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Distinguished Service Award
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SAIS Distinguished Service Award

Established 2012 in Memory of Dale Regan

This award is given by the SAIS Board of Trustees to a head of school or senior administrator in recognition of a long and distinguished career in independent education, of which 25 years or more was spent in service to one school, as well as service to SAIS. The award is typically given at the end of one’s career.  Recipients will be recognized at the SAIS Annual Conference.

The creation of this award in 2012 was inspired by the life and work of Dale Regan, who devoted 34 years of her life to the Episcopal School of Jacksonville, and who, posthumously, was the award’s first recipient.


Sarah Whiteside
Altamont School - Birmingham, AL
Sarah Whiteside began her career in 1978 as a Latin teacher at Altamont School. In 2003, she was named assistant head and head of the middle school. In 2007, she became head of school.

Under her leadership, Altamont successfully completed a $10 million campaign that supported the school library, a center for the arts, new athletics and wellness facilities, and additional funds for scholarship and endowment. She has overseen the launch of a 1:1 laptop program as well as a new computer science program, a center for ethical leadership, and teacher research grants. Earlier this year, Altamont became the first school in Birmingham to install a solar array to reduce energy consumption on campus. In recent years, the school has reached capacity on enrollment, with a waiting list in several grade levels.

Whiteside served on the SAIS Board of Trustees for three years. She received her undergraduate degree in 1969 from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College with a major in Latin. The following year she received an M.A. in classical archaeology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


Pat Taylor
Jackson Academy - Jackson, MS
With a career in education spanning more than 40 years, Pat Taylor began his career in 1972 as a history teacher at St. Paul’s Episcopal School in Mobile, AL, and for the next 35 years served St. Paul’s as dean of students, principal, and assistant head of school. He also served as head of Houston Academy in Dothan, AL.

Currently in his 10th year as head of Jackson Academy, he has proved visionary, leading the academic team as it advanced into STEM education, an Apple K-12 one-to-one environment, divisional restructuring that created a middle school, and personalized learning influenced by new brain research.

Taylor earned degrees from the University of South Alabama and LaSalle University.  He has served on the SACS Alabama state committee, the SAIS accreditation committee, and is currently serving on the board of the Alabama Independent School Association.


Marvin Lishman
Magnolia Heights School - Senatobia, MS
Dr. Marvin W. Lishman has served as head of Magnolia Heights School in Senatobia, MS, since 1981, where he has guided the school’s growth to its current enrollment of over 700 students.

Dr. Lishman holds an undergraduate degree from Mississippi State University, a master’s degree from Delta State University, and an Ed.D. in educational administration and supervision from University of Mississippi. He has also served as an adjunct professor at Mississippi College and Delta State. Dr. Lishman has served on numerous committees and in leadership roles for SAIS, SACS, MAIS, and AdvanceEd. He served on the SAIS Board of Trustees from 2009-2016, including as secretary of the executive committee.

Ned Fox
Charlotte Latin School - Charlotte, NC
Dr. Edward (Ned) J. Fox, Jr, devoted 52 years to the field of K-12 independent education. He served as head of Charlotte Latin School in Charlotte, NC, from 1976-2001, and prior to that was upper school head at Collegiate School in Richmond, VA, and on staff at numerous other independent schools. He has also served as interim head at six independent schools from North Carolina to Texas to Arkansas to New Mexico. Fox has served in leadership positions for SAIS, NAIS, NCAIS, SACS and many other civic and charitable organizations, including service on the national board of the Cum Laude Society. During his career, he participated in over 70 SACS accreditation visits and led the development of the accreditation program for SAIS.

Fox graduated from Woodberry Forest School in Woodbery Forest, VA. He went on to earn his undergraduate degree in history from Rice University, his M.A.T. in English from Johns Hopkins University, and his Ed.D. in school administration from Nova Southeastern University. He has taught seminars on independent school administration at colleges around the country, including Vanderbilt University, as well as founding the SAIS Administrative Institute in 1983 and the SAIS Institute for New Teachers in 1985.

A resolution adopted by the Collegiate School Board of Trustees in 1976 upon Fox’s departure reads, “Ned Fox is a gentleman, at home with all manner of people, equally at ease at a play, in a library, a museum, or the cheering section of a sports arena. With his sense of humor and ready repartee, he is the center of most school groups. He is not an ivory tower scholar, but respects learning as a basis for quality instruction. In establishing curriculum and programming, he has always been creative and innovative.”


J. Robert Chambers
Athens Academy - Athens, GA
Bob Chambers served as head of Athens Academy for 30 years, from 1983 to 2013. Prior to that, Mr. Chambers was the assistant head of Pace Academy, where he began his career in 1963 as a science teacher and athletic coach. Mr. Chambers has served on the boards of GISA, SAIS, NAIS, and the Georgia High School Association, among others, and he also chaired the SAIS accreditation committee. He holds bachelor of science and master of education degrees from the University of Georgia.

J. Peter Jernberg
Jackson Academy - Jackson, MS
Peter Jernberg retired from his role as president of Jackson Academy in 2014, after 47 years of service. His career began in 1967 at Indianola Academy where he served as history teacher, coach, and academic dean before being appointed head in 1979. In 1988, Mr. Jernberg was named head of Jackson Academy.

He has served in a variety of leadership roles for MAIS, SAIS, SACS, and AdvancED, including as chair of the SAIS board and vice-chair of the SACS board. He has bachelor of arts and master of education degrees from Delta State University.

William W. Jablon
Maclay School - Tallahassee, FL
Bill Jablon retired from Maclay School in 2014 after 45 years, 38 of those years as head. He began his career in 1969 as an English teacher at Maclay. In 1976 he was appointed head and since then the campus has grown from 130 students on 44 acres to 936 students on 100 acres.

Mr. Jablon, who holds degrees from Boston College and Florida State University, served as board chair of both SAIS and the Florida Council of Independent Schools and also as a board member of NAIS (1990-1994).


Dale Regan
Episcopal School of Jacksonville - Jacksonville, FL
Dale Regan began teaching English literature at Episcopal School of Jacksonville, FL, in 1978.  She became an administrator in 1983 and served as department chair, curriculum director, academic dean, communications director, and assistant head.  She was named head of school in 2007, the first woman to hold the title since the school first opened its doors in 1968.  She quickly embarked on a $4 million campus construction effort that led to two new buildings on the campus.  She was a Jacksonville native who attained degrees at Florida State University and the University of North Florida.  Dale kept river rocks in a basket in her office, encouraging faculty to take one to keep as they pondered difficult decisions.  She also used them in chapel, building complex rock piles to show students how important steadiness was in achieving goals.  At her memorial service, students passed out hundreds of river rocks they'd decorated bearing messages like love, courage, and faith.


Calendar more
Annual Conference
October 14-16, 2018 | Charleston, SC
Drawing over 300 administrators from across the Southeast, we delve into hot topics and relevant issues.

Board/Head Retreat
October 14, 2018 | Charleston, SC
Designed to strengthen the communication and partnership between the head of school and members of the board.

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