Expect The Best


Register for the CAIS National Leaders Conference

Register today to join us virtually on April 12-16 for the 2021 National Leaders Conference: Positive Transformation: Reframing our Relevance.

This year we are offering two distinct conference experiences - one for Academic leaders and one for Operations leaders - all for one school fee with unlimited attendees! Find out more here.

COVID-19 Resources & School Samples

CAIS members can view up to date COVID-19 resources and school samples here.

CAIS Diploma in Independent School Leadership - Leadership Institute

The CAIS Diploma in Independent School Leadership is designed to prepare participants for senior leadership roles in independent schools, particularly for Headships, by providing courses in most aspects of independent schools. It is expected that candidates will discuss participation with their Head of School.


Everyone is Welcomed at the LI

Interested in an LI module but not ready to commit to the LI Diploma program? We encourage you to register for a single module -- many participants do! -- and if you later decide to pursue the Diploma, you will have the flexibility to apply your credits toward it in the future.


Improving Our Programs

In response to ongoing surveys and as part of the CAIS Strategic Plan, we have developed a framework for leadership development (CAIS Leadership Praxis) and a pathway to guide participants as they seek leadership growth opportunities. For further details please read, Building the Future: The Importance of Leadership Development & Succession Planning in Our Schools

All, who have begun the CAIS LI prior to the summer of 2020 will be expected to complete the 6 required (Academic Administration or Teaching and Learning/Leadership for Learning; Accreditation, Advancement, Faculty Culture, Finance, Governance) and 4 elective modules from a choice of several offerings, to earn the CAIS Diploma in Independent School Leadership.

The restriction of large public gatherings due to the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of the Summer 2020 Leadership Institutes. Once large gatherings are permitted in the summer, participants new to the Diploma program will first enrol in the CAIS Introduction to Leadership program prior to taking specific modules. The Introduction, will enable participants to gain a broader understanding of leadership in an educational context prior to moving on to more specific leadership content. Because the development of strong relationships in this cohort is essential we will launch it in a face to face session.

After completion of the Introduction to Leadership, we are currently planning for participants to select at least 2 modules from 3 categories and an additional 4 modules of their choice. The new modules may include some or all of the following:

  • Academic (Academic, Co-curricular and Student Well-being and Support),
  • Operational (specific functions including Admissions, Advancement, Finance, Governance etc.)
  • Cross-Network (modules that have a whole school orientation (Faculty and Staff Culture; Design Thinking; Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; Environmental Sustainability etc.)

The Benefits of the Revised Program

Over the first 20 years of the LI program, modules were developed that addressed elements of leadership and specific operational school functions. Moving forward we have:

  • Grounded our program in research and developing leadership knowledge and competencies in areas aligned with school effectiveness (the indicators of effective practice in our Accreditation Standards);
  • Made plans to extend our module offerings to meet the needs of all aspiring leaders (not just those with academic backgrounds);
  • Provided additional formal and informal time for participants to network;
  • Included blended learning into our pedagogy;
  • Offered online modules beginning the spring of 2020;
  • Made connections between the Praxis framework and our Next Step and Heads’ Retreat.


The Award of the Diploma

The Diploma is awarded to those candidates who successfully complete the program within a five- year period.

How to Access the Modules

Modules are offered by CAIS at our annual summer Leadership Institute and individual modules may be scheduled at other times during the year. You may register for the Diploma modules by completing our online registration forms. CAIS will give recognition for a maximum of one module completed through other institutions (e.g. Universities, OISE, NAIS, etc.) provided equivalency is established. CAIS will provide documentation to other institutions with the intention that candidates may use the Diploma towards a graduate degree.

Keeping Current

CAIS continues to explore new possibilities for the Institute and additional modules have been added in Environmental Sustainability, Coaching and Women and Leadership. In the past years, CAIS has increased the flexibility in timing, with modules offered fall, spring and in the summer at locations across the nation. The selection of Leadership Institute venues is based upon a number of criteria. See Hosting the Leadership Institute below.


Upcoming Leadership Institutes


2021 Winter Leadership Institute

Virtual Format - February 19, 20 & 22, 2021

Register for Winter LI

2021 Spring Leadership Institute

Virtual Format - April 26, 28 & May 1, 2021

Register for SPRING LI


Would your school like to host a Leadership Institute?


Venues for the Leadership Institutes are selected based on the following criteria:

  • Each year the 3 major CAIS events (Heads and Chairs Conference, National Leadership Conference and the Summer LI) are distributed across the country
  • Summer LI venues are hosted by schools with large student residence capacity to minimize cost to participants.
  • The Spring LI is tied to the NLC to minimize travel costs

If so, please review the following document and contact Elizabeth Chambers with any questions.




Russell Marston, The Rosedale Day School

For the past three years, I have been privileged to attend the CAIS Leadership Institute, graduating this past summer at St. Andrew's College. Over the course of the program, I have enjoyed incredible networking and professional sharing and learning opportunities at CAIS schools in Aurora, St. Catharines, and Victoria, BC. Without a doubt, this experience has been the single most useful opportunity for professional growth in my career.

On a daily basis, I use the knowledge and skills gained while attending the institute in communicating more effectively with parents, students, and teachers, and in planning programming and curriculum that is both creative and also drives learning. The expertise of the course leaders (incredible CAIS educators), and the collaborative nature of the modules have pushed me to take what I have learned and apply it as I challenge myself to continue to develop in school leadership. There is no doubt that I am a better leader and educator thanks to the Leadership Institute.”

Warren Lee, West Point Grey Academy

My time at the LI genuinely changed how I accomplish and enjoy my role as a vice principal. The modules provided important insights into areas of running an independent school that I had either not considered or had little to no understanding of. Perhaps even more valuable to my LI experience was meeting, sharing, and problem solving with peers from all over the country. It was incredibly gratifying to learn that so many of us share the same challenges but more importantly can offer solid strategies and solutions to solve our common issues. I am also grateful for my time at the LI as I have developed friendships that I believe will last for the remainder of my career

Top 5 Reasons to Attend LI

Network With Peers

Join Heads, Academic Leaders, Senior Administrators, Athletic Directors and Teachers from across Canada. Meet with existing colleagues and new ones to exchange your ideas and experiences.

Enhance Leadership Knowledge

Learn from research and experience. Receive national updates. Participate in discussions with colleagues from similarly excellent schools who share your passion for learning.

Celebrate CAIS Leaders

Receptions featuring Art of Leadership speakers and New CAIS Leaders presentations. Join us in congratulating the year’s LI Grads at the closing night banquet.

Become a Mentor & Find a Mentor

The Next Step Program includes a formal mentorship program. At the Leadership Institute, relationships are formed that inspire excellence. Mentor someone new to the field or explore your growth opportunities as a mentee.

Earn Your Diploma

At the request of headhunters who are recruiting future leaders, CAIS will share LI Grad profiles.