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 National Leaders Conference

Who is invited?

Independent School operations leaders with portfolios in the areas of Finance and Facilities, Admissions, Advancement, Marketing and Communications, Human Resources, IT, Academic leaders including Junior, Middle and Senior School Principals and Athletic Directors.

When & where?
April 6, 2019 – Pre-Conference Workshops (optional)
April 7 – 9, 2019 – National Leaders Conference
Delta Hotel Toronto Airport & Conference Centre in Toronto, ON.

Register Today

Conference Schedule (Draft)

About the Conference
Each year we develop a unique program of Keynote speakers, Workshops and opportunities for collaboration within and across networks in order to meet the educational needs and interests of our members. New this year are four optional Pre-Conference Workshops for anyone who is interested in getting an early start and taking advantage of all the excellent learning opportunities.

The National Leaders Conference (NLC) is your opportunity to interact with a range of senior-level leaders in your network. For 2019, the audience will be 400+ Operational and Academic Leaders.

NEW! Pre-Conference Workshops
Focused and hands-on full day workshops (not included in the conference package fee but can be added upon registration). Attendees may choose one Pre-Conference workshop taking place on Saturday, April 6, 2019 from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. Breakfast, beverages and lunch will be included.

Accommodations and Travel
Scroll down to book your stay at the Conference Hotel and view our CAIS travel discount information.

Our Theme Inspires Us

Connected by Complexity & Design.

We live in complex times. It is vital for our schools to be nimble, dynamic and adaptive as, every day, we work to challenge the status quo. The leaders in our schools are dedicated to ensuring that we can equip students to tackle society's most enduring challenges. Through their participation, it is clear that nothing in our schools happens in isolation. Every successful initiative arises through strategic collaboration across the range of academic and operational leaders in our schools. From selecting mission-appropriate students to affirming their success after graduation, our operations and academic teams work in tandem to keep our students at the centre of our decision making and ensure the long-term strength and permanence of our schools.

keynote - Complexity

Jesse Wente
Broadcaster, Advocate & Pop Culture Philosopher

Sunday, April 7, 2019 – 11:15 am – 12:15 pm

More info coming soon.

keynote - Design

Dan Pontefract
The Pontefract Group

Author, Speaker, Thinker, Leadership Strategist

Monday, April 8 - 8:15 – 9:30 am

More info coming soon.

NEW! Pre-Conference Workshops

Focused and hands-on full day workshops.

Attendees may choose one Pre-Conference workshop taking place on Saturday, April 6, 2019 from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm.
Breakfast, beverages and lunch will be included.

Please read carefully:

Pre-Conference Workshops are not included in the Registration fee.
Pre-Conference Workshops have a set minimum per workshop and will not be held if the number is not met.
Registered attendees will be notified by March 5, 2019 if the session will not be held.
Pre-Conference Workshop speakers are subject to change.

Workshop 1

Building and supporting an Enterprise Risk Management system in your school: Why risk management requires an integrated approach within Independent Schools

Pre-Conference Workshop
Speaker: Dr. Ryan Howard and Jalynn Bosley
Date: Saturday, April 6, 2019 from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm

Workshop Overview
Today’s risk management landscape can be challenging to navigate. Being aware of current best practices is the first step to sustaining a long-term commitment of fulfilling the goals of integrating risk management planning and thinking across your institution. Thankfully, many institutions have begun to, or have already integrated an Enterprise Risk Management approach for dealing with risk. Thinking of risk strategically is imperative for every organization. This workshop is a timely refresher to help Administrators, Faculty, Programmers and Governing Board Members who have any responsibility for risk management decisions within their school.

View full details

Workshop 3

Leading from Within: Self and Team

Pre-Conference Workshop
Speaker: Heather Clayton
Date: Saturday, April 6, 2019 from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm

Workshop Overview
Our world is increasingly complex, requiring us to be agile, and awareness is key. Having to do more, faster, with less resources, puts incredible pressure on leaders. Often, under these conditions, creating space for crucial reflection and planning, gets pushed aside for other more urgent matters. Bring a colleague and join like-minded leaders for a day, in which we seek to PAUSE and to return to our understanding of awareness and aspects of leadership which will serve us and our teams in this complex world.

View Full Details

Workshop 2

Future Ready Institute for School Leaders

Pre-Conference Workshop
Speaker: Sarah Prevette, Future Design School
Date: Saturday, April 6, 2019 from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm

Workshop Overview
Over 40% of students will be freelancers in the gig economy when they enter the workforce. As the world changes, it is imperative that school strategy focuses on cultivating entrepreneurialism. Learn best practices from the world’s most successful startups and gain hands on experience with easily implementable frameworks that can be leveraged for your own organizational success.

View Full Details

Workshop 4

Open the doors to Innovation: Connecting your Plan to School Strategy

Pre-Conference Workshop
Speaker: Gerry De Fazio, NoTosh Inc (Canada)
Date: Saturday, April 6, 2019 from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm

Workshop Overview
“Plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” Eisenhower and many others have said this. Strategy is what makes planning a daily activity, and with the right strategy, anyone in a school can take the right action, and take your school somewhere different.This workshop will help you walk away with the start of a plan that connects your role to your school’s strategy. Along the way, you’ll be challenged, tested and entertained in equal measure.

