2017 SAIS Annual Conference
Christina Albetta
Positioning Strategist
Joanne Andruscavage
Director of Accreditation

Joanne joined SAIS as Director of Accreditation in 2014 after many successful years as a teacher, administrator and head of school. Most recently, she was the Accreditation Coordinator for the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America. A lifelong educator, Joanne has also been a consultant on governance and leadership in independent schools and has traveled extensively to schools across the continent. Her experience in school accreditation includes work on both sides of the process and collaboration with more than 14 different accrediting agencies.
Kim Bearden
Co-Founder & Executive Director
Ron Clark Academy
Katherine Berdy
Director, The C. Kyser Miree Ethical Leadership Center
The Altamont School

As the director of the C. Kyser Miree Ethical Leadership Center at the Altamont School, Katherine Berdy helps students find their passions, stare down systemic societal problems, develop innovative solutions, and become change-makers. After receiving her degree in communication studies from Vanderbilt University, Katherine moved west to work with teens in outdoor education where grit and resilience were students’ proverbial textbooks. She later received an M.Ed. from the University of Montevallo so that she could work to bring experiential education into the traditional school setting. Though the Miree Center is a fulfillment of the Altamont School’s mission, the work and relationships extend well beyond Altamont’s walls. This unique program has made a significant impact on the community through various “Miree Projects,” which range from advocating changes to the estate tax to creating a knitting program to provide hats to the homeless.
Will Bladt
Associate Head of School
St. George's Independent School
Michelle Bostian
Head of Counseling, MS Dean of Student Affairs
Greensboro Day School

Michelle Bostian, LCSW, is a counselor, professional coach, and consultant supporting leaders and teams. Passionate about ensuring decisions are made considering our innate needs for autonomy, belonging, and feelings of competence, Michelle has been instrumental in developing a tool to assess a community's strengths in meeting these needs for adults as well as for students. Michelle has deep experience in advocacy, counseling, leadership development, program development, and creative problem solving. Board Certified, International Coaching Federation certified and certified with the National School Reform Faculty, Michelle's experience includes coaching leaders at all levels. At Greensboro Day School, she serves as head of counseling, middle school dean of student affairs, and leader of the character and ethics team. Michelle is also a founding member of Heart of Character, an organization envisioning school cultures where students, with supportive adults, deepen their self-awareness, cultivate internal motivation, and become positive contributors in their communities.
Allen Broyles
Assistant Head of School
The Children's School

Allen Broyles is the assistant head of school at The Children’s School, a progressive school committed to childhood and play in Atlanta. With 26 years of experience in independent school education, he has held positions that include administration at the lower, middle, and school-wide levels, teaching positions at the lower, middle, and high school levels, director of technology initiatives, music and math instruction, and outdoor education. Allen has presented and consulted at regional, national, and international conferences and schools on the topics of applying current neuroscience to teaching, the neuropsychology of math, and how mainstream schools might structure their programs to be more responsive to and inclusive of students who struggle. He holds an M.Ed. in educational leadership and a B.A. in music and French.
Ryan Burton
Technology & Systems Support Specialist
Durham Academy

Ryan Burton works at Durham Academy in the Office of Information Technology. Ryan began his career working in the music industry for Red Light Management, with artists including Dave Matthews Band, Phish, Tim McGraw, and Third Day, focusing on leveraging new and improving technologies to best serve the needs of artist-clients and their fanbases. Ryan later served as an environmental scientist with the National Institutes of Health, working to reduce the risks of hazardous materials in NIH facilities. Since 2016, Ryan has worked at Durham Academy installing and maintaining software and hardware necessary for the daily operation of the school. He also develops custom software solutions to address needs of the faculty and students when existing solutions are not available or appropriate for the school.
Josh Clark
Head of School
The Schenck School
Shelley Clifford
Head of Lower School
Mount Vernon Presbyterian School

Shelley Clifford has served as head of lower school at Mount Vernon Presbyterian School in Atlanta for the past seven years. A native of Memphis, TN, Shelley graduated from Ole Miss and earned her master’s degree in curriculum and instruction. Shelley began her career in education as a teacher at Presbyterian Day School in Memphis. Before moving into administration, Shelley served as a teacher and director of diversity at Charleston Day School in South Carolina. Mount Vernon’s mission statement begins, "We are a school of inquiry, innovation, and impact." Shelley seeks to realize that mission for every student, teacher, and parent in the lower school. Her current research is focused on inquiry-based learning, neuroscience, and networked learning.
Erin Cohn
Senior Partner

Erin Cohn is a senior partner with Leadership+Design, an organization that works with schools to transform teaching, learning, and leadership through human-centered design. Before joining L+D, Erin worked for six years at Vermont Academy, serving in a range of leadership positions including history department chair, creator and coordinator of the Writing and Speaking Across the Curriculum Program, and most recently, dean of faculty. Erin’s work has primarily focused on developing thoughtful, healthy, and intentional faculty cultures of professional growth, helping schools to clarify and articulate core values, and assisting schools with dreaming up innovative programs using collaborative design-inspired processes. Before joining the faculty at Vermont Academy, Erin completed her Ph.D. in 20th century U.S. history at the University of Pennsylvania. She earned her B.A. from Smith College.
Johnnetta Cole
Principal Consultant
Cook Ross

Dr. Johnnetta Cole is a principal consultant with Cook Ross, a consulting firm that provides solutions to organizations in the areas of diversity, inclusion, cultural competency, leadership development, and organizational change management. Before assuming her current position, she served for eight years as director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art. Cole received a Ph.D. in anthropology with a specialization in African studies from Northwestern University. After holding teaching and administrative positions in anthropology, women’s studies, and African American studies at several colleges and universities, she served as the president of both of the historically black colleges for women in the United States, Spelman College and Bennett College, a distinction she alone holds. Dr. Cole was the first African American to serve as the chair of the board of United Way of America. She formerly served on the corporate boards of Home Depot, Merck, and Nation’s Bank South, and was the first woman to serve on the board of Coca-Cola Enterprises. She currently serves on the board of Martha’s Table, an organization in Washington, DC, that provides support for children, families, and communities. She is a past-president of the president the Association of Art Museum Directors and currently co-chairs the American Alliance of Museum’s Working Group on Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion. She is a fellow of the American Anthropological Association and a member of the National Academy of Arts and Sciences. Throughout her career, and in her published work, speeches and community service, Dr. Cole has consistently addresses issues of racial, gender, and all other systems of inequality. She has authored and edited several books and numerous articles, received numerous awards, and is the recipient of 64 honorary degrees.
Candace Collins
Director of Education

Candace Collins works with a variety of clients to assess risk, investigate incidents, and train organizations in abuse prevention. She oversees Praesidium’s work with K-12 and higher education institutions across the nation. Prior to joining Praesidium, Candace practiced law for more than ten years, focusing on insurance and corporate defense. She served as an assistant attorney general for the state of Texas. Candace graduated with honors from Texas A&M University with a degree in business management and obtained a juris doctorate from Texas Wesleyan University School of Law.
Jonathan Davis
Head of Middle School
Shorecrest Preparatory School

Jonathan Davis serves as the head of middle school at Shorecrest Preparatory School in St. Petersburg, FL. Jonathan holds a B.A. in history and a Master of Arts in Teaching, both from Washington University in St. Louis. Previously with the Whitfield School in St. Louis, Jonathan has been a member of the Shorecrest community since 2003 when he joined the school as an 8th grade English teacher and soccer coach. Along with colleague Diego Duran-Medinan, Jonathan created the Center for Service Learning Leadership with the support of an SAIS Collaboration Grant.
Lesa Doerstling
Regional Vice President
Diego Duran-Medina
Director of Service Learning
Shorecrest Preparatory School

Diego Duran-Medina serves as the director of service learning at Shorecrest Preparatory School in St. Petersburg, FL. Prior to joining the school in 2015, he spent four years as a national consultant through LeadServe Consulting, helping schools develop service learning curricula and programming. From 2007-2012, he served as director of service learning at the Edmund Burke School in Washington, DC. Diego earned a B.A. from Colgate University, an M.A. from New York University and an M.Ed. from the Klingenstein Center at Teachers College, Columbia University. Diego has presented at multiple NAIS conferences, and recently published a piece on civic education and developing students and scholars in Independent School magazine. In 2016, Diego co-founded the Center for Service Learning Leadership with Jonathan Davis. The center is dedicated to promoting best practices in service learning for independent schools.
Clay Elliott
Head of Middle School
Randolph School

