A core commitment of NCAIS is to offer relevant and intentional professional development opportunities to NCAIS constituents. We have a variety of single-day workshops and multi-day conferences, listed below. In addition, we have ongoing professional development opportunities, including cohort virtual meetings, our Teacher-to-Teacher program, and our Women in Leadership collaboration. They can be found here:

Ongoing Professional Development Opportunities

Because of the strong support of our sponsors and exhibitors, we are able to offer affordable professional development opportunities to our schools. We encourage you to review our Sponsor Directory and support those organizations as they have supported our community. For those representing organizations with services and products that would benefit our schools, we encourage you to visit the link below: 

Sponsor and Exhibitor Opportunities

NCAIS COVID Event Policy 
NCAIS strongly encourages independent school personnel to be vaccinated unless your physician advises against it due to a serious medical issue.  At NCAIS in-person events, we will enforce masking for all attendees, regardless of vaccine status.  NCAIS will confirm any additional venue restrictions and registrants will receive final protocol as a part of pre-event communications. Attendees refusing to comply with guidelines as published will be asked to leave the conference and will forfeit the conference registration fee. This policy will be in effect until further notice. NCAIS will continue to monitor metrics and guidance by NCDHHS and the CDC and make adjustments as needed.   If conditions warrant, NCAIS in-person events may shift to a hybrid or fully virtual model.  No full or partial refunds will be issued provided sessions and content remain consistent.

 Conferences      |      Virtual Meetings      |      Webinars 

2021-2022 Professional Development

September 22, 2021Virtual Trustee Training 
9:00 am -12 pm EST
Effective governance and leadership have always been key to school success. This axiom has never been truer than now as we navigate the “long tail” of the COVID-19 pandemic. As schools continue to manage the implications of the crisis, they must also address long-term systemic changes that will impact enrollment, brand loyalty, school identity, and student wellness and well-being. Now, more than ever, trustees must get governance right from the beginning. Join NCAIS for an energetic three hours of education, networking, and small group discussion—with some fun along the way! From thought leadership to updates on the shifting risk landscape to redefining institutional success, the NCAIS Governance Summit is intentional about elevating governance practices in member schools.
Topics we will cover in this session include the following:
  • Leading with Purpose: Adapting governance to a post-COVID world;
  • A Brave New World: Understanding and adapting to demographic and technological changes;
  • There is Never Enough: Grappling with finance and tough choices.
  • Avoiding the Abyss: Maximizing school success by avoiding the pitfalls of boards; and
  • Charting the Course: Re-calibrating what it means to be a successful school in a new era.

September 23, 2021 | GreerWalker Accounting Update: In-Kind Gifts | Webinar
Beginning with fiscal years ending June 30, 2022, a new accounting standard will require not-for-profit entities to report the fair value of non-monetary gifts (gifts-in-kind) as revenue and expense in the financial statements. Some entities will need to strengthen their tracking process for these types of gifts.  Individuals from GreerWalker LLP will be presenting an overview of the new standard through a webinar on September 23, 2021 at 1pm. They will also be able to answer specific questions on the requirements. Business officer and advancement professionals are encouraged to attend. This webinar is complimentary for NCAIS schools but registration is required. 

October 9, 2021, January 8 & March 5, 2022 | Resilient Leadership Institute for Emerging and Established Leaders | Greensboro & Virtual

The Resilient Leadership Institute will facilitate discovery of your natural strengths and opportunities, creating a clear path for navigating priorities with resilience as you lead through these times. Selected leaders will participate in a school-year-long experience that includes research-based best practices in leadership development as well as individual work with an executive coach, enabling leaders to navigate barriers and achieve meaningful success, all with a cohort of other leaders on the same journey. This intensive course is designed for those looking for the next step in their careers as well as those looking to develop skills.

Over the course of the year, participants will:
  • Complete a research-based personality tool.
  • Attend three full-day in-person workshops with Michelle Bostian, Bostian Coaching and Consulting. Michelle is an international and board-certified coach, certified confidence coach, and change management professional. Workshops will be held on Saturdays to minimize time away from campus (October 9 | January 8 | March 5).
  • Engage in two hour-long one-on-one coaching sessions.
  • Participate in two virtual workshops with guest speakers.
  • Select and attend an additional NCAIS leadership opportunity during the 2021-2022 school year (Heads and Trustees, Women in Leadership, or Academic Leadership).

October 12, 19, 26, & November 2, 2021Developing an Effective Human Resources Practice (4-part series) | Virtual 
Whether you are a recently appointed HR manager, have a non-HR job with HR responsibilities, or a dedicated HR professional venturing into the independent school environment for the first time, this course will provide you with the top ten elements to focus on while developing an effective HR practice within the academic culture. Gain the knowledge needed to avoid legal pitfalls, enhance the value of your role, and identify where time and resources should be focused. Session presenters will cover employee classifications, policy manuals, FMLA/ADA, background screenings, regulatory compliance, recruiting/retention, employee relations, harassment training, benefits and how HR can effectively be integrated into the fabric of an independent school community.
October 15, 2021 | Middle School Educators Conference | Now a Virtual Event!
8:30 am - 3:30 pm
For the first time ever, the annual NCAIS Educators Conference is going to focus exclusively on Middle School education! Being “in the middle” whether in a family unit or in a school setting, can be confusing and challenging but also presents unique opportunities. Middle school educators know the joys of spending time with students as they transition from children to adolescents; you also shepherd these students through the struggles of changing bodies, developing brains, shifting friend groups, and increased exposure to online experiences. Middle school can be a launchpad for student independence, exploration, and growth or a painful and scarring black hole that takes years to crawl out of. Middle school educators are pivotal, and at their best, transformational figures in the lives of students during these vulnerable years. We invite you to join with middle school colleagues from across NCAIS as we explore “Middle” ground. Keynote speakers Phyllis Fagell (Middle School Matters) and Michelle Icard (Middle School Makeover and Fourteen Talks by Age Fourteen) will bookend the day, with dozens of breakout session options filling the day.

