CAIS Independent School Leadership Diploma Program


Fall LI (virtual)
Dates: November 15-17, 2022
Modules will include: Governance, Leading in Environmental Sustainability, Mental Health First Aid: Supporting Youth

Winter LI (virtual)
Dates: January 31, February 1 & 2, 2023
Modules will include: Pluralism, Education Program Foundation, Mental Health First Aid Standard

Spring (in-person)
Dates: March 31, April 1 & 2, 2023 --> just prior to the start of the National Leaders Conference!
Location: Collingwood School, West Vancouver, BC
Modules will include: Crisis Communication, Indigenous Ways of Learning and Leading, Finance

Spring (virtual)
Dates: April 18-20, 2023
Modules will include: Finance, Enrolment Management, Risk Management

Summer LI (in person)
Dates: July 2-6, 2023
Modules will include: Faculty and Staff Culture, Education Program Foundation, Pluralism, Finance

Summer (virtual)
Dates: July 11-13, & 18-20, 2023
Module offerings will be announced soon!

Module descriptions, facilitator names and registration information for the whole year will be shared soon to support year-long professional learning planning.



Supporting the learning and development of independent school leaders is a strategic priority  for CAIS that supports school improvement and innovation. Recent CAIS research indicates a growing need for motivated, diverse, and expert leadership. The Leadership Praxis (Building the Future: The Importance of Leadership Development & Succession Planning in Our Schools PDF), a framework of knowledge and competencies needed to be a successful independent school leader, reflects the Indicators of Effective Practice highlighted in the 2021 CAIS Accreditation Standards. The Praxis has guided the structure of the Leadership Institute, ensuring that it is intentional, comprehensive and organized to meet the needs of aspiring leaders.

Course Goals

The overarching goals are to: 

  • Establish a foundation of leadership knowledge and skills across three areas of school leadership (Education Program, School Operations and Strategies and Structures) that takes into account the participants’ personal interests and professional experience.
  • Cultivate and integrate a pluralistic lens or mindset within the educational setting and beyond.
  • Develop a network of professional colleagues.


Participants New to the Diploma Program

  • Participants new to the Diploma Program and intending to complete all the requirements in the program are required to begin with the CAIS Foundations for School Leadership Program: Designing a Practice.
  • Leaders and aspiring leaders who do not intend to complete the Diploma may take a few specific modules without completing the Foundations program. Kindly declare your intention upon registration.


CAIS Diploma in Independent School Leadership Program Requirements Effective 2021

  1. Completion of the CAIS Foundations for School Leadership Program: Designing a Practice
  2. Completion of 10 CAIS Diploma modules (please see Module Offerings - Effective Summer 2021 below)
  • Six (6) required modules (blue font below)
  • Four (4) additional modules from any module category

Diploma Participants Who Registered Prior to Summer 2021

  • Participants who complete the six (6) required modules and four(4) elective modules (10 in total), earn the CAIS Diploma in Independent School Leadership.
  • Note that effective Summer 2020, Accreditation is no longer a required module.
  • Participants who have completed Accreditation can count it as one (1) of the 10.
  • Participants who have not taken Accreditation can take a different elective module.
  • Modules offered Summer 2021, Fall 2021 and Spring 2022.

Required Modules to earn the Diploma - (if you started prior to restructuring)

Note that Accreditation is no longer offered - kindly take another elective module

  • Academic Administration/Education Program Foundations
  • Advancement
  • Faculty Culture
  • Finance
  • Governance

Elective Modules to earn the Diploma - (if you started prior to restructuring)

  • All other modules have elective status and there is no restriction in choice. 
  • Required modules plus electives to total 10 modules to earn the Diploma.
  • For a list of possible electives, please see Module Offerings - Effective Summer 2021 below.

Module Offerings - Effective Summer 2021


  • Module offerings depend upon demand and facilitator availability and will be posted shortly.
  • Asterisked (*) modules are required modules for those participants who began the Diploma program prior to the summer of 2021.
  • Modules (6) in blue font are required modules for those participants who begin their Diploma program in the summer of 2021.

Education Program Modules (7)

  • Co-curricular Program
  • Curriculum Design 
  • Custodial Care - Boarding, Homestay, Exchange
  • Education Program Foundation (Leadership organization, schedule, school organization, learning environment, resources)*
  • Instructional Strategies (Pedagogical approaches and theoretical frameworks)
  • Student Assessment 
  • Student Well-being (Academic and Social Emotional Support, University Counselling/Guidance)

School Operations Modules (6)

  • Advancement *
  • Enrolment Management
  • Finance*
  • Human Resources
  • Marketing and Communication 
  • Physical Plant and Property

Leadership Strategies and Structures (16)

  • Child Protection
  • Crisis Management 
  • Faculty and Staff Culture* 
  • Design Thinking 
  • Difficult Conversations 
  • Effective Leadership Facilitation 
  • Environmental Sustainability
  • Faculty/Staff Growth and Evaluation
  • Governance* 
  • Information Systems Privacy and Risk
  • Media Training
  • Mental Health First Aid
  • Pluralism
  • Public Speaking and Writing
  • Risk Assessment and Management 
  • Women in Leadership (open to everyone)

Course Information

  • All modules have 10 hours of programming.
  • Participants are invited to addresses by Heads of Schools being recognized for their leadership contributions.
  • Informal network times are built into the synchronous schedule time.
  • The modules are open to faculty and staff from CAIS and non-CAIS schools. 
  • Participants who complete 10 modules in the CAIS Diploma Program will earn the CAIS Diploma in Independent School Leadership. New participants should note that completion of the CAIS Foundations for School Leadership Program: Designing a Practice is also required.
  • Typical capacity for modules is 20-25 participants and depends upon each module.
  • For further information see CAIS LI FAQ’s or contact Catherine McCauley.


  • Independent school leadership requires a breadth of understanding of many key school functions. The CAIS Honours Diploma Program provides you with the opportunity to dig into these functions and develop a deeper understanding of less familiar school operations that relate to your leadership role in your school.
  • Participants who complete the CAIS Diploma Program and five (5) additional modules of choice will earn the CAIS Honours Diploma in Independent School Leadership
  • Select at least one module from each of the three (3) categories (Education Program, School Operations and Leadership Strategies and Structures), and two (2) others of your choice
  • See Module Offerings - Effective Summer 2021
  • For further information see CAIS LI FAQ’s or contact Catherine McCauley.