Coaches' Corner

Are you grappling with an issue? Ready to reflect on your personal and professional journey? Working with a certified coach can be an important tool in your toolkit. NAIS offers you time to discuss and process your issue and journey in complimentary sessions with certified coaches in the Thrive 2024 Coaches' Corner. This program will take place during the conference, February 29–March 1, in St. Louis, MO, on the third floor of the America’s Center in the Executive Conference Center.

Registered attendees can sign up for free 45-minute sessions with educator-focused coaches trained to listen, ask powerful questions, and create a space for reflection. Whether you have a school-based dilemma or have reached a personal or professional crossroads, take advantage of the opportunity to use a fully trained certified coach as a sounding board during your time at Thrive 2024.

Signups for attendees are open, and space is limited. Registered attendees received an email with the registration link. If you have any questions, please contact us through our Help Center.

Coaches' Corner Schedule

All times listed are Central Time.

  • Session 1: 8:00–9:00 AM CT
  • Session 2: 11:00 AM–12:00 PM CT
  • Session 3: 1:30–2:30 PM CT
  • Session 4: 8:00–9:00 AM CT
  • Session 5: 11:00 AM–12:00 PM CT
  • Session 6: 12:00–1:00 PM CT
  • Session 7: 1:30–2:30 PM CT

Note: Session slots are one hour, but the coaching sessions will run for 45 minutes. Registrants may only attend one coaching session at the conference to ensure that as many attendees as possible can participate.

Coaches' Corner Coaches

  • Susanne Carpenter is a leadership consultant, executive coach, and the principal and founder of Carpenter Leadership Consulting. She works with school leaders and leadership teams to help them become high-performing and strategy-focused.
  • Richard (Dick) Tucker Ewing, Jr. is an executive leadership coach and consultant trained in the philosophy and practices of two leading International Coaching Federation certification programs and BoardSource. He draws on 40 years of experience as a school head and trustee in his service as thought partner and guide to educators and leaders.
  • Trina Gary is an experienced executive consultant and certified professional leadership coach committed to working with others to strengthen self-awareness, raise consciousness, and increase leadership capacity.
  • Aimee Giles empowers bold, adventurous heads of school and school leaders to stay “in the arena” and lead with integrity, power, and impact. With more than 20 years of leadership experience, including as head of school, she coaches leaders to courageously tackle the big challenges that lie ahead—in education, in schooling, in life—with grace, dignity, and joy.
  • Christy Heno is a Gallup Certified Clifton Strengths coach who has worked in education for 30+ years. Currently the dean of faculty at Presbyterian School (TX), she aspires to bring the transformational work of investing in the strengths of faculty and staff to schools promoting positive school cultures, higher levels of engagement, productivity, and joy.
  • Shelley Lawrence, founder of Schoolhouse Collaborative, Inc., is a certified coach who specializes in working with independent school leaders and teachers. Her program, The Grounded Leader, helps leaders identify vision and values so they can lead with confidence and intention.
  • Jim Leonard most recently served as head of school at Santa Fe Prep (NM) for 21 years. Before that he served as associate director at The Mountain School of Milton Academy (VT) and as English Department chair at Pomfret School (CT).
  • Mark McKee is an ICF-credentialed executive coach who believes in the power of the coaching relationship to drive leadership and change for people and organizations. An experienced school head, teacher, and board leader, he builds his work on a career of understanding people and schools through frameworks of research, systems, and culture.
  • Tekakwitha M. Pernambuco-Wise is head of The Wyndcroft School (PA). She is also a certified executive coach and senior consultant with The Jane Group.
  • Renee Prillaman has been an educator, coach, and consultant for over 40 years whose work focuses on supporting and coaching educators who seek to be courageous, authentic, and joyful school leaders. Uniquely suited to support division directors, associate heads, and instructional leaders, she also believes deeply in the need for and power of transformative coaching for senior administrators.
  • Jay Rapp has worked in and with independent schools for over 25 years providing professional development in the areas of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) and leadership. He currently works at Brooklyn Friends School (NY) as associate director of alumni engagement and strategic initiatives.
  • Zakaria Sherbiny is a certified coach and graduate of the schools of education at Harvard University and Columbia University. He founded First Rodeo Coaching on the premise that every independent school leader deserves an executive coach to help them maximize their potential and impact on their school communities. 
  • Sidra Smith is an ICF-certified coach and 25-year independent school veteran who brings experience in school leadership, people management, and authenticity (“real talk”) to her coaching. She helps clients articulate, refine, and pursue action steps toward the realization of their goals by asking probing questions, providing feedback, and offering opportunities for reflection and practice.
  • Alan Sparrow is a teacher, coach, and administrator and has especially enjoyed heading Rowland Hall (UT) for 28 years.
  • Michael Walker is an experienced and empathic school leader with a keen interest in people. His work in independent and international schools attunes him to the challenges, dilemmas, and dynamics of independent school leaders.
  • Lucretia Wells is a certified coach and group dynamics practitioner who is eager to walk alongside you and support your goals. After 35 years in independent schools, she uses her passion for helping others and understanding systems to focus on coaching and organizational dynamics. 
  • Abigail Wiebenson has worked in the realm of independent schools for many decades, including 19 years as head of Lowell School (DC). Since 2008 when she became a certified leadership coach, she's worked across the country and abroad with heads, boards, teachers, and administrative staff to enable them to understand the power of language in leadership.