From the President

The 2018-2019 year was a year of strength for member schools and growth for NAIS as an organization. We worked to enhance our services and products to ensure that they met members’ most pressing needs while also advancing the independent school industry as a whole.

Much of our focus in 2018-19 was on providing members actionable research and data insights, as well as resources to encourage innovation. We released a pivotal report based on the Jobs-to-Be-Done methodology; we will continue to use this methodology to produce information that can help schools better understand the motivations of parents and other constituents. In addition, using member feedback, we enhanced our data insight tools, such as Data and Analysis for School Leadership (DASL) and Market View. We also built out NAIS Strategy Lab programs to help schools implement project level innovation design and develop an overall innovative mindset to help them face challenges and embrace opportunities.

One key staffing and organizational development was the establishment of an office of governance and leadership, helping us focus our work in the critically important area of board/head relations. 

Through our communication channels, we fostered discussion and community exchange. Independent School magazine covered the critical issues of diversity and inclusion, advancement, reimagining schools, and health and well-being. Blog posts written by community members continued to explore these topics and many more. The NAIS Trendbook consolidated key trends, encouraging members to look ahead and fueling important industry discussion. The monthly Looking Ahead communication (email and presentation) allowed us to dive deeply into individual topics ranging from the international student market to the future of fundraising. Finally, our social media channels and NAIS Connect online communities provided countless opportunities for engagement.

Throughout the year, we had several invaluable opportunities to meet in person with members. In late November of 2018, Nashville provided an energizing backdrop for the 31st People of Color Conference. In February 2019 we came together to “reimagine” independent schools at the NAIS Annual Conference in Long Beach, California. 

In the pages of this annual report, you will find more details about these and other NAIS initiatives in 2018-2019, as well as information about our overall health. We are so grateful to the many organizations and individuals who have supported our efforts and initiatives this year.

Donna Orem, NAIS President

Annual Meeting Minutes

Marriott Downtown
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


All learners find pathways to success through independence, innovation, and diversity of our schools, creating a more equitable world.


As the largest association of independent schools, NAIS co-creates the future of education by uniting and empowering our community.

We do this through thought leadership, research, creation and curation of resources, and direct collaboration with education leaders.
Bernie Noe, NAIS board chair, welcomed members to the NAIS Annual Meeting and President’s Breakfast. In the Chair’s Report, he shared the new NAIS Vision and Mission statements, exploring how the statements represent this moment in time and how they will lead the organization into the future.

Vice Chair Randall C. Dunn then presented the Membership Report, reporting that NAIS had 1,611 full and candidate members and 265 subscribers. This included the 46 new members and 25 new subscribers added in the fiscal year (as of January 31, 2020).

Governance Chair Mark C. Davis continued with the Governance Report. He presented the Governance Committee’s nominations for election, as follows.

Election to a First, Three-Year Term as Trustee

  • Madeleine Hewitt, executive director, Near East South Asia Council of Overseas Schools
  • Adam Weinberg, president, Denison University
Noe announced that the board had approved the nominations. The membership then voted. The motion was approved and the slate was elected.

Noe then acknowledged the following two retiring trustees, asking them to stand. He expressed the board’s appreciation for their service.

Retiring Trustees
  • Mark C. Davis, Head of School, St. Luke’s School (CT)
  • Nishant Mehta, Head of School, The Children’s School (GA)
Board Treasurer Monique DeVane then presented the Treasurer’s Report for FY 2018-19. (See details in the next section.)

Donna Orem concluded the Annual Meeting with the President's Report, in which she reported on the state of the independent school industry and on work NAIS is undertaking within key priority areas.

A motion to adjourn the meeting was supported and passed, and the meeting was adjourned.

Treasurer's Report FY 2018-19

A report from Board Treasurer Monique DeVane

NAIS completed a successful year, and the 2018-2019 financial report reflects the board’s commitment to a strong and healthy organization. The Finance Committee, the full board, and the NAIS staff have worked together to ensure that NAIS continues to meet the needs of its members over the long-term. Solid planning, careful management, and the successful execution of initiatives resulted in an operating surplus at the end of the 2018-2019 fiscal year.

2018 People of Color Conference

November 28 – December 1, 2018
Nashville, TN

Equitable Schools and Inclusive Communities: Harmony, Discord, & The Notes in Between

More than 6,400 adults and students joined the NAIS staff for the 2018 NAIS People of Color Conference (PoCC) and Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC). Both events fed on the uplifting, musical energy of our host city, Nashville.

Each year PoCC brings together educators from the independent school community who are dedicated to equity and justice in their schools. The mission of the conference is to provide a safe space for leadership and professional development and networking for people of color and allies of all backgrounds in independent schools. The concurrent NAIS Student Diversity Leadership Conference is focused on self-reflecting, forming allies, and building community for student leaders from across the country. 

The conferences featured speakers Lisa Ling, Luz Santana, Marian Wright Edelman, Julie Lythcott-Haims, Marc Lamont Hill, and Christian Picciolini. These speakers, together with affinity groups, workshops, and other special events made this an inspiring event. 


Schools by Region

2019 Annual Conference

February 27 – March 1, 2019
Long Beach, CA

Reimagining Schools: Tearing Down Walls, Building Capacity, & Designing Our Future

At the 2019 NAIS Annual Conference, attendees gathered in Long Beach, California, to reimagine independent schools—from the physical buildings and academic practices to the community and culture and governance practices—in thinking about how they prepare the next generation of learners for the world that awaits them.

Speakers Viola Davis, Frans Johansson, Shiza Shahid, and Simon Sinek took the main stage to inspire new ideas. A wide array of workshops, special events, and networking opportunities enriched the conference experience for the nearly 4,200 attendees.


DIAMONDCommunity Brands
ISM (Independent School Management)
PlatinumManhattan Placements
Crowell & Moring LLP
COPPERSaul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr LLP
SOS Threesixty

Professional Development

Between June and October 2018, NAIS offered several institutes and workshops that provided educators in-depth opportunities for training and professional development. Nearly 650 people attended the Diversity Leadership Institute, Institute for New Heads, School Leadership Institute, School Leadership Team Experience, Equity Design Lab, Inclusive Schools Network Institute, and Leadership Through Partnership. Six Strategy Lab workshops, in addition to other Strategy Lab events, served 140 people from 40 schools. In addition to these immersive in-person events, NAIS hosted nearly 20 webinars. 

NAIS is proud to be a partner with other organizations serving independent schools. In October 2018 we held a joint event with The Association of Boarding Schools called the 2018 NAIS-TABS Legal Symposium in Philadelphia. Each year, NAIS and CASE co-host the CASE-NAIS Independent Schools Conference, which is geared toward advancement professionals in independent schools. In January 2019, the conference was held in Philadelphia.

Research, Publications, Data Insights, & Innovation


In FY 2018-19, NAIS published 10 research reports, covering topics relevant to independent school leaders, students, and parents. This in-depth research and analysis helps schools compete in a changing marketplace, engage their students, hire and retain excellent staff, and more. See all NAIS reports at

In the Parent Jobs-to-Be-Done Study, NAIS researched what parents are trying to accomplish by sending their children to independent schools. In partnership with Authentic Connections, NAIS conducted a series of surveys on the mental well-being of Youth in High Achieving Schools to provide school leaders data-driven suggestions to improve student health and well-being. NAIS also conducted the 2018 Governance Study (with nearly 2,000 heads and board chairs) to examine the perceived relationship between heads of school and their boards, as well as the composition and practices of the board.


With a newly unveiled design and content strategy in place, Independent School magazine was recognized with the prestigious Eddie Award for Overall Editorial Excellence from Folio, a publication marketing firm. The magazine’s four issues in 2018-2019 covered the key topics of diversity and inclusion, advancement, reimagining schools, and health and well-being. Articles featured in-depth experiences and reflections by members.


2018-19 NAIS Trendbook:
5918 copies sold

Data Insights

Data and Analysis for School Leadership (DASL) is the largest collection of US independent school data, and NAIS strives to make it more robust and usable each year. Through new reporting enhancements in 2018-2019, DASL data became easier for schools to use in making data-driven decisions. In 2018-2019, we continued to develop Market View, a market visualization tool that helps schools see current and prospective markets, helping them build their enrollment strategies.


NAIS’s Strategy Lab empowers current and future school leaders with resources, experiences, and networks that enhance their innovation cultures and develop their skills for Project Level Innovation Design (PLID). In 2018-2019, NAIS continued to build out Strategy Lab programs and resources, and to track how schools have used the frameworks introduced through Strategy Lab in diversifying admissions, enhancing retention, and reimagining student support systems.

Who We Are

Just as independent schools do, NAIS relies on a diverse and generous community. We are grateful to the following people and organizations for their help in supporting and guiding NAIS.

Board of Trustees 2018-19

Bernie Noe, Chair
Lakeside School (WA)

Randall C. Dunn, Vice Chair
Latin School of Chicago (IL)

Fran Bisselle, Treasurer
Hathaway Brown School (OH)

Joan Buchanan Hill, Secretary
Lamplighter School (TX)
David Allyn
The New School

Robin Susan Appleby
The American School in London

Veronica Codrington-Cazeau
The Evergreen School (WA)

Mark C. Davis
St. Luke’s School (CT)

John DeGioia
Georgetown University

Monique L. DeVane
The College Preparatory School (CA)
James P. Honan
Harvard Graduate School of Education

Siri Akal Singh Khalsa

Northwest Association of Independent Schools

James McManus
California Association of Independent Schools

Nishant N. Mehta
The Children’s School (Georgia)

Michael Nachbar
Global Online Academy
Tekakwitha Pernambuco-Wise
Sea Crest School (CA)

Marguerite Roza
Georgetown University

Michael Saxenian
McLean School of Maryland (MD)

James K. Scott
Punahou School (HI)

Eric Temple
Lick-Wilmerding High School (CA)

NAIS Leadership

Donna Orem

Caroline G. Blackwell
Vice President, Equity and Justice

Jefferson Burnett
Senior Vice President, Advocacy and Education Innovation

Tim Fish
Chief Innovation Officer
Beth Laking
Vice President, Membership and Marketing

Hilary LaMonte
Senior Vice President, DASL

Megan Mann
Legal Counsel and Vice President, Government Relations 
Myra McGovern
Vice President of Media

Corey McIntyre
Chief Financial Officer

Mark Mitchell
Vice President
Jay Rapp
Vice President, Professional Development

Zoé Sherlick
Chief Operating Officer

Amada Torres
Vice President, Studies, Insights, and Research


2018 PoCC Co-Chairs and Local Committee

Beth RN Eberl
University School of Nashville (TN)

Bobby Mirzaie
Ensworth School (TN) 

Quinton P. Walker
University School of Nashville (TN) 

Wellesley L. Wilson
Harpeth Hall School (TN)

Jennifer Adams
Harpeth Hall School (TN)

Heather Angola
Battle Ground Academy (TN)

Jennifer Averbeck
Baylor School (TN) 

Brigida Derrick
Harding Academy (AR) 

Eric Dozier
Episcopal School of Nashville (TN) 

Patrice Elder
Oak Hill School (TN)

OJ Fleming
Battle Ground Academy (TN) 

Teresa Jenkins
St. Mary’s School (TN) 

Nicole Jules
University School of Nashville (TN) 

Leigh Lambert
Battle Ground Academy (TN) 

Suzanne Nave
Harding Academy (AR) 

David Padilla
Baylor School (TN) 

Victoria Roca
University School of Nashville (TN) 

Roderick White
University School of Nashville (TN) 

Grace Wilkinson
Harding Academy (AR)

2019 Annual Conference Think Tank

John Bracker
Polytechnic School (CA)

Josh Brody 
Sequoyah High School (CA)

Mark Brooks
Center for Early Education (CA)

Jack Creeden consultant 
Landis Green Wildwood School (CA)

Lisa Gumina
Vistamar School (CA)

Drew Ishii
Sage Hill School (CA)

Pamela Jordan
Idyllwild Arts Academy (CA)

Christina Kim
The Willows Community School (CA)

Ed Kim
St. Matthew’s Parish School (CA) 

Tim Kusserow
Carlthorp School (CA)

Mark McKee
Viewpoint School (CA)

Jim McManus
California Association of Independent Schools

Priscilla Sands
Marlborough School (CA) 

Jenn Foley
Tolbert Saint Mark’s School (CA)

2018-2019 NAIS Financial Aid Advisory Task Force

Jonathan Hochberg, Chair
The Northwest School (WA) 

Carinne Barker

St. Matthew’s Parish School (CA)

Lynne Breen
Waynflete School (ME)

John Hutchins
Phillips Exeter Academy (NH)

Lisa J. Moreira
Horace Mann School (NY)

Bill Murdock
Baylor School (TN)

Brenda Robbins
Minnehaha Academy (MN) 

Lawrence Sampleton
St. Stephen’s Episcopal School (TX)

Jennifer Wing
Berwick Academy (ME)

2018-2019 Global Ambassadors

Nicole Biggie
St. Johnsbury Academy (VT)

Melissa Brown
Holton Arms School (MD)

Michael House
Maumee Valley Country Day School (OH)

Lynda Ann Loring
Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School (GA)

Kila McCann
Fountain Valley School of Colorado (CO)

Matt Nink
Lake Forest Academy (IL)

Gifts At Work

AWG Dewar

CalWest Educators Placement

Carney Sandoe & Associates

Community Brands

Crowell & Moring LLP

The Education Group

Educator’s Ally


Fisher Phillips

Hush Blackwell

ISM (Independent School Management)

Manhattan Placements

McLane Middleton

Point Made Learning


RG175 (Resource Group 175)

Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr LLP

Schwartz Hannum PC

Shipman & Goodwin, LLP


SOS Threesixty


Venable LLP