Expect The Best


National Leaders Conference

The 2019 National Leaders Post Conference Call for Workshop Proposals are open until December 7. Apply here.

Strengthen Your School Leadership

CAIS values the constant and deliberate quest for excellence, and we recognize the vital leadership role that governors play, in partnership with Heads, in the success of our schools. We want all of our schools to have strong Heads who focus on supporting the students of the present, but we also want strong Boards that focus on supporting the students of the future.

The Governance Guide include new learning on a number of areas, including Human Resources, Risk Management, Head Transitions, and Consent Agendas.

CAIS members and non-members can purchase a hard copy here. And CAIS members can also view the full PDF in CAIS Connect here.

2019 Heads & Chairs Conference

Theme: School Culture and Climate: Bringing Community Well-Being Into Focus

Heads & Chairs Conference: October 17 - 19, 2019
Annual General Meeting: October 19, 2019
Pre-Conference workshop (waiting list only): October 16, 2019
New Heads and New Chairs Dinner & Workshop: October 16 - 17, 2019

Location: Marriott on the Falls, Niagara Falls, ON

What is the Heads & Chairs Conference?
The Conference includes workshops for new Heads and new Chairs, notable Guest Speakers, separate sessions for Heads and Chairs, and the CAIS Annual General Meeting. Several other presentations and workshops take place, which vary each year.

The Heads and Chairs Conference offers an excellent opportunity for the most influential people in the Canadian independent school system to gather in one place to learn and share with colleagues.

Members can view past Conference materials in our CAIS Connect member portal here.


Conference Fees

CAIS schools:
Heads of School and Board Chairs are invoiced with their schools yearly membership fees.
Non-CAIS schools:
Heads of School $1990.00
Board Chair: $1990.00 


Due to the Marriott on the Falls being sold out over the Conference dates, we have secured more rooms at the Radisson Fallsview for those that still require accommodations. 

Radisson Fallsview
6733 Fallsview Blvd, Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada L2G 3W7
To book a room call: (905) 356-1944
Quote Canadian Accredited Independent Schools to get the group rate.

Travel Discounts

Air Canada

Conference attendees may take advantage of a 10% discount on all fares except for Tango bookings. To take advantage of this discount, visit www.aircanada.com and enter JC7EB4T1 in the search panel. The designated travel period for the conference on Air Canada begins October 9, 2019 and ends by October 27, 2019.


Conference attendees may take advantage of a 5% off Econo* and 10% off EconoFlex and Premium fares. To take advantage of this discount, visit www.westjet.com/conventions and enter H31TC82 in the search panel. The designated travel period for the conference on Westjet begins October 9, 2019 and ends by October 27, 2019.

Via Rail

Conference attendees may take advantage of 10% off the best available fare in Economy, Economy Plus, Business, Business Plus, Sleeper class. To take advantage of this discount, visit www.viarail.ca and log in to your profile, or create one prior to booking. On the passenger information screen, select "convention fare" from the “discount type” drop-down menu, and enter the discount code 13972 for your convention or event in the discount code field. The designated travel period for the conference on VIA Rail begins October 14, 2019 and ends October 22, 2019.

Niagara Airbus

Preferred rates are available for those wanting to book Niagara Airbus. Attendees can visit www.niagaraairbus.com and at the beginning of the booking page, you will need to enter discount code 611 where you see Conference/Promo code - and your discount will automatically be calculated when the code is entered. The designated travel period for the conference on Niagara Airbus begins October 9, 2019 and ends October 27, 2019.

Hertz Car Rental

If you are attending and want to rent a car, preferred rates are being offered by HERTZ. Please use CV#022Q9382 when making a reservation - https://www.hertz.com/rentacar/reservation/. The designated booking period for rentals is October 8, 2019 and ends October 28, 2019.

Companion Program

You may purchase extra tickets for these events:

Thursday, October 17
Welcome Networking Event
6:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Friday, October 18
Networking Reception & Dinner
5:00 – 10:00 p.m.

NEW! Pre-Conference Media Relations Workshop

Registration is currently full! Thank you to those who registered. You can register to be on the waiting list in the Heads & Chairs Conference registration form above.

