About the President

NAIS President Donna Orem

Donna Orem

National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS)

Donna Orem has served as NAIS president since November 2016. When she retires in the summer of 2023, Debra P. Wilson will begin her tenure as the next NAIS president. Read the board’s announcement here.

Orem served as NAIS’s chief operating officer for 11 years before becoming president. In that capacity, she directed the organization’s strategic planning and provided vision and leadership for new initiatives, products, and services. She also oversaw human resources and talent management. Orem joined NAIS in 1998 as the vice president for educational leadership and later became the vice president for strategic initiatives and research.

Prior to joining NAIS, she was the vice president for products and services development at the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). In her 15 years at CASE, she also served as the vice president for independent schools. In that role, she managed all services for the independent school advancement community, including the annual CASE/NAIS Conference. Earlier in her career, she served as associate director for the American Association of University Women (AAUW).

Orem speaks frequently about leadership, governance, innovation, trends in independent education, workforce development, and student health and well-being. She is co-author of the NAIS Trustee Handbook (10th and 11th editions) and contributes regularly to Independent School magazine, the Independent Ideas blog, the NAIS Trendbook, and Looking Ahead

She holds a B.A. in English from St. Joseph’s University (Pennsylvania) and attended graduate school at the University of Maryland School of Journalism.