NAIS Fellowship for Aspiring School Heads


Applications for the 2020-2021 fellowship cohort are now closed.

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


Advance your professional journey through unique programming and a yearlong mentorship with a hand-picked head who will regularly share real-life problem solving, candid conversations and engaging assignments, and lifelong relationships with a cohort of supportive educational leaders.

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

Apply to be one of the chosen few to gain access to new career opportunities, including:

  • 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 by current heads providing a comprehensive overview of what a headship really looks like.
  • Group action research project that will be presented at the NAIS Annual Conference.
  • Cultivation of 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. In-person programming includes:
  • A weeklong summer institute, July 13 - 17, 2020.
  • Sessions at two NAIS Annual Conferences. The cost of the fellowship includes the price of two full conference registrations (2020 and 2021 NAIS Annual Conferences).

2020 Faculty Members:

Ken Aldridge, Head of School, Wilmington Friends School 
Fran Bisselle, Head of School, Hathaway Brown School
Veronica Codrington-Cazeau, Head of School, The Evergreen School
Mike Davis, Head of School, Colorado Academy
Jennifer Foley Tolbert, Head of School, Saint Mark's School - Altadena
Damian Jones, Head of School, Edmund Burke School
Tekakwitha Pernambuco-Wise, Head of School, Sea Crest School 
Andrew Rodin, Headmaster, Phoenix Country Day School
Vince Watchorn
Anne-Evan Williams, Head of School, Billings Middle School

Eligible NAIS fellowship candidates must have:

  • A commitment to completing all the components of the program in the fellowship year;
  • A current role at an NAIS member school;
  • 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.
2020 - 2021 NAIS Fellowship Costs: $5,450
  • Includes two NAIS Annual Conference registrations (not including travel), one weeklong summer institute (not including travel) 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 22, 2019. 

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:

  • 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)

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