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


Dates: July 2 - 5, 2019
Location: Rothesay Netherwood School, Rothesay, New Brunswick

Next Steps Program Information


2018-2019 Cohort Payment form:

If you're participating in the July 2 to 5 Next Step Program at Rothesay Netherwood School, you can submit your payment here.


In 2000, a group of CAIS Heads had a vision that the national organization should develop talent, and they created a Leadership Institute (now affectionately known as the LI). The program includes a variety of modules that are specific to the unique nature of independent schools, and the facilitators are leaders in our community who ensure content is relevant and practical to school improvement. Over the years, this program has grown to include a variety of modules, and we are honoured to engage with over 100 participants each summer. The evidence of success is twofold:

  • Many of our grads have gone on to assume leadership positions in our schools, including Headships.
  • Our grads report that our program has had significant impact on their growth both personally and professionally; additionally, they can demonstrate the impact of our program on our schools.

In 2010, we heard from our graduates that they wanted to experience more CAIS leadership development. We also heard from our schools that there was a need for a targeted program for those administrators who were looking to take the next step in their careers. There had to be an application process and there had to be more experiential learning with impact on our schools. And thus, we launched the Next Step Program. We developed a two-year curriculum, hired three facilitators and five mentors, and limited the program to 12 participants. Our program included two summers and a one-year change project that was supported by mentors.

In 2015, we commissioned Susan Wright to conduct research to better understand the changing leadership landscape. “Leadership in our schools: A Research Project” highlights the following:

  • 6 out of 10 Heads in CAIS schools (That’s 58 people!) anticipate they will retire or leave their schools in the next 6 years
  • 1 in 5 of the Heads (22%) say they anticipate retiring or leaving their schools fewer than 3 years from now
  • 66% of current Heads were not selected from within their school – they were at another school within Canada (50%) or came from a school outside Canada (16%)
  • 18% of Heads are not developing any potential successors for potential future headship at their schools

Clearly, there is going to be incredible turnover, and all members of the leadership team are going to need to be more conversant with all aspects of school change.

In 2016, after two rounds of the program, we offered an enhanced opportunity with four facilitators. We surveyed participants; we researched leadership models and competencies; we listened to the advice of Heads, Boards, Leaders, and Search Consultants; and we met as a team to really understand how to best prepare future leaders.

A sincere thank you to the facilitators who are developing our future leaders and shaping the future of education:

  • Val Cambre, CEO, Teal and Co. Inc.
  • David Hadden, Retired School Head, Lakefield College School
  • David Robertson, Retired School Head, Shawnigan Lake School
  • Barry Wright, Dean of the Faculty of Business, Brock University

The summer of 2019 features the second year of our fourth cohort, who will graduate this summer at Rothesay Netherwood School

2018-2019 Cohort Accommodation Options

2018-2019 Cohort: You will be prompted to select an accommodation option on your payment form. Please contact Don Kawasoe (dkawasoe@cais.ca) for any additional questions.

Option 1: Included double occupancy room at RNS:

  • The Next Step Program fees includes double occupancy accommodation in the RNS student residences.There are separate men’s and women’s residences with communal washrooms on each floor.
  • Please note that student residences are not air conditioned. See Historical and 2018 temperatures for Rothesay, NB

Option 2: Book your own Hotel room. A discount of $90 will be applied to your fees.

Option 3: If you are local or don't need accommodation, please select that option below. A discount of $90 will be applied to your fees.

Quality Inn and Suites Amsterdam
114 Millennium Drive, Quispamsis, NBE2E 0C6
(506) 849-8050
Room rate: $129 - $190 dependent upon room type
Request: NB CAIS Summer Leadership rate

Hilton Saint John – Saint John Trade & Convention Centre
One Market Square, Saint John, NBE2L 4Z6
(506) 694-4720
Room Rate: $149
Request: CAIS rate

Travel Discount

Air Canada Travel Discount

Participants can use the following promotion code to obtain a 10% discount on Air Canada flights to Saint John airport subject to the following conditions:

Go to the Air Canada Official Website and enter this code

Promotion code conditions:
The booking is to be made to the following city: Saint John, YSJ (NB)
The travel period begins Tuesday, June 25, 2019 and ends Saturday, July 13, 2019
Travel is valid Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday.
No discount will apply to Tango bookings for travel within Canada or between Canada and the U.S. For International travel (destinations outside North America), discounts apply to all fares including Tango.
However, all bookings made using the promotion code will count toward the minimum 10 passenger requirement for Meetings and Conventions events.

Note that the Air Canada Discount is on the flight portion only and depending on options selected, may not be less expensive than flights booked through other discount websites.


"I think there are four areas where Next Steps adds great value. The first is an overview of the various aspects that independent school administrators face. As many emerging leaders come from the academic world, an introduction to finance, advancement, HR, operations, risk management, etc can be enlightening. The second, are insights into the broader topic of effective leadership in changing times. The third was the opportunity to dig into a meaningful change project, with the support of mentors and peers. Having a support team as we work through the highs and lows was incredibly valuable. The last area, is the Next Steps community itself. The program accepts a diverse group of individuals with varying formal leadership positions who all share a passion for education, a commitment to personal group and a belief in the work of independent schools in Canada. We shared our professional successes and failures, pushed each other to dig a bit deeper and even enjoyed a little bread and wine together.

Finally a word on our mentors/instructors... CAIS pulled together a wonderfully diverse group of facilitators, who brought passion and knowledge from both within the independent world and beyond. These facilitators clearly cared about our growth journey and went above and beyond to support us for the two years - what a team! "

Neil Piller, St. George’s School, Vancouver

I found the most valuable take away were the relationships built, particularly during year 2 of the program, over the final summer session. I found the group opened up during that second summer session, and members were willing to be vulnerable. It taught me how much having a network of peers – even a few key people – who have shared experiences and are willing to talk about their successes and total mess ups. It made leadership feel a lot less lonely. To top it off, I now have genuine relationships within this network that I can rely on – more so than any amount of “surface” networking at a conference or professional networking event could ever provide. That has most definitely been the greatest takeaway from the Next Step programme."

Katrina Sampson, Appleby College

Next Step Program Cohorts

2018-2019 Next Step Cohort - Summer LI - Shawnigan Lake School

2017-2018 Next Step Cohort - Summer LI - King's-Edgehill School

2015-2016 Next Step Cohort - Summer LI - St. Andrew's College

2013-2014 Next Step Cohort - Summer LI - Ridley College

2011-2012 Next Step Cohort - Summer LI - Shawnigan Lake School

Registration for the Next Step Program is closed. Please contact Don Kawasoe (dkawasoe@cais.ca) with any inquiries.