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.

Developing Leaders for Canada's Best Independent Schools

Since we know that great schools have great teachers and leaders, retention should be top of mind for all CAIS schools.

Our Summer LI should be part of your retention strategy! If you have an outstanding teacher who is hungry to learn about the unique complexities of independent schools or if you have a young administrator who is keen to strengthen his/her skills or get to the next step, then we have a program for you.

For the past 17 years, colleagues have gathered at CAIS Boarding Schools across the country to experience the Summer LI.Participants value the opportunity to learn from leaders and recognized experts; they enjoy time for meaningful engagement with colleagues who are also motivated and passionate about independent school education.

Dates: June 30 to July 4, 2020

Hosted by: Lakefield College School, Lakefield, ON.

More detail will be posted at a later date.

Leadership Modules offered during the 2019 summer li

The foundation of our Summer LI is that all participants will complete 10 modules in order to earn the Leadership Institute Diploma. Each module offered covers one of the key facets of leadership in independent schools and prepares the participant for senior leadership roles. In addition, the LI provides a vehicle for building professional relationships with colleagues across the country.

Academic Administration

Led by John Reid
Required Module

Academic Administration

Offering a vibrant and dynamic academic program must always be the top priority for a school. Nothing is more important. The majority of CAIS Heads were academic leaders before being promoted to Head of School. The Academic Administration module is designed to provide participants with an opportunity to explore the key components of leading an academic program. The module will present best practices and a variety of case studies that will allow participants to understand the complexities of operating an effective academic program. Practical strategies will be discussed and developed through this highly interactive module.

Learning Intentions:

  • Expose delegates to a wide range of topics that are the responsibility of school academic leaders.
  • Understand the complexity and importance of sustainable academic programs in CAIS schools.
  • Appreciate the significance the school’s academic program has on the various stakeholder groups. (students, parents, faculty and staff, board members, alumni, community, etc.)
  • Understand how a school’s academic program should be closely integrated to all aspects of an independent school program – admission, advancement, information technology, etc.
  • Acquire “hands-on” experience in leading and managing a school’s academic program.
  • Reflect upon one’s own leadership style in order to successfully manage the academic program.

Course Content:

  • Introduction, Overview and Objectives
  • The Importance of the Academic Program
  • Building an Effective Resource Program at a CAIS School
  • Performance Appraisal Protocol
  • 5) Professional Development and the Professional Growth Portfolio
  • Mentorship
  • Managing Academic Leaders
  • Academic Integrity
  • Supporting the University Counseling Department
  • Transition Between Schools Within School

John Reid

Coming soon.

Accreditation & School Improvement

Led by Val Pighin
Required Module

Accreditation and School Improvement

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
  • Review the CAIS Accreditation Process including the following:
    - 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

Val Pighin

Val Pighin is the former 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.


Led by John Lynch
Required Module

Advancement Overview

All aspects of a fully functioning Advancement Office will be reviewed during this module. There will be a combination of lecture, individual & group case assignments, Q&A, and in-depth discussions of topics that are of particular interest to the participants.

Learning Intentions:

  • A review of best practices, and real examples – a working knowledge of Advancement
  • Gain an appreciation of the many positive impacts that Advancement activities can have upon a school

John Lynch

John has been an Advancement professional for more than 30 years. Following his graduation from Queen’s University (B.A. (Hon.), B.Ed., M.Ed.), he spent 13 years in increasingly responsible Advancement positions at his alma mater. John participated in three major fund raising campaigns at Queen’s and established the University’s first Major Gifts Office. He left Queen’s in 1994 as Associate Director of Development and Alumni Relations.

John spent two years as Executive Director of The Wellesley Hospital Foundation in Toronto, completing the $30 million Renewal Campaign, prior to moving to the University of Toronto’s $1 billion Great Minds Campaign in 1996. At UofT John was Associate Campaign Director and Executive Director of Development for the University’s largest faculty, Arts & Science, securing more than $40 million in new commitments during his tenure.

John was recruited to the independent school sector in 1999 as Vice-Principal Advancement & Chief Development Officer at Upper Canada College. Following the transformational fundraising successes at UCC, the term Advancement became established at many leading Canadian independent schools that followed UCC’s example by investing in more professional and robust Advancement Offices.

In 2006 John moved to Crescent School as Chief Advancement Officer. He recruited and mentored a new and enhanced Advancement team, and the School launched a comprehensive $30 million Great Boys Campaign in 2010, completing it in 2015 with more than $34 million pledged in new commitments.

In 2014 John was named Executive Director of External Relations, an office combining Advancement, Enrolment, and Marketing & Communications.

Faculty Culture

Led by Jason Rogers
Required Module

Faculty Culture Overview

The Faculty Culture module is designed to provide participants with information concerning the complexities of creating, managing, and leading a vibrant, effective faculty culture within an educational setting. Participants will review basic management theory, discuss the difference between leadership and management, begin the process of developing their own management philosophy and will be given an exposure to the controversies and issues facing a current educational manager/leader. All of this will apply directly to the overall concept of Faculty Culture.

Learning Intentions:

  • To understand the meaning and complexities of faculty culture.
  • To start thinking about one’s own management/leadership style.
  • To expose participants to a wide variety of management theories and styles.
  • To clearly define faculty culture and understand its relevance in an independent school environment.

Jason Rogers

Jason Rogers is currently the Headmaster of Rundle College in Calgary, Alberta. Rundle College is a preK-12 coeducational day school that boasts over 1000 students and 150 faculty. Rundle College is recognized as one of the elite private schools in Alberta and is unique as it has one specialized campus named Rundle Academy which is solely for students with learning disabilities. In 2013, Rundle College was ranked as the top high school in Alberta and Rundle Academy was ranked in the top 5% of all schools in the province.

Prior to taking on the headship at Rundle College, Jason has served as classroom teacher, director of admissions, assistant principal and principal within the Rundle College community. He has also chaired Rundle College’s steering committees for technology and professional development. Jason has a Masters Degree in educational leadership from the University of Calgary and recently received his Diploma in Independent School Leadership from CAIS.

Outside of school, Jason has a love of family, travel, writing and the outdoors. Jason has published articles on topics such as universal design for learning, creative study skills and the art of public speaking. Jason has had the opportunity to present to teachers, administration and parents in most Canadian provinces. Finally, in spite of growing up in Saskatchewan and cheering for the Roughriders his whole life, Jason and his wife now have made Calgary home.

You can read Jason's blog at www.rundle.ab.ca and you can follow him on twitter @jasonbrogers.

Finance (session 2 is full)

Led by Jewell Kennedy
Required Module

Finance Overview

The Finance module is designed to provide participants with information and experience in receiving and interpreting financial data within the school environment. We will explore the ethics and law around financial decision making, benchmarking of independent schools, financial sustainability and governance, internal financial reporting and reviewing financial statements. A budget exercise that participants undertake in small groups is a tool used to understand the major drivers of a school's finances. The module is participatory and aimed at the non-financial manager.

Learning Intentions:

  • Gain an awareness of the financial documents used by independent schools
  • Develop an understanding of the major drivers of a school budget
  • Examine issues of financial sustainability and risks associated with enrolment fluctuations
  • Develop an understanding of the "business" of running a school - insurance, planning, revenues and expenses.

Elective Modules


Led by Chad Holtum & Kimberly Carter
Elective Module

Admissions Overview

This module provides an overview of important topics facing CAIS admission and marketing offices today, including how to manage faculty professional development. It has been designed to introduce non-admission faculty and staff to the challenging, creative, high-pressure, and exciting world of the Admission Office.

Learning Intentions:

  • Develop an understanding of The Admission Funnel, Marketing, Student Assessment, Consensus Building and Financial Assistance
  • Understand the concept of our CAIS schools as co-operative competitors
  • Explore the mindset of Families of the 21st century: Wooing the millennium generation

Chad Holtum

Chad Holtum, B.Comm, B.Ed, M. Ed

Chad Holtum is in his fifth year as Deputy Head of Glenlyon Norfolk School in Victoria, BC.

As the head of the Advancement Office, Chad oversees the school’s Admissions, Fundraising, Alumni Relations, International Program, Communications and Marketing operations. Since his arrival, he has played an instrumental role in diversifying GNS’ enrolment by adding a Family Boarding Program that has allowed more than eighty students from around the world to attend the school, with each living with a current GNS parent or staff member. Chad has also helped build the school’s culture of philanthropy, allowing GNS’ 2016/17 Annual Appeal to surpass $400,000 and near triple parent participation. He has also played a principal role in securing over a $1,000,000 in capital gifts in the last twelve months and has recently secured three seven-figure gifts as part of the silent phase for the schools upcoming campaign.All of this in a school that has had little to no culture of giving prior to his arrival.

Chad has extensive experience in Canadian independent schools. Prior to his current position he served as Director of Enrolment and Marketing at Shawnigan Lake School, as well as Deputy Head of Queen Margaret’s School.

Chad holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Guelph, and Bachelor’s of Education and Master’s of Education (Administration and Leadership) degrees from the University of British Columbia. He resides in Victoria with his wife, Erica and their two young sons.

Kimberly Carter

Kimberly Carter is the Director of Enrolment Management for Branksome Hall – Toronto’s only all-girls, all-years IB World School. Prior to this position, Kimberly was Director of Admissions from 2012-2015 and Associate Director of Admissions from 2009-2012. As a former Branksome Hall student, residential life don, classroom teacher and middle & senior school advisor, Kimberly brings a wealth of knowledge to the recruitment and admission of prospective students. Kimberly is a trained International Baccalaureate (IB) teacher, who prior to her work in admissions, taught Grades 1, 3, 6 and 7. Kimberly travels domestically and internationally to promote Branksome Hall and is also currently a Grade 9 Advisor.

Kimberly holds a Bachelor of Education degree from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto (OISE/UT) and an honours bachelor of arts from Queen’s University, specializing in Sociology and French. She also earned the three-part Reading Specialist additional qualification. Kimberly was invited to join the Enrollment Management Association’s Admissions Leadership Council in 2015 and acts as a mentor to new directors of admissions.

Kimberly participated in the CAIS Leadership Institute from 2006 to 2008 and became Branksome Hall’s first LI graduate. In the first summer’s institute, Kimberly was inspired by the Admissions Module which became the catalyst for her career journey. She looks forward to discussing all aspects of admissions and enrolment management including the initiatives that promote, recruit, assess, admit and retain students in schools today.

Design Thinking for School Innovation

Led by Justing Medved & Garth Nichols
Elective Module

Design Thinking Overview

This module seeks to develop an “innovator's mindset” among its participants to build the skills necessary to meet the “CAIS dual challenge”. In this module, participants will add to their leadership toolkit to include the following lenses:

The Leader as Designer - “Effective leaders pay particular attention to the way design affects behaviour”

  • Participants will be introduced to the CAIS Schools “Dual Challenge”
  • Participants will learn and apply the “Design Thinking” framework
  • Participants will examine the framework of design thinking as a way to approach the “CAIS Dual challenge”
  • Participants will design solutions for their own unique school challenges

The Innovative Leader - “Why wouldn’t leadership change as what’s possible in leadership changes”

  • Participants will examine the role that leadership plays in designing for innovation
  • Participants will learn the important role that leadership plays in addressing the “CAIS dual challenge”
  • Participants will examine the proposed solutions from The 2051 Project data and findings
  • Participants will assess these solutions in the context of their own school

The Networked Leader - “Our experience has shown us that leaders can and should use the technological forums available to them to ask others for help; to create opportunities for others to learn; to listen to many voices, not simply a chosen few; to lead with “multiple tabs open” in order to avoid insularity in a time when being open, available, and accepting, is less of a choice than an imperative.”

  • Participants will walk away equipped a new online toolkit from which to collaborate and learn
  • Participants will build a list of “lighthouse schools” and dual challenge innovations to share with their own school leadership teams.
  • Participants will be given the tools and CAIS PLN to continue meaningful connections made during the module

Justin Medved

Justin is the current Director of Learning, Innovation and Technology at the York School in Toronto. He was one of the lead facilitators of Project 2051 and is co-founder of the Cohort 21 professional development community. Justin co-designed the facilitation package that drove the recent CIS Ontario Connect conference and has done work with multiple CAIS schools supporting their strategic planning process.

Garth Nichols

Garth is the Vice-Principal of Student Engagement and Experiential Development at Havergal College in Toronto. As one of the lead facilitators of Project 2051 and co-founder of the Cohort 21 professional development community, Garth has a passion for working with schools to support their strategic initiatives. With a compassion for all levels of stakeholders in strategic change, Garth has worked successfully with multiple CAIS schools on meaningful strategic change implementation that endures.

Human Resources

Led by Val Cambre
Elective Module

Human Resources Overview

The Role of Human Resources as a Strategic Partner: A review of the Human resources functions within an organization, and its role as a strategic partner. A look at the tactical framework model of the various areas of discipline in HR, including recruitment, retention, performance management, employee relations, compensation and policy management and how to ensure they are aligned and are contributing positively towards the goals, mission and vision of the organization. Taking a look at current practices within an organization and ensuring they reflect best practice in human resources management and reviewing how to implement or make change if they are not.

Learning Intentions:

  • Examine some of the current trends we see today in human resources management
  • Understanding the challenges in ensuring there are effective HR practices in smaller organizations
  • How to implement best practices in human resources management

Val Cambre

President & CEO, Teal & Co. Inc.

An innovative Leader passionate about Talent Strategy, Val has extensive Operations and Human Resources Experience, with a strategic focus on supporting the achievements of enterprise-wide initiatives. With over 25 years of experience in talent and operational strategy, Val has worked with organizations ranging from 100 to over 10,000 employees across Canada with expertise in aligning talent management processes to ensure the success of the organization.

Val’s work in coaching leaders and the teams they are a part of, to instill accountability and helping drive collaboration. Her extensive experience in Talent Management in the areas of Employee Engagement initiatives, Change Leadership, Organizational Design, People Program and Policy Development, Training/Facilitation, Mediation and Workplace Conflict Resolution focuses on ensuring that all business needs are effectively supported through a strategic process.

Immediately prior to launching Teal & Co. Inc. in 2017, Val spent more than 14 years at Appleby College, where she developed and led the Talent Strategy and HR Department, Governance Relations and the operations side of the school as Chief Operations Officer. During her time at Appleby, she successfully developed and implemented various people programs school wide, including rolling out the first formal EOS and managing and overseeing all employee engagement improvement programs. She developed a faculty performance management program, a 360-feedback program, mentorship program and mutual respect program that contributed to the recognition as a Top 100 Employer in Canada in 2007 and 2008. She began her career in the financial services and retail banking sector, where she managed and supported business units and operational issues in Human Resources. She has also managed her own practice as a consultant, working with clients in a wide range of industries and sectors, including manufacturing, government and small independent businesses, colleges & universities.

Val has enjoyed sharing her passion by teaching in the Human Resources Management Certificate program at Sheridan College and has led a variety of workshops within the Canadian Accredited Independent Schools (CAIS). Her CHRP designation was achieved at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. A member of the HRPA, Val is certified in Employee Opinion Surveys through Gallup, Thomas DISC Assessments, the Birkman method, SDI Behaviour and 360 Assessment tools.

Leadership 101

Led by Keith Driscoll & Anna Lisa Bond
Elective Module

Leadership 101 Overview

"Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality. —Warren Bennis"

Leaders of independent schools have to have many, often competing, skill sets. They need to be able to manage multi-million dollar budgets, work with a Board, and ask for million dollar donations, but they also need to be able to champion students, manage instructional growth, and hang out in a kindergarten classroom. Are you up for that challenge?

National trends and research in independent school education will set the context as you consider the challenges and clarify your vision of an effective school and your role in leading it.

Course Overview:

This module will offer the opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of your leadership style, we will also work closely with colleagues on how to manage difficult conversations, run effective meetings, handle crisis situations, and make persuasive presentations.

Keith Driscoll

Keith Driscoll is Director of Residence and Student Life at St Michaels University School. An independent school educator for over 20 years serving as a teacher, houseparent, athletic coach and administrator. Through applying the principles of coaching and facilitation in a variety of education contexts, Keith has learned that the success of teams can be greatly impacted by the leader’s ability to position people to do their best work. The GROW model has been a valuable tool in helping team members bring clarity and focus to their work. In the words of Roy Group, “Leaders then culture then strategy”.

Anna Lisa Bond

Anna Lisa Bond – Practice Leader, Education

We begin with who we are as people.

Anna Lisa Bond serves as Roy Group’s Practice Leader for Education, and has done so since joining the firm in 2010. Originally from Alberta, Anna Lisa's background in high-performance athletics, the classroom and administration has offered her the opportunity to discern the specific learning needs of individuals and teams. This has positioned her to lead entire school communities through reorganization and restructuring projects, and to co-create new cultures and environments for teams, staff, students, and parents. Her personal passion for physical learning, understanding, function and form enables Anna Lisa to work with coaching clients in a manner that allows for deep behavioural transformation.

While working at the district level, Anna Lisa created and built partnerships between secondary and post-secondary institutions with community and industry partners, designing and promoting pathways and opportunities for more personalized learning for students. Anna Lisa specialized in working with First Nation communities and youth at risk. She has travelled extensively, applying her passion, energy, and skills to projects that focused on improving resources and access to education for young children in Third World countries.

Anna Lisa is based in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

Team Work 28-8

Led by Barry Wright
Elective Module

Team Work 28-8 Overview

In September 1972 Canada and the Soviet Union played an 8-game exhibition hockey series that would change the game of hockey in Canada and around the world forever. The series pitted Canadian ‘NHL professionals’ believed at the time to be the best players in the world against a Russian national squad that had dominated international competition. This heroic battle came down to the final minute of the final game. In a matter of seconds Team Canada emerged victorious.The story of 1972 Summit Series Team Canada—which pulled off perhaps the greatest comeback in hockey history—has become a touchstone in Canadian history and popular culture and was only made possible by The Power of Teamwork.

This is the opportunity for LI participants to hear how Canada’s Team of the Century rose to weather a surprisingly strong opposition, overcome doubt and a nation’s disbelief to come together, to believe, to trust in each other, and to achieve. It was not an easy journey, it was truly an epic one.Team Canada 72’s story is built around 27 days in September.While Canadians warm heartedly remember the final 34 seconds, the message the Team wishes to share is that it was the building of the team over those 8 incredible games that it is the true success story that forms the Team’s real legacy.This session will draw upon the amazing insights from the inaugural Team Canada to focus on how to build, this September, your own championship classroom or school team.

Barry Wright

Barry Wright is an Associate Professor and the past Associate Dean of the Undergraduate Program in the Faculty of Business at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario. Prior to joining Brock University, he worked as an Assistant Professor at St. Francis Xavier University, taught at the International Study Centre in Herstmonceux, UK and at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. He has also worked as an administrator with the City of Red Deer. During his career as an educator, Barry has been nominated several times for teaching awards and has been recognized as a Macleans Magazine “Popular Professor”.

At home in the classroom, Barry is also comfortable in the boardroom. He has provided a variety of training and research consultations to Canadian organizations. These include: the Bank of Montreal, Price Waterhouse Coopers, Queen's Executive Program, Ontario Basketball Association, Royal Oak Mines, the MacLeod Group, Centre for Innovative Management at Athabasca University, Football Canada, Human Resource Department at Brock University, Insurance Bureau of Canada, Constellation Software and Sobeys Canada Inc. Barry also provides one-on-one “coaching” sessions for senior executives who have expressed a desire for outside counsel.

He received his MA (Sport Psychology) and Ph.D. (Management) degrees from Queen’s University. His academic research focuses on understanding and solving leadership challenges; change and its influence on organizational members; and creating effective work environments.

To contact Barry Wright please call: (905) 688-5550 X5034 office or e-mail:barry.wright@brocku.ca

Women & Leadership

Led by Katrina Samson & Claire Kelly
Elective Module

Women & Leadership Overview

There is considerable research on leadership development, and this module will examine current theories and data on the main leadership traits and how they are developed and recognized in girls and women.

Learning Intentions:

  • Understand the process to develop student leaders, whether in co-ed or single gender schools. How do we define, create and foster leadership development for our students?
  • Gain greater self-awareness and develop a personal vision - a 3-part autobiography of the participants’ leadership journey: Chapter one- the past journey; Chapter 2- the current journey; Chapter 3- the future and vision development.
  • Develop an understanding of how to build a culture of leadership development for women in schools

Katrina Samson

Coming soon.

Claire Kelly

Claire Kelly is an English teacher at Appleby College. She is finishing her doctorate in Theory and Policy Studies at OISE/UT, researching independent school leadership and women’s career patterns. She has held roles as Upper School Director, Academic Director, assistant director of Intercultural programming, and assistant director, boarding, and has completed the CAIS LI and Next Steps program. She is married to an independent school teacher and has two children.