NAIS Fellowship for Aspiring School Heads

The application period for the 2024-25 cohort has now closed.

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

The NAIS Fellowship for Aspiring School Heads is a yearlong program that includes small group mentorship with an experienced head, in-person and virtual learning, including a summer institute of engaging sessions, and lifelong relationships with a cohort of supportive peers. The fellowship program is best suited for independent school administrators who are seriously considering headship in the next few years or educators who want to expand their understanding of it and deepen their leadership practice.

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

  • A mentorship cohort led by a current head of school.
  • Career counseling, including résumé and interview preparation, to help navigate and distinguish yourself in the head search.
  • Special programming during a summer institute that provides a comprehensive overview of what headship really looks like.
  • A series of learning activities that support you in getting inside the work of leading a school.
  • An invaluable network of colleagues and mentors who provide advice and support throughout your career.
Programming includes virtual meetings and the following required in-person components:
  • April 3–April 4, 2024; Washington, DC
    • This two-day event will kick off the program and allow you to meet your cohort of fellows.
  • July 22–July 26, 2024; Washington, DC
    • This weeklong summer institute will center around small-group mentorship and learning sessions to grow your understanding of independent school leadership.
  •  February 26–28, 2025; Nashville, TN
    • You’ll finish your fellowship experience with special programming at the NAIS Annual Conference. The cost of registration is included in your fellowship fees.
Eligible NAIS fellowship candidates must:
  • have a master's degree or other advanced degrees or be in the process of obtaining one;
  • have worked as an administrator in independent schools for three or more years;
  • commit to completing all the components of the program in the fellowship year; and
  • secure the backing of your school head (including financial support if applicable).


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."

"I appreciated the way that each [Faculty Member] poured into participants with wisdom, attention and time. I felt seen by them."

"... 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, engaging assignments, and lifelong relationships with a cohort of supportive educational leaders.

Application Process

The application period for the 2024-2025 cohort has now closed.

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 must provide the following documents. These can be emailed to [email protected] or uploaded with the rest of your application.

  • A current résumé
  • A letter from your current head of school indicating their full support of your fellowship participation
  • A letter of recommendation from a peer colleague (not a supervisor or student) in your current school.

2024-2025 Fellowship Pricing

Registration Type Price*
Member  $6,150
Nonmember  $7,950

*Includes the cost of one 2025 NAIS Annual Conference registration, one two-day kickoff event (housing and programming included, but not travel), one weeklong summer institute (housing and programming included, but not travel), and the mentorship and cohort program.

2024-2025 Faculty

  • James Calleroz White, Head of School, Galloway School (GA)
  • Mike Davis, Head of School, Colorado Academy (CO)
  • Jennifer Foley Tolbert, Head of School, Saint Mark's School (CA)
  • Jeremy Gregersen, Head of School, Dwight-Englewood School (NJ)
  • Natalia Hernandez, Head of School, Breck School (MN)
  • Damian Jones, Head of School, The Center for Early Education (CA)
  • Adriana Murphy, Head of School, St. Elizabeth’s School (CO)
  • Lisa Sun, Head of School, The Philadelphia School (PA)

Contact Us

For more information, please contact us at [email protected].

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.