2024 Leadership Conference

9:30 AM – 10:00 AM

arrival & registration

10:00 AM – 11:00 AM

It’s Not Just Your School
Debra Wilson, President, NAIS

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM


12:00 PM – 1:00 PM

Lunch for Heads of Color & Leaders of Color

Lunch for all other school leaders

1:00 PM – 1:50 PM

Facilitated Table Top Conversations

Share Table Top topic suggestions here

2:00 PM – 3:00 PM

Heads of Schools Reception

Breakout session for all other school leaders: 
Re-Imagining Vision and DEI: The Journey Starts With Brave Conversations
Julio Delgado, Apple

This presentation will begin with the Julio Delgado’s personal story and continuous journey from hardship to leadership, highlighting how and why DEI challenges are omnipresent. This talk will transition into how collective leadership and experiences can drive school culture and create change that can become normalized. Learn how brave conversations with all stakeholders can help define the actions to begin and then amplify that vision. Apple, as a case study with its REJI initiative, will be the backdrop to the discussion.

3:00 PM – 4:30 PM


4:30 PM – 6:00 PM

Cocktail Reception & Visit With Corporate Guests

6:00 PM – 8:00 PM


Leadership for a New Era: Inclusion, Belonging, and Safety in Schools
Dr. Michael Steven Williams || Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis in the College of Education at the University of Missouri

8:00 AM

Breakfast available

8:30 AM – 9:30 AM

Heads of Schools panel (limited to Heads of Schools) 

Breakout session for all other school leaders:
Creating Connections: Exploring the Intersection of Mental Health and Belonging
Dr. Michael Steven Williams, Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis in the College of Education at the University of Missouri

9:30 AM – 11:00 AM

Independent School Business: Revenue Drivers, Expense Levers, and Innovations
Jeff Shields, President, NBOA

11:00 AM

LUNCH — Boxed lunch available

CAIS is happy to have found Water’s Edge Resort & Spa in Westbrook, CT as a site for our annual conference. The resort features acres of grounds overlooking the water, a private white sand beach, a premium spa, a bar and restaurants. Guests also have access to a fitness center, tennis courts, an indoor and outdoor swimming pool (weather dependent), indoor Jacuzzi, sauna, steam room and changing rooms.

Guest rooms range from 3-bedroom suites to king-sized bedrooms overlooking the water.

Reserve your room by March 23 to access the special rate, and if you are interested in a spa treatment during any of the break times, reserve early!

  • $455 first attendee
  • $340 second attendee
  • $250 third & subsequent attendees

Rooms range in cost from $179 – $399.

Julio Delgado is a Leadership Executive Manager for Apple Education for the Eastern half of the United States. He has served in K-12 education for 34years as a School Psychologist, Vice Principal, Principal, Coordinator and Director of Special Education and PPS, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction and Deputy Superintendent. Skilled in Curriculum Planning and Design, Educational Technology, Leadership Coaching, Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity Leadership, Strategy Creation, Instructional Coaching, PLCs, Classroom Management, Special Education, and Public Speaking. Graduated from St. John’s University and Queens College.

Over the years, he has led and presented to educators and boards of education as to the importance of learning communities as well as the vital role of instructional coaching in lesson creation and design to achieve the highest levels of student achievement and instructional independence. He has spearheaded initiatives that foster creative instructional design, team building, teacher leadership, social emotional wellness, diversity, and equity in school planning.

Jeff Shields, FASAE, CAE, has served as president and CEO of the National Business Officers Association (NBOA) since March 2010. NBOA is the premier national association serving the needs of business officers and business operations staff at independent schools in areas including accounting, finance, tax, risk management, human resources and facilities. The association has grown from 23 founding member schools in 1998 to over 1,300 U.S. member schools, plus member schools in Mexico, Canada and 25 other countries around the globe during its 25-year history. Today, NBOA provides nearly 1,600 member schools, business partners, associations and other organizations with a full range of live events, webinars, online courses, publications, web resources, original research, volunteer leadership opportunities, among other services to its growing membership.Shields is a sought-after speaker delivering keynotes and educational sessions to numerous independent school audiences that include business officers and business operations staff, heads of school, trustees and other school leaders on the state, regional and national levels.Prior his current role, Shields was employed by the National Association of College and University Business Officers for 10 years. At the time of his departure, he served as the organization’s senior vice president and chief planning officer. He began his career in association management as the assistant director for leadership training at the National Association of Home Builders.His current board service includes serving as a director for AMHIC, a healthcare consortium for educational associations in Washington, DC, as well as a trustee for the Enrollment Management Association. Previous board service includes serving as a director for the American Society of Association Executives, as a director for One Schoolhouse, an innovative online school offering supplemental education to independent schools, and as trustee for Georgetown Day School in Washington, DC.An active member of the American Society of Association Executives, Shields has been recognized as an ASAE Fellow (FASAE) and has earned the Certified Association Executive (CAE) designation. He holds a BA from Shippensburg University and an MA from The Ohio State University.He resides in DC and is the proud father of his 17-year-old daughter Samantha.

Dr. Michael Steven Williams is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis in the College of Education at the University of Missouri. His research program broadly focuses on inclusion, diversity, and equity, the social-psychological development of students, and institutional excellence in American education. Specifically, he centers his inquiry on (a) interpersonal relationships, particularly socialization, mentoring, and belonging for students, administrators, and faculty, and (b) the institution, focusing on organizational improvement and accountability through multi-pronged assessment and evaluation.

Debra P. Wilson began her tenure as the ninth president of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) in 2023. From 2019 until 2023, Wilson served as president of the Southern Association of Independent Schools (SAIS), where she led the organization through a period of growth and supported school leaders in her region through the COVID-19 pandemic. Her SAIS role followed 19 years at NAIS, first as assistant director of regulatory affairs and later as general counsel. In that capacity, she oversaw regulatory and advocacy work for the organization, supported schools in crises, advanced best practices in governance, and created dozens of legal advisories along with other informational resources. Before joining the NAIS staff, Debra was a tax litigator at the Department of Justice.
In addition to serving on the boards of several schools, Debra’s board service includes The Enrollment Management Association (EMA), the Council for American Private Education (CAPE), International Council Advancing Independent School Accreditation (ICAISA), and serving on the advisory board of National Network of Schools in Partnership (NNSP), a division of Close Up.

Speaking frequently on topics such as leadership and governance, school safety and risk, and community health and well-being, Wilson is also co-author of the NAIS Trustee Handbook (10th and 11th editions). Wilson received a B.A. in English from Sewanee: The University of the South and a J.D. from the University of South Carolina at Columbia. She is a graduate of the Williams School, an independent school located on the campus of Connecticut College. She is an avid reader, photographer, and cook who loves to be outdoors

Thank you to our Sustaining Partners

Principal Conference Partners

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