Clay Elliott began his teaching career fresh out of Williams College at the Eaglebrook School in Deerfield, MA, where he taught history for ten years. While teaching at Eaglebrook, he earned his M.A. through the Klingenstein Summer Master's program in independent school leadership. Clay spent four years at St. John’s School in Houston before joining the Randolph School in 2014 as dean. Clay currently serves as head of middle school at Randolph in Huntsville, AL.
Jamie Estes
Senior Search Consultant
Southern Teachers Agency
Loren Fauchier
Director of Global Education
Providence Day School
Laura Finnell
Upper School Principal
The Cottage School
Nancy Foy
Head of School
The New Community School
Debbie Franks
Middle School Principal/Academic Dean
The Lovett School

Debbie Franks received her undergraduate degree in classics, and holds an M.S. in educational administration from Old Dominion University. She has taught Latin, English, and social studies in public and independent schools in North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, and Georgia. Debbie currently serves as the middle school principal, academic dean, and Latin teacher with the Lovett School in Atlanta.
Paula Gillispie
Head of School
Oak Mountain Academy
Courtney Haindel
Director of Marketing & Enrollment
Northlake Christian School

With a B.A. in English education and an M.A. in education administration, both from Louisiana State University, Courtney Haindel has been working in the field of education since 1997. After teaching high school English for several years, she moved into administration and served as assistant high school principal, accreditation chair, and school improvement chair. In 2009, she began serving as marketing director at a large K-12 school in Covington, LA. For three years she served as director of marketing and enrollment at Parkview Baptist, the largest independent school in the state of Louisiana. She is currently serving in the same position at Northlake Christian School, a K-12 school of almost 800 students in Covington, LA. She is a member of AISAP and is currently working to become a certified admissions and enrollment professional.
Jennifer Hannah
High Meadows School
Lee Hark
Associate Head of School
Durham Academy

Lee Hark is the associate head of school at Durham Academy, previously serving as their upper school director from 2008-2015. Lee began his career as an English teacher at Darlington School in 1993, and previously worked at Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford, CT, and Providence School in Charlotte, NC. Over the years, he has served in a variety of capacities, including admissions, residence life, and student activities. He currently co-teaches a course at Durham Academy entitled “The Mission-Driven Life” and also teaches AP English language & composition. Lee’s primary areas of work include curriculum development, faculty evaluation and professional growth, and school accreditation. Lee holds a B.A. in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and an M.Ed. in educational leadership from the University of Georgia. Beginning in July of 2018, Lee will serve as head of school for the Greenhill School in Dallas.
Pam Herath
Director of Curriculum & Programming

Pam Herath is a skilled facilitator with a rich career in coaching and teaching. She has led hundreds of dynamic workshops, seminars, and keynote addresses in sports and academic arenas, with special expertise in diversity, gender, health/wellness, sexuality, mindfulness, and affecting change. Prior to joining Strive, Pam was dean of students for four years and athletic director for 16 at the Burke School in Washington, D.C. Pam graduated from Radford University and earned her master’s in physical education, exercise science at James Madison University. Pam joined the full-time Strive staff in 2012 and became the director of curriculum and programming in 2015. She is one of the founders of Strive's National Coaches Leadership Institute which launched in 2009.
Sandra Hess Robbins
Assistant Professor
University of West Georgia

Dr. Sandra Hess Robbins specializes in early childhood special education theory and practice. She teaches graduate and undergraduate level courses in special education and early childhood education in the College of Education at the University of West Georgia. She earned her Ph.D. in special education with a focus on early childhood intervention at Kent State University. Dr. Robbins is an active member of the Council for Exceptional Children's Division for Early Childhood and Teacher Education Division, and serves as vice president for the Georgia division for early childhood. Before beginning her career in higher education, she gained seven years of experience teaching in various preschool settings, engaging in home-based behavioral consulting, conducting research and training in a center for young children with autism, and serving as an early learning consultant for the Ohio Department of Education. Dr. Robbins’ scholarship is centered on investigating innovative practices for personnel preparation in early childhood special education, including high quality online instruction and the use of immersive simulation. She is also dedicated to developing and advancing blended practices to promote inclusion for children with and at risk for disabilities, including various forms of tiered and differentiated instruction, universal design for learning, and positive behavior supports.
Heather Hoerle
Executive Director
The Enrollment Management Association

Since 2011, Heather Hoerle has served as the executive director of The Enrollment Management Association. In her work with schools and the wider education sector, she aims to advance the profession of enrollment management and empower individual professionals. Heather holds a B.A. in art history from Mount Holyoke College and an M.Ed. in educational administration from Harvard University. Heather’s career began in independent schools as an administrator, student advisor, and teacher at George School and Westtown School, both in Pennsylvania. She also served as associate director of The Association of Boarding Schools, then as director of admission and marketing services for NAIS, leading to a vice presidency at NAIS overseeing membership, corporate affiliations, customer service, and the annual NAIS Conference.
Robert Hogan
Atlanta Girls' School
Jay Hugo
Managing Principal

Jay Hugo, AIA, ASLA, ASID, is the founder and managing principal of 3north, an architecture and design firm in Richmond, Virginia. With a particular focus on educational, civic and cultural, and residential projects, Jay oversees master planning and design supported by his professional training as an architect, landscape architect, and interior designer. His buildings and landscapes have been featured in regional and national press and have been recognized by numerous award programs. Often drawing on concepts from nature, his work focuses on signature placemaking, and in particular, what he calls “threshold spaces” – the dynamic places between structure and the broader landscape. Jay is also committed to establishing stronger leadership roles for design professionals, providing representation in all aspects of project delivery including high-level process management, development consulting, stakeholder engagement, and project advocacy. Jay received a B.S. in architecture from the University of Virginia and earned his Master of Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania.
Cary Jamieson
Director, Bryan Innovation Lab
The Steward School
Katie Jefferies
Middle School Teacher
The Children's School

Katie Jefferies received her B.A. in English and secondary education from Oglethorpe University and her M.A. in library media from Georgia State University. She taught high school language arts in Dekalb County, GA, from 2000-2007, and in 2007 she joined the faculty of The Children’s School as a library media specialist, taking on library administration duties as well as reading stories and planning lessons for preschool aged students. In 2016, Katie joined the newly reimagined 6th grade team, which kicked off a brand-new curriculum by planning and executing immersive, project-based learning units for middle grades students. Katie is a trained facilitator of both the World Peace Game and Critical Friends, and serves as team lead for the middle grades team.
Doug Jennings
Educators' Collaborative
Rick Johnson
Head of School
Springwood School

Rick Johnson has served for over 30 years in independent education both at the college and secondary levels. He is currently the head of school at Springwood School in Lanett, AL. Under his leadership, Springwood has earned the prestigious AISA President’s Award for academic accomplishment and faculty development. In addition to his role as head of school, he also serves as the head coach of the Lady Wildcats, winners of the 2016 AISA state title with a 30-0 record. Previously, Rick was the head of school at Trinity Christian School in Dublin, GA. He holds a B.S. in education from Maranatha Baptist University and an M.S. in management from the U.S. Sports Academy.
Damian Kavanagh
Executive Director

Since July 2017, Damian Kavanagh has served as the executive director of MISBO. Previously, he spent seven years as a vice president with SAIS where he oversaw the accreditation and membership programs of the association. Damian has conducted research, published, and presented at numerous state, regional, national, and international independent school conferences on a wide variety of topics related to independent school organizational effectiveness and sustainability. Prior to joining SAIS, Damian served as a teacher, coach, and administrator at the Westminster Schools of Atlanta and as head of school for Cambridge Academy in Greenwood, SC. Damian earned both his B.A. and M.A. in Latin literature from the University of Georgia, a specialist degree in education (Educational Leadership for Learning) from Kennesaw State University, and the Certified Association Executive designation from the American Society of Association Executives.
Stephanie Keaney
Director of Programs

Stephanie Keaney has over 20 years of experience in independent school education. Her career started as a lower school educator and subsequently grew beyond the classroom into leadership positions both in a school setting as well as the state independent school association. Stephanie has been involved in the 'Women in Leadership' initiative in North Carolina for six years and currently serves as the director of programs for the North Carolina Association of Independent Schools.
Hilary LaMonte
Senior Vice President
Harriet Litzky
Dean of Instruction
Swift School