Session Title: Media Relations Workshop
Presenters: Shirley Muir, President, The PRHouse and Joanne Kamins, Head of School, Balmoral Hall
Date and Time: October 16, 2019 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Fees: $700 for CAIS Members and $900 for non-CAIS members

About The Workshop
In recent years national headlines about sexual assaults at private schools put the media on a “full court” press.

But media can find their way to your  school’s front step in many other ways. You may find yourself in the news for trying to expand your campus and neighbours are blocking the zoning variance; when your school bus driver has a heart attack and the bus filled with your children careens into a tree; when thousands of dollars have gone missing from school coffers; or when international parents loudly and publicly object to your fee contracts.

All are real examples in Canada in the last few years – some that made headlines and some were managed behind the scenes before the media got wind of them.

What You Will Learn
This media relations training is an intensive hands-on workshop and includes a chance to identify and work on risks percolating on your campus – real or feared. Your worst nightmares are broken down and key audiences, key assumptions, key answers for each issue are worked on throughout the day. The day includes two on-camera, videotaped interviews for each participant in a private setting. 

You will walk out of this session feeling more confident on how you’ll manage a similar crisis when the media calls and how to best ensure you preserve the reputation of your school, your students and families.

About The Presenters
Shirley Muir of The PRHouse has become the go-to source for independent schools that find themselves under the media and public scrutiny. She’s successfully guided heads of schools and chairs through every imaginable issue.

As a bonus Shirley Muir, will be joined by Joanne Kamins Head of School for Balmoral Hall School who will walk you through how they managed issues together under media scrutiny. They’ll review the progression of a typical issue and the predictable path of media coverage.

The advent of social media means that we’re all connected more and more and that everyone has the tools to be their own publishers and broadcasters. However, few organizations have the discipline to know when and how to use those tools. Being able to respond 24/7 is critical to the reputation of your institution locally, nationally and internationally and this workshop helps you prepare for both mainstream media and social media.

2019 Heads & Chairs Planning Committee Members

Ed Kidd,  Conference Chair, Ridley College
Marc Ayotte, Hillfield Strathallan College
Innes van Nostrand, Appleby College
Nancy Richards, St. Mildred's-Lightbourn School

Save The Date

2020 Heads & Chairs Conference

Date: October 18-20, 2020
Location: Hotel Bonaventure Montreal
Theme: TBC

* New Heads and new Board Chairs will be invited to a welcome dinner & workshop sessions. Dates and time to be confirmed.




Conference Vision

The National Conference provides Heads and Chairs with the opportunity to:

  • Listen to visionary speakers about significant issues focused on the selected conference theme
  • Listen to speakers about educational issues, as well as national and international trends
  • Engage in discussions around the theme and/or school improvement
  • Attend the Annual General Meeting
  • Be inspired and re-energized
  • Enjoy a new area of Canada
  • Spend time with Heads and Chairs all together; Heads and Chairs in separate groups; and individual school Heads and Chairs
  • Network with colleagues from across the country

Membership Requirements

An important benefit of membership in our national organization is participation in the annual conference. Heads and Chairs are required to attend the annual Heads and Chairs Conference during which an Annual General Meeting is held.

If a Head is not able to attend, the Executive Director must be contacted prior to the conference. If a Head is not able to attend two consecutive years, the Board will review his/her school’s membership status.

If a Chair is unable to attend, he/she may appoint another member of their Board to attend.

The Annual membership fee invoice will include registration fees for the Head and Board Chair.

Who Should Attend?

  • All Heads of School, Board Chairs and their spouses/partners that are members of CAIS;
  • Heads of Schools and Board Chairs that are interested in becoming members of CAIS are invited to attend one conference;
  • Executive Directors from aligned associations are invited by the CAIS Executive Director;
  • Corporate sponsors and exhibitors that are strategically aligned with CAIS` vision and mission are invited to certain sections.

Interested in Sponsoring a CAIS event?

Visit our Sponsor a CAIS event page for more information. If you are interested in becoming involved, please contact: