2017 SAIS Annual Conference a Great Success!
Letter from the SAIS President
It was a great pleasure to see so many of you (a record 492 participants) at the SAIS Annual Conference. It was a wonderful opportunity for fellowship and for learning. The sessions were impressive, and so many of them were presented by you or your colleagues. Thank you.
 
Dr. Johnnetta Cole, one of the keynote speakers, shared in her address an oft-quoted African proverb: If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together. I think about our schools. Each of them are the product of countless hands and hearts. They are communities of individuals working together toward common goals. They go far when the mission, the board, head, faculty, and families “go together.” They struggled when one group tries to “go alone” or one individual gets too far ahead of the others.
 
Her words, however, resonated with me in another way. Assembled in Atlanta were 170 schools who pride themselves on their independence from each other. In many cases, representatives from one school were seated near representatives of schools with whom they compete, with whom they try to outrun. But in the moments when we come together, we are reminded of our shared concerns and our shared responsibilities. Despite our independence, we are reminded that we have and always have had the “calling” and the obligation to produce thoughtful citizens and tomorrow’s leaders. As we swim ever faster against an ever-stronger cultural current, it is important to take time to reassure ourselves that we are not alone.
Top Trends in Advancement
In April 2017, Linda Wise McNay, Ph.D., of Our Fundraising Search, and John Marshall, assistant head for development of Wesleyan School, conducted a survey of almost 400 heads of school to measure trends, challenges, and opportunities in independent school development and fundraising. The results were surprising and significant and shared with attendees at the 2017 SAIS Annual Conference. Eight trends emerged based on information provided by the 161 SAIS schools in the Southeast who responded to the survey. 
Record Attendance, Outstanding Sessions at SAIS Annual Conference
SAIS welcomed nearly 500 attendees, speakers and exhibitors to Atlanta for the 2017 SAIS Annual Conference, held October 22-24. With topics ranging from finding balance and women in leadership to 21 st century technology and faith in schools, SAIS offered two keynote addresses, two general sessions, six roundtables, and 32 breakout sessions for school leaders. 
Whiplash by Joi Ito and Jeff Howe
Reviewed by Dr. Rick West, Head of Lower School, Franklin Road Academy, Nashville, TN
 
As with most independent schools, there is an expectation that school leaders and teachers participate in a summer reading exercise at Franklin Road Academy. This past summer, our head tasked the leadership team with reading Joi Ito’s and Jeff Howe’s futurist book Whiplash: How to Survive Our Faster Future . He gave us advance notice that this was not your typical educational leadership book filled with standard edu-jargon and recipes for school improvement or morale boosting techniques. Instead, this literary piece has been written for anyone paying attention to the lightning-fast changes happening in our world, mainly brought on by the advent and explosion of the Internet and other technological advances.
SAIS Featured School: The Westminster Schools
Westminster believes in inspiring children who are nurtured by challenge. Every day, the school connects bright, curious students with opportunities that expand their vision and help them meet their greatest aspirations because the world they will inherit calls for a new kind of leader.
SAIS Collaboration Grant Applications Due 12/31
SAIS is accepting applications for The Stephen P. Robinson Collaboration Grants from now through December 31, 2017. Five member schools each will receive a $5,000 grant. Those applying must demonstrate a vision and capacity to pursue and carry out meaningful collaborations. Successful examples have demonstrated efforts that benefit the greater community or region in unique ways. The Robinson Collaboration Grants were created to encourage independent schools to form new partnerships with other schools or institutions of higher education, with preference given to collaborations with other schools serving students in any grades from K through 12th. Schools selected for grants will share their results with the SAIS community. Submissions are due by December 31, 2017. www.sais.org/grants  
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A Moment to Remember
Dr. Byron Hulsey, head of Woodberry Forest School in Woodberry Forest, VA, reflects on the things that matter. 
Registration is OPEN for the 2018 SAIS Athletic Directors Conference, January 16-17, in Charlotte, NC. Submissions for session proposals are still being accepted! Learn more: sais.org/ADC
Registration is OPEN for the 2018 SAIS Finance Institute, January 16-17, in Charlotte, NC. Submissions for session proposals are still being accepted! Find out more: sais.org/FI
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