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.

Spring 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 aspects of independent schools rarely experienced by teachers. It is expected that candidates will discuss participation with their Head of School.

April 5-7, 2019

Hosted by: Kingsway College School in Toronto, Ontario

The 2019 Spring LI registration is now closed. Please contact Don Kawasoe (dkawasoe@cais.ca) for any inquiries.


  1. Governance – Susan Wright, Wright Management Consulting (almost full, please contact Don Kawasoe)
  2. Accreditation – Val Pighin, CAIS Director of Accreditation and Research(almost full, please contact Don Kawasoe)
  3. Mental Health First Aid – Basic – Carolyne Hooper, Mental Health Commission of Canada

A minimum of 10 participants is required for each module to run.

Program Times:

  • The Governance and Accreditation modules run from 4:15 p.m. on Friday, April 5, to 4:15 p.m. on Saturday April 6, 2019
  • The Mental Health First Aid program is 12 hours in length and will begin at 4:15 p.m. on Friday, April 5, and conclude on Sunday morning at 9:45 a.m. just prior to the National Leaders Conference. Note that it will end for the day on Saturday at 4:45 p.m.

Hotel Accommodations: Delta Hotels by Marriott: Toronto Airport and Conference Centre



Please not that these are the same accommodation and travel details as the 2019 NLC.

For those that have yet to book a room, an additional room block has been secured at the Radisson Suite Hotel Toronto Airport.

Radisson Suite Hotel Toronto Airport,
640 Dixon Road.,
Toronto, Ontario, M9W 1J1


Guests may also book online at here by entering their date(s) and the code “CAIS” in the promotional code field.

CAIS block of rooms are full:
Delta Hotels Toronto Airport & Conference Centre
655 Dixon Road, Toronto, ON M9W 1J3

For your convenience, we have a block of rooms for those requiring accommodations at the reduced rate of $179.00 plus taxes per night. This reduced rate will be available until March 5, 2019.

Book your stay here

View Travel Discounts below:


Governance and Accreditation $310

N.B. This fee does not include Sunday breakfast at the hotel

Mental Health First Aid $380

N.B. The higher fee for the Mental Health program covers course material costs, the meeting room and breakfast at the hotel on Sunday morning.

Air Canada Discount

Air Canada
10% discount on eligible fares
Coupon code: 8A2HUFG1
Valid until: March 30 - April 16, 2019

Via Rail Discount

Via Rail
10% off the best available fare in Economy, Economy Plus, Business, Business Plus, Sleeper class.
Coupon code: 13844
Valid until: April 4 - 11, 2019

West Jet Discount

5% off Econo* and 10% off EconoFlex and Premium fares for travel within Canada and 2% off Econo*, 5% off EconoFlex and 10% off Premium base fares for guests travelling Trans-border** into and out of Toronto.
Coupon code: I26OH52
Valid until: April 1 - 16, 2019

Up Express Discount

Get a discount on your travel with UP Express!

Just visit UPexpress.com before April 6, 2019 and use promo code CAIS2019 to get your 25% discount on adult return tickets (round-trip) from Pearson Station to Union Station (regular price $24.70* CAD). Tickets are valid for 1 year.

  • select “From Pearson To Union,”
  • select an adult return ticket for your round-trip
  • Add to order then click the ‘Buy Now’ button and then Checkout to pay for ticket

At checkout...

  • apply the promo code CAIS2019 during purchase

UP Express connects Toronto Pearson International Airport to Union Station in the heart of downtown Toronto in just 25 stress-free minutes—less than half the time it often takes by car. Trains leave every 15 minutes with the first train departing Pearson Station at 05:27 and the last train departing at 00:57. There’s no easier or more convenient way to get to or from Toronto Pearson.

*Price subject to change.

Modules Offered for the SPRING LI


Val Pighin, CAIS


With accreditation being a requirement for membership in CAIS, schools are increasingly interested in the process and its demonstrated impact on sustained improvement. This module will examine the history and current trends in accreditation, along with additional methods of effecting successful change.

Learning Intentions:

  • Examine the need for continuous school improvement
  • Develop an understanding of the change process, with emphasis on leading innovation
  • Standards, Indicators of Effective Practice and Guiding Questions
    • Internal Evaluation: Gathering data, collaboration and reflective practice
    • External Evaluation: Visiting Committee overview
    • Cycle of improvement: reporting process

Facilitator's Bio

Val Pighin is the Director of Accreditation and Research at Canadian Accredited Independent Schools (CAIS). She joined the CAIS team in summer 2012 after relocating to the Niagara Region from Barrie, Ontario. Although her background in IT and Finance was key in bringing Val to CAIS, by fall of 2012 she was immersed in the CAIS Independent School Community and the Accreditation Program.

Before joining CAIS, Val's career was focused in business administration, working in the areas of Human Resources, Finance, and IT. The skills developed working in the business sector created a solid foundation for managing CAIS accreditation. In 2014, Val was appointed Accreditation Coordinator and became responsible for all aspects of the program including the work of two Board Councils - the Evaluation Council and the Standards Council. She was afforded the opportunity to work with the Councils, Board and Executive Director on the development of the 2015 CAIS Accreditation Guidelines and was charged with its implementation.

Working closely with the ED and the school community, as well as participating in Board meetings, conferences, leadership institutes, and committee meeting, strengthened Val's understanding of the independent school community and the important role that CAIS plays within that community.

In 2018, Val earned her designation with the CCVA as a Certified Volunteer Administrator, graduated from the CAIS Leadership Institute and was appointed Director of Accreditation and Research with CAIS. She will also join the LI faculty in November 2018 facilitating the Accreditation and School Improvement module.


Susan Wright


Governance is ‘the unknown country’ of independent schools. When it is misunderstood and badly practiced it creates a landscape littered with bodies and broken dreams often resulting in schools sliding towards a state of chaos. In schools where it is properly understood, governance practices are almost invisible and those schools thrive. This module presents best practices and case scenarios that will allow participants to recognize and understand both good and bad governance practices.

Learning Intentions:

  • The duties, responsibilities, policies and scope of authority of governing Boards will be identified.
  • Examine the governing Board’s purpose, membership and structure and its relationship, with the school’s mission, vision, values and strategy.
  • Explore the permeable line between management and governance.
  • The centrality of the relationship between the Board Chair and the Head of School will be discussed.
  • Examine what keeps Boards and Heads awake at night.

Facilitator's Bio

Coming soon.

Mental Health First Aid

Carolyne Hooper


MHFA Basic is intended for adults interacting with adults (18 years and older). This course focuses on the four most common mental health disorders including substance related, mood related, anxiety and trauma related, and psychotic disorders. Participants who take this course are well prepared to interact confidently about mental health with their family, friends, communities, and workplaces.

Key outcomes:

International evaluations and feedback have found the following outcomes for participants undertaking an MHFA course:

  • Increased awareness of signs and symptoms of the most common mental health problems
  • Decreased stigma related to mental health
  • Increased confidence interacting with individuals experiencing a mental health problem or crisis
  • Increased help actually provided to individuals in crisis or experiencing a mental health problem

Facilitator's Bio

Following a career in direct clinical services and progressively senior administrative positions in a variety of mental health organizations, Carolyne established a business practice providing consultation to non-profit health and social service organizations regarding program and resource development, project management and strategic planning initiatives.

Certified in 2012 by the Mental Health Commission of Canada as an Instructor of Mental Health First Aid, Carolyne is passionate about building capacity within the general public by increasing their knowledge of mental health and empowering people to find appropriate supports that will enhance their recovery.