View Full Details

Conference Details

Attendees will have various opportunities to engage in meaningful conversations and dive deeper into some complex and compelling issues facing the independent schools.

Catalytic Conversations – Facilitated conversations will allow attendees to grapple with issues, and bring solutions back to their school.
– Topics to be presented in a quick and clear insightful manner followed by group discussion.
Roundtable Discussions
– In-depth conversations between presenter and small groups on a specific topic.
School Tours
– We are planning a morning of school tours in the GTA. Pre-select the tour that you would like to go on.

2019 NLC Planning Committee Members

Jo-Anne Kingstone, Chair, Aspengrove School
Meagan Enticknap, Elmwood School
Ron Clark, Rundle College
Heather MacDonald, Holy Trinity School
Bob Tarle, TFS, Canada’s International School
Kelsey Edmonds, St. Clement’s School
Anne Marie Kent, Halifax Grammar School
Chad Holtum, Glenlyon Norfolk School
Jillian Lamothe, St. John's-Ravenscourt School
Audra August, St. Mildred's-Lightbourn School
Lynda Torneck, Crescent School
Ken Zelez, Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School

Call for Proposals

The deadline has been extended until December 13, 2018

View details here.

Submit Your Proposal

Accommodations & Travel


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


CAIS Travel Discounts:

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


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


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


School Tours

We are planning a morning of School Tours in the GTA.

School Tours will take place on Monday, April 8, 2019 from 9:30 am to 12:00 pm. You will be able to select a School Tour upon registration.

Appleby College

Founded in 1911, Appleby College’s mission is to educate and enable young men and women to become leaders of character, major contributors to, and valued representatives of their local, national, and international communities. Appleby inspires its 765 students from grades 7 to 12 to pursue their individual passions through an internationally recognized and innovative academic, athletic, and co-curricular programme that has been founded on the school’s six Pillars of Strength: Academically Vital, Technologically Empowered, Universally Diverse, Community Spirited, Actively Engaged and Globally Responsible. Appleby’s model of educational excellence enables and encourages its students to learn and discover independently and collaboratively, both inside and outside of the classroom.

Havergal College

Since 1894, Havergal has provided young women with an exceptional education in an environment that encourages both inquiry and curiosity, and celebrates community. Through our outstanding curricular and co-curricular programs, we support every girl’s belief in her ability to acquire the knowledge and skills to achieve her goals and to make a difference in the world.

TFS - Canada's International School

TFS – Canada’s International School holds a venerable place in Canada’s history. What started as an educational experiment – the first bilingual immersion school in the country – quickly took root as a new model for schools across cities and finally nation-wide. As the pioneer of French immersion in Canada, TFS has been an innovator since 1962, continuously striving to provide the best possible education.

St. Mildred's-Lightbourn School

Founded in 1891, SMLS has been a leader in education for girls and young women for more than 125 years. As the only CAIS accredited, all-girls school west of the city, our niche is girls and learning. We focus on the social, emotional and physical wellbeing of every girl from Preschool to Grade 12. We understand the developmental stages of girls and work with each girl to ensure that she is known, supported, and challenged to be her best self.

The Sterling Hall School

The Sterling Hall School is an independent day school for boys from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 8, founded in 1987. Our school community supports and engages boys during this pivotal period in their lives so that they may reach their full potential. Our dynamic, research-based curriculum is tailored to the way boys learn best. Hands-on, inquiry-based learning combines with strong character education and small classes, resulting in students who are well-equipped to succeed in their secondary and post-secondary education, as well as in their life beyond school.

Greenwood College School

Greenwood opened its doors in 2002 to 72 students in Grades 7 and 9, in a newly renovated building. Today, our school numbers 489 students and more than 90 teachers and staff, and our campus has grown into one of the most advanced facilities among Canadian independent schools. Since its founding, Greenwood has garnered a reputation as a supportive co-ed community where students are engaged, open-minded and at-ease every day.

St. Clement's School

As a leading independent girls’ school in Toronto, St. Clement’s School is recognized for its longstanding commitment to academic rigour and excellence in a small, nurturing environment – but that’s just the beginning. We’re a close-knit community that celebrates creativity, diversity, and innovation, where students from Grades 1 to 12 live, learn, and grow together under one roof. At SCS, every girl is known and valued.

The Leo Baeck Day School

Welcome to a school where students are exploring deeply, inquiring critically and grappling with big ideas and real world issues. Their progressive Jewish education, combined with the global outlook of their International Baccalaureate Programme, shapes the way their students look at the world and their Judaism: with curiosity, with personal meaning and with a sense of collective responsibility. Leo Baeck graduates are equipped with the knowledge of Jewish tradition, the spirit of Tikkun Olam and the confidence and critical thinking skills necessary to navigate our complex world, as global citizens and as modern Jews.

2020 National Leaders Conference

Date: April 5 - 7, 2020 at The Westin Bayshore, Vancouver, BC
Academic Leaders
Theme: TBC

2021 National Leaders Conference

Date: April 11 - 13, 2021 at The Westin Bayshore, Vancouver, BC
Operational Leaders
Theme: TBC

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: