NAIS Fellowship for Aspiring School Heads

The 2023-2024 cohort application period has closed. We will begin accepting applications for the 2024-2025 cohort in the fall.


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 mentorship with an experienced head, a weeklong institute of engaging learning sessions, lifelong relationships with a cohort of supportive peers, and intensive collaboration with members of a small group to research dilemmas confronting independent school leaders and present findings during the Annual Conference.  

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

  • A 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 that provides a comprehensive overview of what headship really looks like.
  • A group action research project that will be presented at the NAIS Annual Conference.
  • 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. Programming includes: 
  • A weeklong summer institute, July 17-21, 2023 (see below for more information). 
  • Special programming at two NAIS Annual Conferences. Your registration fee is included in the cost of the Fellowship. 

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 (click here for a roadmap of program components);
  • secure the backing of your school head (including financial support if applicable); and
  • complete the full registration process by November 18, 2022.


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

Application Process

The 2023-2024 cohort application period has closed. We will begin accepting applications for the 2024-2025 cohort in the fall.

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. These can be either emailed to [email protected] or uploaded with the rest of your application.

  • 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) 

2023-2024 Fellowship Pricing

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

*Includes the cost of two NAIS Annual Conference registrations, one weeklong summer institute, and the yearlong mentorship and cohort program. 

2023-2024 Faculty

  • Ken Aldridge, Head of School, Wilmington Friends School (DE)
  • James Calleroz White, Head of School, Galloway School (GA)
  • Veronica Codrington-Cazeau, Head of School, University Prep (WA)
  • Mike Davis, Head of School, Colorado Academy (CO)
  • Jennifer Foley Tolbert, Head of School, Saint Mark's School (CA)
  • Jeremy Gregersen, Head of School, Meadows School (NV)
  • Natalia Hernandez, Head of School, Breck School (MN)
  • Damian Jones, Head of School, The Center for Early Education (CA)
  • Lisa Sun, Head of School, The Philadelphia School (PA)
  • Anne-Evan Williams, Former Head of School, Billings Middle School (WA)

2023 Aspiring Heads Institute

Fellowship programming includes a weeklong summer institute, July 17-21, 2023, at the Emory Conference Center in Atlanta, GA.

A detailed agenda will be made available online and sent via email before the institute. Please plan to arrive by 11:30 AM ET on Monday, July 17. You may plan to depart after noon ET on Friday, July 21.

Lodging at Emory Conference Center through the night of Thursday, July 20 is included in your registration fee. NAIS will make ALL hotel reservations for an arrival of Monday, July 17, and departure on Friday, July 21. If you need hotel accommodations outside of these dates, please contact [email protected]. Special requests will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Aspiring Heads Institute Sponsors

Thank you to our 2023 AHI sponsors!

BRONZE Sponsor Carney Sandoe & Associates
BRONZE Sponsor Educator's Ally Educator's Ally
BRONZE Sponsor IndySchool Consultancy IndySchool Consultancy
BRONZE Sponsor Littleford & Associates Littleford & Associates
BRONZE Sponsor RG175
BRONZE Sponsor Strat├ęGenius Strat├ęGenius

Contact Us

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

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.