A core commitment of NCAIS is to offer relevant and intentional professional development opportunities to NCAIS constituents. We have a variety of single-day workshops and multi-day conferences, listed below. In addition, we have ongoing professional development opportunities, including The Bottom Line, Cultivating Communities of Belonging, and our monthly and quarterly cohort virtual meetings, which can be found here:

Ongoing Professional Development Opportunities

Because of the strong support of our sponsors and exhibitors, we are able to offer affordable professional development opportunities to our schools. We encourage you to review our Sponsor Directory and support those organizations as they have supported our community. For those representing organizations with services and products that would benefit our schools, we encourage you to visit the link below: 

Sponsor and Exhibitor Opportunities

If you are having difficulty registering for a conference or finding your invoice, please reach out to Rebecca Slay in the NCAIS office. She can be reached at 704-461-1812 or [email protected] 

NCAIS COVID Event Policy 
NCAIS strongly encourages independent school personnel to be vaccinated unless your physician advises against it due to a serious medical issue.  At NCAIS in-person events, we will enforce masking for all attendees, regardless of vaccine status.  NCAIS will confirm any additional venue restrictions and registrants will receive final protocol as a part of pre-event communications. Attendees refusing to comply with guidelines as published will be asked to leave the conference and will forfeit the conference registration fee. This policy will be in effect until further notice. NCAIS will continue to monitor metrics and guidance by NCDHHS and the CDC and make adjustments as needed.   If conditions warrant, NCAIS in-person events may shift to a hybrid or fully virtual model.  No full or partial refunds will be issued provided sessions and content remain consistent.


 Conferences      |      Virtual Meetings      |      Webinars 


2021-2022 Professional Development


October 19, 26, & November 2, 2021Developing an Effective Human Resources Practice (4-part series) | Virtual 
Whether you are a recently appointed HR manager, have a non-HR job with HR responsibilities, or a dedicated HR professional venturing into the independent school environment for the first time, this course will provide you with the top ten elements to focus on while developing an effective HR practice within the academic culture. Gain the knowledge needed to avoid legal pitfalls, enhance the value of your role, and identify where time and resources should be focused. Session presenters will cover employee classifications, policy manuals, FMLA/ADA, background screenings, regulatory compliance, recruiting/retention, employee relations, harassment training, benefits and how HR can effectively be integrated into the fabric of an independent school community.
October 19, 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm EST | The Elephant in the Room: Critical Race Theory | Webinar

CRITICAL RACE THEORY… an Elephant in the Room if there ever was one! Well-known but seldom understood, this newest weapon of polarization in the battle over racial equity continues to create frenzies and standoffs in schools nationwide. Won’t you join NCAIS speaker, Janaka Lewis, professor at UNCC and contributor to Cultivating Communities of Belonging on October 19th at 4 pm, and learn more about this cultural juggernaut that is wreaking havoc in our schools? FREE for anyone registered for the NCAIS Bottom Line or Cultivating Communities of Belonging Courses. $25/pp for others. (CRT attendees also registering for either of the online courses in the coming month will receive a $25 credit towards the course fee.)


October 22, 29, 3:00 pm - 5:30 pm EST | ATLIS Cyber Safety Workshop for Independent School Leaders | Webinar
BONUS SUMMIT: November 3, 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm EST
Making our schools safe from cyber attacks and identity theft is a high priority for school leaders, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only increased cyber safety concerns. This 5-hour workshop over 2 consecutive Fridays provides a framework for building a cyber safety team and practical steps to build a culture of cyber awareness and safe practices for independent schools. The workshop draws on advice from technology professionals, includes hands-on activities to jumpstart cyber safety efforts, and offers a follow-up one-hour ATLIS Summit on Cybersecurity with industry resources to answer your most critical questions.

November 3, 10, & 17, 2021Emotional Equity: Empowering All Students to Honor & Learn from Their Feelings | A Virtual 3-Part Series 
“Cheer up.” “Chill out.” “Calm down.” Our language is full of expressions that tell us we should control or change how we feel. Even when we say “it’s OK to be sad” or “you have every right to be angry,” we imply that these emotions are allowed but not ideal. No surprise, then, that some SEL programs focus on managing or coping with certain emotions. Meanwhile, those with marginalized identifiers are often the ones most quickly and frequently told to manage their emotions so that those with power can stay comfortable. 
Emotional equity is when all members of a group are empowered to notice, name, honor, and learn from their feelings. This highly participatory workshop series will provide tools and strategies, rooted in evidence-based psychological science, to help educators respond to emotions in values-based ways. The first session is about empowering all students, the second centers those who need more support because of internal factors, and the third centers those who need more support because of external factors.
November 18, 2021 | College Counselors' Workshop | Now a Virtual Event!
We invite you to join us for the 2021 NCAIS College Counselors Workshop which will focus on the college counseling landscape - trends, post-pandemic changes, and the evolving role of college counselors. We welcome Dr. Bethany Meighan, Vice President for Student Affairs with the UNC System who will update us on the Board of Governors and other issues that are being discussed by UNC System leaders. In addition, we're excited to be joined by Emmi Harwald, Executive Director of Association of College Counselors in Independent Schools (ACCIS) as our opening speaker along with the following College Admissions experts who will participate in a panel discussion:
Scott Anderson - Senior Director for Outreach and Education
Kerr Ramsay - Senior Vice President for Undergraduate Admissions, HPU
Jon Westover - Associate Vice Provost & Director of Admissions, NC State University

November 30, 2021 & Part 2 TBA | ISM Scheduling Workshop | Now a Virtual Event!

“There is no better measure of your values than how you spend your time” Scott Belsky
Does your schedule reflect your mission, values, and program? Do you wish you had more time for community building, additional programming, or teacher planning? Join Independent School Management consultant Shannan Schuster as we explore best practices in school schedules. All participants will learn together on November 30th. A second session, to be scheduled, will be divided by school division (lower, middle, upper).


December 8, 2021Children's Literature Symposium | Zoom
This event provides an opportunity for educators to engage in 3 breakout sessions with highly acclaimed children's and middle grades authors. In addition, participants will receive 25 different brief video lessons on writing created by the authors designed to be shared with students. Lastly, a teacher's guide (PDF) that includes a summary of the authors, their videos, and 75 different lesson suggestions will be given to participating educators. Language Arts teachers (k-8) will walk away thrilled with all the lessons on writing they receive, and general enthusiasts of children literature will gain insight into the newest works being published in the field.

January 12-14, 2022 Heads, Trustees, & CFO's Conference | Pinehurst Resort 
This year’s Heads, Trustees, & CFO's Retreat, Framing the Future Together, led by the team at Mission & Data, will challenge participants to rethink how they engage in leadership and governance to remain mission-aligned and support the long-term viability of their schools. Emerging from a period of economic disruption, political polarization, and racial tension, the independent school landscape has shifted dramatically over the last 18 months. How school leaders and trustees partner around complex issues has never been more important. 

January 28, 2022 | Diversity and Inclusion Conference | Bennett College, Greensboro | Upper School Students, All School Faculty, Staff, Administrators, and Trustees are invited to attend


February 3-4, 2022 Women in Leadership Conference | Saint Mary's School, Raleigh 
Embracing the Gifts of Imperfection
In the spirit of Brene Brown’s breakthrough book, The Gifts of Imperfection” , we invite NCAIS women of all ages and roles to join us for the 2022 Women in Leadership Conference, February 3-4 in Raleigh for a deep dive into finding and embracing our authentic selves. We’ll experiment with what it feels like to let go of perfectionism and explore wholeheartedness. We’ll learn from and support one another. We’ll be brave and courageous. We’ll laugh, play, and maybe even shed a tear or two as we let go of who we think we should be and open ourselves up to the wonderfully imperfect women we are. Don’t miss this awesome opportunity to come together with women from across the NCAIS spectrum for a reconnecting and refocusing journey that will reinvent the way you look at yourself!
February 18, 2022 | Early Childhood Conference | Gaston Day School 
Spring 2022 | Advancement Conference | Zoom
March 4, 2022 | School Safety Summit | Zoom 
March 10-11, 2022 | Business Office Conference | Cary Academy
March 2022 | Neurodiversity Conference | Zoom 
June 20-22, 2022 | Summer Heads Retreat | Wild Dunes Resort, Isle of Palms, SC  NCAIS Board Approved Cancellation Policy:
All attendees receive a full refund if they cancel at least two weeks before an in-person event, and a 50% refund if they cancel one week before the event; no refunds thereafter. All refunds are subject to a 15% administrative fee. No refunds for virtual events that are recorded for later viewing. 
Financial Assistance:  NCAIS has a modest amount of financial assistance available. Please do not hesitate to ask if that would be helpful.