#naisac15 “before”

design the revolution

I’m headed to Boston on Wednesday to attend the annual National Association of Independent Schools conference. I have packed my best gore-tex boots and an extra scarf. Who thought it was a good idea to go to Boston at the end of February? Just kidding, I’m really excited for another year of learning. I’ve attended NAIS in Seattle and Philadelphia as well as POCC here in DC last year. As usual, it is jammed packed with sessions and speakers that pique my interest. Also, this year, I am a member of the Teacher of the Future cohort, so I’m looking forward to seeing my other TOF peeps and hosting a live-chat from the conference.

As someone who is super-active in the edcamp movement, a traditional conference poses a challenge. There are so many things I want to see and do and much of it overlaps. So I can use the law of two feet and get the most of my own learning or I can be polite and stay put. I think we all know which choice I’m going to make. Here is what is sparking my curiosity for this year:


First Session:

  • A Matter of Trust: Manifestations of Trust for School Leaders (Perfect for someone starting a new admin role, don’t you think?)
  • Leading Online and Offline: Blending Practice for Advancing Leadership Goals
  • Creative Capacity: Design Thinking, Curriculum, and Networks

Second Session:

  • Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns (This is with Michael Horn. The TOF class has read his new book, Blended.)
  • Design Thinking for Change: Creating Global Student Leaders
  • Revolutionary Changes to Faculty Growth, Compensation, and Evaluation (This stars my edu-friend, Anthony McGrann, a TOF’er and genius.)
  • Diving into Design Thinking: the NAIS Conference as a Laboratory Experience (This is being led by the team from Leadership + Design including my edu-friend Greg Bamford.)

Third Session:

  • Creating Culture: The Evolution of Independent School Leadership
  • Education Rethink 2020: Are You There Yet? (I love rethinking education and envisioning a future.)
  • Team Diversity: Creating Institutional Change Through a Diversity Team (This session has my heart. I believe that our diversity makes us stronger.)
  • Balancing Tradition and Innovation: The Case for a new Model in Global Programs


First Session:

  • Rethink and Redesign 21st Century Summer Learning (How are we harnessing the power of technology and creativity to really use our summers to learn and grow?)
  • Globally Relevant and Culturally Responsive Classrooms: A Design Thinking Model (This will look at the Nobis Global Action Model. I am unfamiliar with these projects but social justice + design thinking = win.)


  • Design Thinking for Identity-Safe Classrooms: Building Empathy and Diverse Book Collections
  • Success by Design: Navigating the Division Head Role ¬†(This seems like a right¬†choice.)
  • Immersive Professional Development: Rethinking Learning Experiences for Educators

I also get to drop by the Klingenstein reception on Thursday to visit old friends and share a great meal with my TOF friends on Friday. This is a great time to re-connect with colleagues near and far. Saturday will put the icing on the cake with an extended half-day version of edcampIS at Buckingham, Browne, & Nichols school. (Hopefully a stop at the COOP can be snuck in somewhere.)

Follow all of our learning shenanigans this week!! #naisac15 and #edcampis Are you headed to Boston for NAIS this week? Let’s tweet up!

NAIS reflections, short version

I can’t possibly calm my mind enough yet to truly process the last 36ish hours. Six meetings, three workshops, and one keynote later…so much to think about from this years NAIS/LINK conference.

Since I spent today live tweeting (is there dead tweeting?) from the conference, my first reflection will be in take away snippet form.

1. It was an awesome sight to behold thousands of independent school minds in one place. Talk about a smarty party.
2. I’m so glad I was able to smile myself into the Klingenstein reception despite my lack of RSVP (thanks Cindy, as always, you rock). it was great to see KSI friends and mentors for even a few brief moments.
3. I loved using twitter to follow the conference. It allowed me to check in with things I could not attend, most notably the Fri gen sess, during which I sorely was double booked! It was also a hoot to make a twitter connection during the 21stC session with the person sitting literally in front of me. What a chuckle we got there!
4. Being the scheduling wonk that I am, I was impressed with the open minded and mission driven process articulated in the session by Hawken School. Talk about bold innovators using time to best serve their kids!!
5. I am not alone in my desire for mission driven, progressive-why thinking, technologically rich, student centered learning. I was constantly reminded of this as I traversed the halls and spoke with many folks leading our schools.
6. It was so nice to see and hug my colleague who teaches in Turkey, even if it was for only a brief few moments. She is an amazing human being and role model of courage.
7. I love the guys at Evernote and Idea Paint so much I went back twice. And my new friend gave me the coolest pink evernote tee.
8. I was disappointed by Geoffrey Canada, which makes me so very sad. I talked about seeing him with several folks and I eagerly anticipated inspiration. I wanted him to know his audience and speak to how we, the Educators of the demographics that we teach, can make a difference in the lives of the demographic that sadly, we do not often reach.
9. I’m very sad I missed the Heath brothers, but I bought their new book….(yea! Another nerdy change book!)
10. I love being an independent school educator. I love using technology to collaborate. I love talking about the mission and the why of things, and I love kids. This 36 hours of driving, gas money, parking money, traffic, conference fees, and two days in high heels were worth every minute, penny, and pinched toe. I am enormously blessed.

Conference Choices

This Friday I will be attending the NAIS annual conference in National Harbor, MD. I am very excited about this conference as there are more sessions that interest me than I could possibly attend in one day. (Friday is the special “teacher day” where teachers are allowed to attend for a reduced rate. This is such a blessing as it is an expensive conference and it is coming from my own funds.) I’m not even allowing myself to look at the Wednesday and Thursday sessions because I know there are so many things I’m missing out on by just attending on Friday.

I am writing out my schedule plan for Friday today so that my Type A-ness can be in the right place at the right time. Oh, but what to choose!!?? For example, at 8am on Friday there are sessions on Arts vs. Athletics, Anxiety in Adolescent Girls, Women in Leadership, Global Learning, and Scheduling and Time. All of these are applicable to my current and future job positions and all sound interesting. What a nice dilemma to have; so many choices that it makes it difficult to choose.

I am particularly excited about seeing/hearing Geoffrey Canada speak at the end of the day on Friday. His work in the Harlem Children’s Zone is admirable and inspiring. I can’t wait to hear what he has to say to the independent school community.

No matter what I attend, I’m glad that I have this opportunity to learn and network with a large contingent of the independent school community. I have attended many a local conference and workshop but this is my first national conference since OPERA America in 2003. I hope to see a Klinger or two from KSI Class of 2008. I also look forward to spending part of the day at the C,S,&A LINK conference to make connections with schools from around the country and world.

I plan to blog or tweet as much as I can from the conference. Let’s hope the wifi signal is good! If you are attending, send me a tweet and we can meet up!