Harriet Litzky has over 40 years of experience in education. She has developed and led workshops on a variety of educational topics to improve student learning, create learning communities among staff, and implement new programs in the classroom. Harriet graduated with a degree in speech therapy from Northeastern University in Boston. She attended Hofstra University in New York and received her M.Ed. in special education and elementary education. Harriet taught with the Epstein School for 11 years. In 2004, she took the position of director of elementary school in general studies K-5. Harriet joined the staff at Swift School in 2011, teaching 5th grade for four years. Presently, she is the dean of instruction at Swift.
Scott Looney
Head of School
Hawken School
Kelly Lyn
Middle School Teacher
The Children's School

Kelly Lyn joined the middle grades team at The Children’s School of Atlanta in 2016. In this position, she collaborates with her team to create an integrated project based learning curriculum while ensuring science is effectively incorporated into it. Kelly has presented and led workshops at regional and national conferences on differentiation and integrating experiential education into everyday curricula. She has held a variety of positions in education since 1999: university instructor, instructor and program manager with Outward Bound, and assistant principal and lead teacher with independent schools. Kelly received her B.A. in English and computer science, and earned her M.S. and Ph.D. in information science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Michael Magno
Head of Middle School
Providence Day School

Michael Magno has been at Providence Day School in Charlotte, NC, for 15 years. Starting as a science teacher, then dean of students, he currently serves as head of middle school. Michael holds a B.A. in psychology and an M.A. in education from DePaul University. Michael is also a soccer coach, currently coaching middle school boys’ soccer.
John Marshall
Assistant Head of School for Development
Wesleyan School
Pam Mason-Norsworthy
Director of Communications
Greater Atlanta Christian School

Nurturing open and productive discussions between a school and families, uniting diverse team members behind complex strategic challenges, and listening intently and empathically to every member of an institution’s community, Pam cares passionately about making relationships work. Graduating with a B.A. in communications from the University of Virginia, Pam quickly put her knowledge into practice, launching a successful career as a communications specialist in both corporate and educational settings. Currently serving as the director of communications at Greater Atlanta Christian School, Pam also draws on her experience as a news reporter to ask probing questions that quickly lead to the heart of the issue. To Pam, successful partnership requires honesty, creativity, and kindness in equal measures. Through her deep awareness of interpersonal dynamics, and her insights into the seemingly disparate worlds of education and marketing, she consults with CRANE MetaMarketing to ensure school programs move from exciting inception to joyous completion.
Bill McClain
Director of Environmental Sustainability
St. George's Independent School

Bill McClain has spent the last 12 years at St. George's Independent School in Memphis, TN, sharing his passion for the environment with students in grades PK-12. In addition to teaching upper level science courses in biology and environmental science, Bill has been responsible for the creation of gardens on all three of the school's campuses, involving students in environmental and energy conservation projects, developing and expanding student access to the wetland and old-growth forest acreage of the school, and serving as the school's liaison to several conservancy organizations. Bill holds a B.A. in biology from Southwestern University and an M.S. in biology from Texas Christian University.
Devereaux McClatchey
President & CEO
Carney, Sandoe & Associates
Arch McIntosh
Head of School
Charlotte Latin School

With more than 40 years of educational experience as a teacher, coach, and administrator, Arch McIntosh currently serves as the head of Charlotte Latin School in NC. After headships at Effingham Academy, Georgia, and Pulaski Academy, Arkansas, Arch has served as head of Charlotte Latin since 2001. He earned a Bachelor’s degree from Marshall University, a Master’s in education from the University of South Alabama, and an Ed.S. in administration and supervision from the University of Arkansas. In addition, Arch was a Klingenstein Fellow at the Columbia University Teachers College. He is a past president of the North Carolina Association of Independent Schools, and the co-founder of the Teaching Fellows Institute at Charlotte.
Linda McNay
Our Fundraising Search

