Volume 3, Issue 2 - October 2023


  • From Executive Director Stephanie Keaney - Leading from the Middle: Tips & Tools for Academic Leadership Success

  • Upcoming Events - 
    • Honors Chorus: October 19-20
    • Administrators of Color Conference: October 19-20
    • Honors Band: October 23-24
    • Early Childhood Educators Conference: October 25
    • Academic Leadership Conference: November 13

  • Connect with Colleagues - Monthly Cohort Meetings (virtual)

  • Links of Interest - 
    • McLendon Speaker Series from Greensboro Day School
    • Safe Haven Glass Demonstrations in Asheville and Raleigh

  • Sponsor Spotlight - ISM and Marsh & McLennan


Academic leaders, whether they serve as division directors, department chairs, deans, or hold other mid-level leadership positions, play a crucial role in the daily operations of a school. Many individuals in these roles began their careers as classroom teachers, excelling in pedagogical practices and becoming subject matter experts. School leaders recognized their potential and promoted them to leadership positions within the school hierarchy.

Just as becoming a skilled educator takes time and practice, specific skills and mindsets are essential for academic leaders to excel in guiding others. In the wake of COVID-19, we've witnessed an increase in mental health challenges and burnout among teachers and staff. Those in direct supervisory roles shoulder the responsibility of supporting employees while also driving the school forward to ensure the success of all students. Academic leaders face a multitude of stakeholders relying on them to comprehend unique perspectives and pressures, possess answers, and lead with patience and grace.

What skills are most critical for those in academic leadership roles? The Center for Creative Leadership has identified six key leadership skills for middle managers: thinking and acting systemically, resiliency, effective communication, influence, learning agility, and self-awareness. While some of these skills are honed as classroom teachers, transitioning from leading students to leading adults requires additional practice and skill sets that most of us did not formally acquire during our own education. Just as we focus on teaching our students the soft skills they need to thrive as adults, we must also dedicate time to refine the skills essential for success in leadership positions.

As academic leaders, what steps have you taken to develop and refine the skills necessary for excelling in your role? In what ways have your mentors and supervisors challenged you to adapt your classroom skills to effectively lead your team to success? How have you adjusted your mindset to lead faculty members who were once your peers? Building the necessary leadership skills is a continuous and systematic endeavor that doesn't happen by chance. I encourage you to actively seek opportunities for growth as a school leader. The internet offers numerous valuable and free resources, such as HBR and CCL. While hiring a leadership coach represents a financial investment, it can help you identify your strengths and areas for improvement. Additionally, organizations like SAIS, NAIS, ISM, and NCAIS offer various programs and opportunities.

As you contemplate your professional goals for the 2023-2024 school year, I challenge you to take an honest look at your leadership style and identify a few areas where you can strengthen your leadership abilities. Consider forming your personal board of directors, comprising leaders within your school and beyond who can provide valuable insights and ideas. Furthermore, seek at least one professional development opportunity to support your goals. Set a date in your calendar for June 2024 to reflect on your growth throughout the school year and outline your vision of success. With deliberate effort, you can evolve into the exceptional leader you aspire to be.


     Stephanie Keaney, Executive Director
     [email protected] 

Upcoming Events

We hope to see both educators and students at one of our many upcoming events. For more information, simply click on each of the images below.

For a full list of PD offerings, click here, as we continually update our website with event information.


Connect with Colleagues: Monthly Cohort Meetings

The groups listed below meet monthly via Zoom to discuss challenges, share ideas and resources, and more. To see the full schedule of dates and times, click the image below.

Links of Interest

Greensboro Day School welcomes other NCAIS member schools and their families to join their free McLendon Speaker Series:
  • Oct 2 - Lisa Damour, author of The Emotional Lives of Teenagers
  • Nov 15 - Christian Talbot on Leveraging AI to Advance Education and the Greater Good
For more information, click here.


Safe Haven
Glass Demonstrations

This product has already been installed in several of our member schools. If you would like to experience an in-person demonstration, there are two upcoming opportunities:

  • October 9th from 9:00am - 11:00am in Asheville at the Biltmore Estate Range
  • October 11th from 11:30am - 1:00pm in Raleigh at the Wake Tech Firing Range

RSVP information is listed on the blues flyer images on the left.


Sponsor Spotlight 

Many thanks to Leadership Circle Sponsors, ISM and Marsh & McLennan, for their longstanding support of NCAIS.

Independent School Management is dedicated to advancing school leadership to enrich the student experience. Rely on 45+ years of research and insights to strengthen your school and deliver your mission with excellence. From Consultant-led professional development to student and staff insurance coverages, our services and resources ensure you’re doing what’s best for your faculty, staff, and students. Join a community of 900+ private schools to explore research-based approaches, provide proven coverages, and feel confident in your role as a private school leader. Learn more at isminc.com.

Marsh & McLennan Agency has access to broad resources and solutions across all of its sister companies under the Marsh & McLennan Companies (MMC) banner.  Mid-size companies need a partner they can trust and that can provide additional tools for opportunity and growth. We strive every day to service those needs. We successfully bridge the gap between what the “big firms” offer and the advice, solutions, and programs that smaller businesses require.