NAIS Member Voices Podcast

The NAIS Member Voices podcast features stories from the thoughtful, hard-working individuals who make up the independent school community. You'll hear from faculty and staff at NAIS member schools about their roles, challenges, successes, inspiration sources, and more. Whether you are currently part of the NAIS community, considering joining, or simply interested in learning more about our industry, we hope you will listen and enjoy!

Be sure to rate, review, and subscribe to hear a new episode each month. 

Find Member Voices on Apple PodcastsSoundCloudTuneInSpotify, and other podcast apps.

Looking for more NAIS podcasts? Listen to New View EDU to explore the future of schools.

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New! Season 8 Episodes: 2024-2025

Check back each month for a new episode!

Episode 90: Limiting Employee Turnover with Will Crissman, Tenacre Country Day School

Tenacre Country Day School (MA), where Will Crissman is the head, has had almost no employee turnover the past few years. We talk about his school's approach to retention (and recruitment) during a time when many schools are struggling in this area. Crissman also discusses his approach to leadership – including keeping a steady emotional state, not asking people to do things he wouldn’t do himself, and having fun.

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Season 7 Episodes: 2023-2024

Charlie Grossman and Mary GentryEpisode 89: Facilitating Classroom Conversations Around the Election with Charlie Grossman and Mary Gentry, Breck School

Charlie Grossman, a history teacher at Breck School (MN), and Mary Gentry, a math teacher at Breck, discuss how to facilitate civil discourse in the classroom and how to address polarization related to the impending election. They detail how they created and navigated a course around the general election in 2016, lessons learned, and what the course might look like this year. They also share how they focus on connection before content in the classroom and try to create a “brave space” for their students.

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Episode 88: Achieving Inclusivity in Polarizing Times with Arvind Grover, Meadowbrook School

Arvind Grover, head of school at the Meadowbrook School (MA), shares how his school strives for inclusivity in a polarized world. He stresses the importance of actively assessing your school’s progress, putting support structures in place, and stopping to ask, “Is there an opportunity here?”. Grover also discusses staff retention strategies, like the importance of creating opportunities for faculty growth and making new hires feel like they’re ahead of the curve. Finally, he shares how being a head has given him perspective, and why, despite the challenges that can come with that role, he still jumps out of bed every morning.

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Ariane Baer-Harper and Jacques WeberEpisode 87: The Conversation: Navigating a Head Transition

Ariane Baer-Harper, head of school at Austin International School (TX) speaks with Jacques Weber, head of the Dallas International School (TX) who was the outgoing head at Austin International when she started. The two were able to work together for the last three months of the 2022–2023 school year, and their collaboration has continued to this day. Here, Baer-Harper and Weber discuss their successful head transition, the keys to its success, and a roadmap for other heads to consider. This conversation was published in the Winter 2024 issue of Independent School magazine.

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Albert Throckmorton and Jennifer ParrisEpisode 86: The Conversation: Coping With Tragedy

Two colleagues at St. Mary’s Episcopal School (TN)—Head of School Albert Throckmorton and Director of Communications Jennifer Parris—talk about what they’ve learned about community and a school’s purpose following a tragedy. This conversation was published in the Fall 2023 issue of Independent School magazine.

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Episode 85: Working Through Anxiety with Jennifer Dirga, The Chestnut Hill School

Jennifer Dirga, school counselor at The Chestnut Hill School (MA), speaks to the importance of fostering connections inside and outside the classroom to decrease stress and anxiety in students. She shares multiple examples for how to build community and how to create safe and affirming spaces. Dirga takes an active role and is present in classrooms and advocates for mental health supports for the staff. Overall, she’s a proponent of going slow, pausing, and reflecting more throughout life.

Sponsored by ERB


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Episode 84: Combating Teacher Attrition with Fran Bisselle, Hathaway Brown School

Fran Bisselle, head of school at Hathaway Brown School (OH), discusses trends in teacher attrition and how independent schools can bolster teacher retention by understanding the current workforce landscape and leveraging teacher-focused policies. She unpacks the effect of the pandemic on teacher burnout and how Hathaway Brown had to adapt to ensure teacher retention. She also describes how the hiring and onboarding process in her school had to become more teacher-focused.

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Episode 83: Recruiting and Retaining Top Teachers with Denise Spirou, The Greene School

Denise Spirou, head of school at The Greene School (FL), describes how she looks for teachers who are joyful and who are problem-solvers—not problem-starters. She shares how she helps her school stand out to potential job candidates, and how she prioritizes the mental health of her team by encouraging them to take days off and participate in walking meetings. Finally, she discusses the importance of servant leadership, not taking things personally, and being able to “fess up when you mess up.”

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Aliya PittsEpisode 82: Restructuring Tuition with Aliya Pitts, The Prairie School

Aliya Pitts, chief advancement officer at The Prairie School (WI), talks about the importance of group innovation, careful communication, and making data-driven decisions when undertaking a tuition redesign.

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Nancy LangEpisode 81: Resetting Tuition with Nancy Lang, The New School

Nancy Lang, head of school at The New School (AR) shares how she addressed an erosion of trust in her market, adjusted to thinking about tuition strategically long term, and made sure everyone was on the same page throughout the process.

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Paul Turnbull and Christina LewellenEpisode 80: AI and the Future of Education

Listen to an episode from our sister NAIS podcast, New View EDU. Host Tim Fish sits down with educational innovators Christina Lewellen (right), of ATLIS, and Paul Turnbull, head of school at Mid-Pacific Institute, to dig deep into what ChatGPT means for schools.

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Episode 79: The Conversation: A Shared Leadership Model

This episode of Member Voices: The Conversation features a dialogue between a head of school and her board chair, published in the Summer 2023 issue of Independent School magazine. Ashley Harper, head of school, and Eileen Quenell, board chair at Wakefield School (VA), discuss the shared leadership model that grew from their almost instant chemistry and mutual respect, and what shared leadership looks like at their school.

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Episode 78: Supporting Staff and Board Members with Melinda Bihn, French American International School and International High School

td {border: 1px solid #cccccc;}br {mso-data-placement:same-cell; Melinda Bihn, head of school at the French American International School and International High School (CA), shares how she approaches selecting a board chair, orienting new trustees, and providing opportunities for leadership development among her staff.

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Archives: Episodes and Resources from Past Seasons

Questions? Comments? Stories you’d like to share on the podcast?

Please send thoughts and ideas to us at [email protected]