Linda Wise McNay is an independent fundraising consultant with Our Fundraising Search in Atlanta. She has served more than 125 clients over the past 12 years. Linda’s nonprofit background includes work with both higher and secondary education, the arts, human services, and faith-based organizations. Her professional experience includes work in capital campaigns, annual fund, planned giving, membership and development, and executive searches. Linda previously served as the director of advancement for Pace Academy in Atlanta. While there, she led the school’s largest and most successful capital fundraising campaign, reaching their goal ahead of schedule, under budget, and with 95% parent participation and 100% board, faculty, and staff participation. She is the author of Fundraising for Schools: 8 Keys to Success Every Head of School Should Know.
Nishant Mehta
Head of School
The Children's School
Ann Mellow
Associate Director

As associate director for the National Association of Episcopal Schools, Ann Mellow develops educational programs and materials for member schools and consults frequently on Episcopal school leadership, governance, and Episcopal identity. Prior to joining NAES, Ann served as head of middle school for the Chapin School and Poly Prep Country Day School, and head of school at St. Luke’s School, all in New York. Ann earned a bachelor of arts degree in history from Middlebury College and a master’s degree in education from Harvard. She is a former trustee of the New York State Association of Independent Schools and currently serves as a trustee of Grace Church School in New York City and Brooklyn Heights Montessori School in Brooklyn, NY.
Christina Mimms
Director of Communications
Jeff Mitchell
Head of School
Currey Ingram Academy

Dr. Jeff Mitchell has a B.A. from the University of Winnipeg, as well as a Master’s in educational administration and Ph.D. in educational psychology from the University of British Columbia. After 11 years as a teacher and administrator at St. George’s School, Vancouver, British Columbia, he became the director of Park Tudor lower school in Indianapolis. After a successful four years, he was hired as the head of Tuscaloosa Academy in Alabama. Dr. Mitchell now serves as the head of school at Currey Ingram Academy in Brentwood, TN.
Mark Mitchell
Vice President
Cari Newman
High Meadows School
Alan November
Senior Partner & Founder
November Learning

Alan thrives on confirming and challenging educators’ thoughts about what’s possible in the world of teaching and learning. More than anything, he is a teacher at heart, with a wealth of experience teaching learners of all ages. Alan November is an international leader in education technology. He began his career as an oceanography teacher and dorm counselor at an island reform school for boys in Boston Harbor. He has been director of an alternative high school, computer coordinator, technology consultant, and university lecturer. He has helped schools, governments, and industry leaders improve the quality of education through technology. His areas of expertise include planning across curriculum, staff development, new school design, community building, and leadership development. Alan was named one of the nation’s fifteen most influential thinkers of the decade by Tech and Learning magazine. His writing includes numerous articles and best-selling books. Alan’s most recent book Who Owns the Learning? is on the New York Times education best sellers list for 2013. Alan was co-founder of the Stanford Institute for Educational Leadership Through Technology and was selected as one of the original five national Christa McAuliffe Educators. Audiences enjoy Alan’s humor and wit as he pushes the boundaries of how to improve teaching and learning. His areas of expertise include planning across curriculum, staff development, new school design, community building and leadership development.
Donna Orem

Donna Orem was named president of NAIS in November 2016. Orem served as NAIS’s chief operating officer for 11 years before becoming interim president in 2015. In that capacity, she directed the organization’s strategic planning and provided vision and leadership for new initiatives, products, and services. She also oversaw human resources and talent management. Orem joined NAIS in 1998 as the vice president for educational leadership and later became the vice president for strategic initiatives and research.

Prior to joining NAIS, she was the vice president for products and services development at the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). In her 15 years at CASE, she also served as the vice president for independent schools. In that role, she managed all services for the independent school advancement community, including the annual CASE/NAIS Conference. Earlier in her career, she served as associate director for the American Association of University Women (AAUW).
Caryn Pass
Candice Pinares-Baez
Fisher Phillips
Laura Reed
Director of Professional Development

Laura Reed is the director of professional development for the North Carolina Association of Independent Schools. Prior to joining the NCAIS staff, Laura was head of school at Noble Academy. She received her B.A. in special education from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and her master’s in school administration from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She is certified by North Carolina in learning disabilities, grades K-12, and as a principal. She is also a certified Wilson Language instructor and a certified trainer by the Gurian Institute in how boys and girls learn differently.
Ken Rogers
Middle School Principal
Charlotte Christian School

As a trained counselor, Ken Rogers holds a B.A. in English from Berea College and an M.S. in counseling from Johns Hopkins University. With independent school experience as a teacher, dean, and head of middle school, Ken is a frequent presenter and consultant to independent schools. He has previously served as head of middle school with Germantown Academy in Fort Washington, PA, and the Wellington School in Columbus, OH. Ken currently serves as middle school principal with Charlotte Christian School in North Carolina, and is a faculty member of the ISACS New Teacher Institute.
Meristell Shackleford
Dean of the Lower School
Monteverde Academy

As a graduate of the Darlington School in Rome, GA, and the daughter of an independent school kindergarten teacher, independent school influence runs deep in Meristell Shackelford. She holds a B.A. in psychology from the University of Georgia and an M.Ed. in educational leadership from Stetson University. For the last 15 years, she has served as an administrator at Montverde Academy in Montverde, FL.
Patricia Shafer
Executive Director
NewGen Peace Builders

Patricia Shafer is a Rotary Peace Fellow, the executive director of nonprofit Mothering Across Continents, and co-founder of NewGen Peacebuilders, a global youth peace education program that emphasizes the role, value, and impact of young people, ages 14-24, in achieving a peaceful world. Patricia holds an M.A. in journalism from The Ohio State University and an M.B.A from Northwestern University. She also earned a degree in coaching and consulting for change from the Oxford University Said Business School and the HEC Paris School of Management.
Barry Sherman
School Social Worker
Bruns Academy/Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools

Barry Sherman is a school social worker in Charlotte, NC. With a master’s degree in social work form the University of South Carolina, Barry works in a high-poverty, segregated school that is part of the Project L.I.F.T. (Leadership & Investment For Transformation) zone. Project L.I.F.T. is a public/private partnership organized as a nonprofit organization, operating as one of five learning communities in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School System. Barry is particularly passionate and committed to helping low-income students gain access and exposure to life beyond their everyday neighborhood and school experience.
Bill Simmer
Independent School Management
Jay Underwood
Head of School
High Meadows School
Kelley Waldron
Head of School
St. Andrew's School

Kelley Waldron currently serves as the head of school at St. Andrew's School in Savannah, GA. Her previous experience includes director of admissions, director of studies, head of lower school, and assistant head for academic affairs. She is passionate about doing the right things in education for our students, schools, and communities. This means always having an open ear and mind about thoughtful ideas and research on what it means to help our students reach their fullest potential through education. Kelly holds a B.A. in philosophy from Tulane University, an M.S. from Loyola University New Orleans, and an Ed.D. in curriculum studies from Georgia Southern University.
Todd Wass
Middle School Teacher
The Children's School

Todd Wass is a middle grades teacher at The Children’s School in Atlanta. He has 15 years of independent school experience as a middle school teacher, department head, and coach. In his role at The Children’s School, Todd helps to develop immersive project-based learning, social studies units, and curricula for the middle school. Todd has presented at regional and national conferences on current trends in curriculum and instruction – design thinking, problem and project-based learning, and student-centered learning. Todd holds an Ed.D. in curriculum and instruction, and an M.Ed. in social studies education from Georgia State University, and a B.A. in American studies from The University of the South.
Ryan Welsh
Design Strategist
Providence Day School
Debra Wilson
General Counsel

Debra Wilson is general counsel for the National Association of Independent Schools. She received her B.A. in English from Sewanee, The University of the South, and her J.D. from the University of South Carolina at Columbia. Debra joined NAIS in 2000. As general counsel, Debra executes or coordinates all legal work of NAIS. She also oversees the association’s government relations work, including reviewing regulations, legislation, and cases impacting independent schools. She has written many articles on the legal issues that impact independent schools. Debra presents on the various legal issues that schools face and is committed to helping schools mitigate legal risks on the front end. Beyond the legal realm, Debra is also involved in the governance work at NAIS, including co-authoring the Trustee Handbook with Donna Orem.
Sally Wood
Middle School Teacher
The Children's School
Sally Wood holds an M.S. from Johns Hopkins in special education with a focus in mild to moderate disabilities, and a B.A. in political science from Wellesley College. She joined The Children’s School, Atlanta, in 2001 as a lower school teacher. Sally then spent six years at the McLean School of Maryland. She returned to The Children’s School in 2012 and joined the middle grades team in 2016 to specifically focus on math.