NAIS Fellowship for Aspiring School Heads

 Applications for the 2022-2023 cohort will become available in September 2021.

(Applications for the 2021-2022 cohort closed on November 20, 2020.)

School heads are retiring in record numbers. Are you prepared to take the lead?

From learning about leadership styles to getting a behind-the-scenes look at the life of a head of school, read what recent attendees had to say about the fellowship:

"I can't say enough how impressed, inspired, and grateful I am for the experience. It totally surpassed my expectations and set a high standard for future online professional learning."

"... the program surpassed by expectations and was highly impactful in the ways that mattered: forming leadership community, providing authentic and inspiring mentorship, and giving a real glimpse into the complexities of headship."


This yearlong program includes mentorship with an experienced head who will regularly share real-life problem solving, candid conversations and engaging assignments; and lifelong relationships with a cohort of supportive educational leaders.

Take the next step in your journey to headship. Apply today to gain access to:

  • A yearlong mentorship from a current head with insight to their key issues.
  • One-on-one career counseling, including resume and interview preparation, to navigate and distinguish yourself in the head search.
  • Special programming during a weeklong summer institute that provides a comprehensive overview of what headship really looks like.
  • A group action research project that will be presented at the NAIS Annual Conference.
  • An invaluable network of colleagues who provide advice and support throughout your career.
NAIS makes every effort to match fellows to a mentor who will be able to best advise them on issues specific to their leadership journey. Programming includes:
  • A virtual weeklong summer institute, July 19 - 23, 2021.
  • Special programming at two NAIS Annual Conferences. The cost of the fellowship includes the price of two full conference registrations (2022 and 2023 NAIS Annual Conferences). Please note that the 2022 NAIS Annual Conference will be virtual.

2021-22 Faculty Members:

  • Ken Aldridge, Head of School, Wilmington Friends School (DE)
  • Fran Bisselle, Head of School, Hathaway Brown School (OH)
  • Veronica Codrington-Cazeau, Head of School, University Prep (WA)
  • Mike Davis, Head of School, Colorado Academy (CO)
  • Jennifer Foley Tolbert, Head of School, Saint Mark's School (CA)
  • Damian Jones, Head of School, Edmund Burke School (DC)
  • Tekakwitha Pernambuco-Wise, Head of School, The Wyndcroft School (PA)
  • Andrew Rodin, Headmaster, Phoenix Country Day School (AZ)
  • Lisa Sun, Head of School, The Philadelphia School (PA)
  • Anne-Evan Williams, Head of School, Billings Middle School (WA)

Eligible NAIS fellowship candidates must have:

  • A commitment to completing all the components of the program in the fellowship year;
  • Worked as an administrator in independent schools for three or more full years;
  • A master's degree or other advanced degree, or be currently pursuing one, and
  • The support of your school head for your application to the fellowship.
2021 - 2022 NAIS Fellowship Costs:
NAIS Member: $3,175
NAIS Nonmember: $4,375
  • Includes two NAIS Annual Conference registrations, one weeklong virtual summer institute and the yearlong mentorship and cohort program. 
All participants at NAIS member schools are welcome to participate in the fellowship program. NAIS has an institutional commitment to the principles of diversity. In that spirit, NAIS does not discriminate in violation of the law on the basis of race, religion, creed, color, sexual orientation, age, physical challenge, nation of origin, gender, or any other characteristic.

How Can I Apply?

Applications for this fellowship cohort were due November 20, 2020. Applications for the 2022-2023 cohort will become available in September 2021

The online application includes the following questions:

  • What do you hope to gain from your fellowship experience? Please list three to five goals (1,000 character limit)
  • What is your educational philosophy? (2,000 character limit)
  • As a leader, what outstanding contributions have you made to your current school environment? (1,000 character limit)
  • What do you think are the most pressing issues facing independent school leaders today? (1,000 character limit)
  • How would you describe your leadership style? (1,000 character maximum)
  • Why do you want to become a head of school? (1,000 character maximum)

In addition to the online application, you will be required to provide the following documents. These can be either emailed to [email protected] or uploaded with the rest of your application.

  • A current resume
  • A letter from your current head of school indicating their full support of your fellowship participation and intent to be the head of a school
  • A letter of recommendation from a peer in your current school who you engage regularly (not a supervisor or student)

Contact Us

For more information please contact us at [email protected]