October 15, 2021Academic Leadership Conference | Now a Virtual Event!
Packing Your Parachute: Innovative Resources and Strategies for a New (and constantly changing) Normal
After 18 months of free-falling when solid ground seemed forever away... or even worse, a big ugly crash landing...we find ourselves wondering whether to look up or down! The complexities and demands of our jobs as independent school leaders are expanding exponentially and the polarization of our communities continues to grow to unprecedented levels. Dilemmas abound and we are exhausted... but also passionate, hopeful, and ever-resilient. As the new school year unfolds, we invite you to join Simon Rodberg from American University, colleagues from Folio Collaborative, and other "parachute packers" for a day filled with resources, strategies, new research, and tools to help you prepare yourself and your team for bluer skies and smoother landings in 2021-2022!

October 22, 29, 3:00 pm - 5:30 pm EST | ATLIS Cyber Safety Workshop for Independent School Leaders | Webinar
BONUS SUMMIT: November 3, 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm EST
Making our schools safe from cyber attacks and identity theft is a high priority for school leaders, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only increased cyber safety concerns. This 5-hour workshop over 2 consecutive Fridays provides a framework for building a cyber safety team and practical steps to build a culture of cyber awareness and safe practices for independent schools. The workshop draws on advice from technology professionals, includes hands-on activities to jumpstart cyber safety efforts, and offers a follow-up one-hour ATLIS Summit on Cybersecurity with industry resources to answer your most critical questions.

November 3, 10, & 17, 2021Emotional Equity: Empowering All Students to Honor & Learn from Their Feelings | A Virtual 3-Part Series 
“Cheer up.” “Chill out.” “Calm down.” Our language is full of expressions that tell us we should control or change how we feel. Even when we say “it’s OK to be sad” or “you have every right to be angry,” we imply that these emotions are allowed but not ideal. No surprise, then, that some SEL programs focus on managing or coping with certain emotions. Meanwhile, those with marginalized identifiers are often the ones most quickly and frequently told to manage their emotions so that those with power can stay comfortable. 
Emotional equity is when all members of a group are empowered to notice, name, honor, and learn from their feelings. This highly participatory workshop series will provide tools and strategies, rooted in evidence-based psychological science, to help educators respond to emotions in values-based ways. The first session is about empowering all students, the second centers those who need more support because of internal factors, and the third centers those who need more support because of external factors.
November 18, 2021 | College Counselors' Workshop | Now a Virtual Event!
We invite you to join us for the 2021 NCAIS College Counselors Workshop which will focus on the college counseling landscape - trends, post-pandemic changes, and the evolving role of college counselors. We welcome Dr. Bethany Meighan, Vice President for Student Affairs with the UNC System who will update us on the Board of Governors and other issues that are being discussed by UNC System leaders. In addition, we're excited to be joined by Emmi Harwald, Executive Director of Association of College Counselors in Independent Schools (ACCIS) as our opening speaker along with the following College Admissions experts who will participate in a panel discussion:
Scott Anderson - Senior Director for Outreach and Education
Kerr Ramsay - Senior Vice President for Undergraduate Admissions, HPU
Jon Westover - Associate Vice Provost & Director of Admissions, NC State University

November 30, 2021 | ISM Scheduling Workshop | Now a Virtual Event!

December 8, 2021Children's Literature Symposium | Zoom
This event provides an opportunity for educators to engage in 3 breakout sessions with highly acclaimed children's and middle grades authors. In addition, participants will receive 25 different brief video lessons on writing created by the authors designed to be shared with students. Lastly, a teacher's guide (PDF) that includes a summary of the authors, their videos, and 75 different lesson suggestions will be given to participating educators. Language Arts teachers (k-8) will walk away thrilled with all the lessons on writing they receive, and general enthusiasts of children literature will gain insight into the newest works being published in the field.

January 12-14, 2022 Heads, Trustees, & CFO's Conference | Pinehurst Resort 
This year’s Heads, Trustees, & CFO's Retreat, Framing the Future Together, led by the team at Mission & Data, will challenge participants to rethink how they engage in leadership and governance to remain mission-aligned and support the long-term viability of their schools. Emerging from a period of economic disruption, political polarization, and racial tension, the independent school landscape has shifted dramatically over the last 18 months. How school leaders and trustees partner around complex issues has never been more important. 

January 28, 2022 | Diversity and Inclusion Conference | Bennett College, Greensboro

February 3-4, 2022 | Women in Leadership Conference | Saint Mary's School, Raleigh 

February 18, 2022 | Early Childhood Conference | Gaston Day School 

Spring 2022 | Advancement Conference | Zoom

March 4, 2022 | School Safety Summit | Zoom 

March 10-11, 2022 | Business Office Conference | Cary Academy

March 2022 | Neurodiversity Conference | Zoom 

June 20-22, 2022 | Summer Heads Retreat | Wild Dunes Resort, Isle of Palms, SC 


NCAIS Board Approved Cancellation Policy:
All attendees receive a full refund if they cancel at least two weeks before an in-person event, and a 50% refund if they cancel one week before the event; no refunds thereafter. All refunds are subject to a 15% administrative fee. No refunds for virtual events that are recorded for later viewing.

Financial Assistance:
NCAIS has a modest amount of financial assistance available. Please do not hesitate to ask if that would be helpful.