment prevention and investigation, and leave and other accommodation guidance; enrollment, including counsel on enrollment agreement best practices; development of policies related to students, parents, employees, and trustees; student safety, welfare, and discipline; governance, including design and drafting of bylaws and ensuring charter and articles of incorporation compliance, as well as developing governance policies and competencies; and, additionally, other unique and daily challenges facing independent schools, such as best practices for international travel.


Grace Lee is a partner at Venable. She focuses her practice on independent school issues including employment law, risk management, and other compliance and regulatory matters that impact independent schools. Lee works collaboratively with school leaders to advance the mission, priorities, and culture of institutions while meeting business needs and mitigating potential liability. She has significant experience formulating and implementing policies and procedures that assist her clients in complying with applicable state and federal laws. Lee develops best practices on a wide range of legal issues facing independent schools, including employee relations, disciplinary actions, wage and hour compliance, student safety and disciplinary issues, social media issues, and contract disputes. She conducts internal compliance audits, and also drafts and reviews key documents used by independent schools.

Jen Landis & Lisa Vardi

Jen Landis is the associate head of school and head elect at Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child in Summit, New Jersey. She served as upper school division head for six years at Oak Knoll prior to becoming the associate head. She holds a B.A. from Colgate University and a M.Ed. from LaSalle University.

Lisa Vardi serves as director of teaching and learning at Bullis School in Potomac, MD. In her thirteenth year at Bullis, she previously served as upper school social studies chair and director of global studies and service. Vardi holds a doctor of education in K–12 education leadership and policy from Vanderbilt University.

Grant Lichtman

Grant Lichtman is an internationally recognized thought leader in the drive to transform K-12 education. Based on two decades of work as a senior administrator, teacher, and trustee in K-12 education, and his work with more than 225 schools and districts, he speaks, writes, and works with school and community teams to build capacity and comfort with innovation in response to a rapidly changing world. He shares his numerous articles, speeches, and resources at, and is the author of four books: Thrive: How Schools Will Win the Education Revolution; Moving the Rock: Seven Levers WE Can Press to Transform Education; #EdJourney: A Roadmap to the Future of Education, and The Falconer: What We Wish We Had Learned in School. Grant received his B.S. and M.S. in geology from Stanford University.

Nishant Mehta

Nishant Mehta is a partner at Storbeck Search & Associates where he heads the firm’s independent schools practice, recruiting transformational leadership for private, charter, and mission-driven schools across the country. In addition to his active role in executive-level searches, he offers consulting on strategy and DEI, as well as leadership and governance coaching and training for education and nonprofit organizations. Prior to entering the search industry, Mehta served as head of school at The Children’s School. He currently serves on the advisory boards of the Woodruff Arts Center's Alliance Theatre and the Children’s Museum of Atlanta, and on the boards NBOA and Asheville School. He is a former board member of NAIS and CSEE, where he served as board chair. In other roles, Mehta serves as a script advisor to the show “Sesame Street,” and he is the founder of The Inclusive Leader Book Club which meets to discuss issues of equity and inclusion in school cultures and communities.

David Michelman

David Michelman has spent over 30 years in educational leadership. Most recently, he was head of Duke School, a 500 student progressive PS-8 in Durham, North Carolina, for 14 years before changing careers in July of this year. Michelman has served on the SAIS board, presented at numerous NAIS and SAIS conferences, and has facilitated board retreats on good governance practices.

Ross Peters

Ross Peters is the vice president of school strategy for EXPLO Elevate. Beginning his career with eight years at Providence Day School as a middle and upper school English teacher, he served in significant leadership roles at Asheville School, Hawken School, The Westminster Schools, and St. George’s Independent School. He serves or has served on the boards of NAIS, TAIS, and Bridges USA.

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

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