TAIS-Vanderbilt New & Emerging Leaders Institute 2022-2023
TAIS Member Schools Only
$1,900 per person
We are no longer taking applications for 2022-2023.  If you are interested in joining a waitlist, please email Kristina.


The Tennessee Association of Independent Schools, in collaboration with Vanderbilt University's Master's in Independent School Leadership program and expert practitioners within the independent school community, is pleased to announce online registration is open for the 2022-2023 New and Emerging Leaders Institute.

This eight-month program, comprised of interactive workshops, mentorship, school shadowing visits, keynote sessions, and networking, will provide fundamental leadership training specifically designed for new and potential leaders in independent schools. Major topics include leadership styles and competencies, community engagement, inter-cultural competence, and challenges specific to independent schools. The curriculum develops the personal and interpersonal leadership skills of new and potential leaders so they can effectively engage the full range of stakeholders in an independent school community while deepening their understanding of the unique qualities, challenges, opportunities, and constituents in independent schools. 

A 20-member cohort, selected by their Heads of School, will meet together in person four times during the school year and twice virtually. Additionally, they will work on their own and with a mentor as they complete the two modules related to a shadowing experience. Upon completing the Institute, they will receive a certificate for two CEU credits (20 contact hours) from Vanderbilt University.  Those in the cohort must be able to attend all scheduled dates. 

Dates for 2022-2023: (Times are Central Time)
Segment 1: September 23rd 6-9pm; September 24th 8:15am-3:30pm  - in person, Vanderbilt University
Segment 2: December 3rd 10:15am-3:30pm  - in person, Nashville Location TBD
Segment 3: January 28th 9:30-10:45am - Virtual  
Segment 4: February 25th 10:15am-3:30pm  - in person, Nashville Location TBD
Segment 5: Visit to Mentor's School by April 1st
Segment 6: April 12th or 13th 30-minute per person, Virtual check-in 
Segment 7: April 22nd 1:45-6:15pm - in person, Vanderbilt University

NELI 2022-23 Application
Head of School Recommendation


Curricular Overview     

  • Developing Trust, Communicating Effectively, Mentoring, Self-Reflecting, and Listening
  • Independent School Challenges and Opportunities 
  • Leadership Styles, Skills, and Competencies 
  • Intercultural Competence 
  • Community Engagement and Collaboration with All School Constituents
  • Shadowing Experience, pre and post Mentoring

Vanderbilt Faculty     

Carrie Grimes, Director Independent School Leadership

Mark CannonAssociate Professor of Leadership & Organizations

Stacey Floyd-ThomasAssociate Professor of Ethics and Society

Matthew ShawAssistant Professor of Law, Vanderbilt Law School and Assistant Professor of Public Policy and Education, Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations

Andrew Van SchaackPrincipal Senior Lecturer 

Other Faculty

Sarah WilsonExecutive Director, TAIS; NELI Co-Director 

Kristina Kalb, Director of Professional Development, TAIS; NELI Co-Director 

 Who should participate?   

Teachers, Department Chairs, early career Division Heads, Administrators from any aspect of independent school life, aspiring Administrators

Requirements for attendees   

A minimum of five years of experience as a teacher or administrator in an independent school

Who can register for the Institute?   

Heads of School can select up to two people from their school to attend. There are only 20 openings in the Institute, and they will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis.  The Head of School should give permission to participate. The applicant should complete the online registration form.


All mentors are Heads at TAIS member schools.  Each member of the cohort will have a mentor, and mentors will have one or two mentees. 

Thank you to our 2019-2020 Mentors:    

     Nate Morrow - Christ Presbyterian Academy
     David Braemer - Ensworth School 
     Ray Broadhead - The Webb School
     Sean Corcoran - Brainerd Baptist School  
     Mike Deely - Pope John Paul II High School
     Autumn Graves - Girls Preparatory School
     Will Kesler - Battle Ground Academy
     Michael McBrien - Webb School of Knoxville
     Jeff Mitchell - Currey Ingram Academy
     Bryan Williams - Christ Methodist Day School 
     OJ Morgan - The Bright School
     Vince Durnan - University School of Nashville 
     Adam Moore - Woodland Presbyterian School 
     Jim McIntyre - Father Ryan High School
     Ross Peters - St. George's Independent Schools
     Bill Mott - Providence Christian School
     Jill Hartness - Boyd-Buchanan School
     Katherine Koonce - The Covenant School
     David Skeen - Harding Academy, Nashville
     Pete Sanders - Memphis University School
NELI Cohort 2021-22
Jim Aveni - Ensworth School
Nicci Bandermann - Woodland Presbyterian School
Elizabeth Cameron - Christ Methodist Day School
Tim Chakwin - McCallie School
Michelle Chang - Ensworth School
Alice Clark - St. Nicholas School
Maggie Counter - Oak Hill School
Julie Fortune - Akiva School
Jamie Hearnes - Providence Christian Academy
Ellen Hendry - Grace-St. Luke's Episcopal School
Kari Jansen - University School Nashville
Emily Lequerica - Presbyterian Day School
Kristen Meltesen - Harpeth Hall
Tina Mila - St. Bernard Academy
Matt Nelson - St. Agnes Academy - St. Dominic School
Kendra Reasor - The Bright School
Gretchen Rucker - Harding Academy
Geoffrey Smith - St. Andrew's-Sewanee School
Patrick Snead - Battle Ground Academy
Margaret Thornton - St. Bernard Academy
Legare Vest - Harpeth Hall 
Denise Walker - Clarksville Academy
Jeremy Womack - Boyd Buchanan School

Testimonials from Participants     
  • It’s always inspiring to be around passionate school leaders, and NELI provided a forum that allowed us to learn from each other in meaningful way. The variety of topics discussed, the opportunity for both small and large group discussion and the opportunity for a mentorship experience were the highlights of my experience. (Rebekah Capps, Ensworth School) 
  • My experience within the NELI challenged me to broaden the scope of my thinking, and reignited the discipline of self-reflection . . . I truly appreciated the shadowing component and found it incredibly beneficial. (Eric Vinson, Currey Ingram Academy)
  • The TAIS NELI experience has broadened my horizons as a school leader. I have been exposed to countless new ideas and ways of thinking that will serve me well as I develop professionally. My mentor was an excellent source of wisdom and I’ve made a lifelong connection with him. On a personal level, the connections I’ve made with other educators in my cohort are only possible because of this program. I am so grateful for my NELI experience and would highly recommend it to any educator with a desire for a leadership role. (Nathaniel Haston, Grace Baptist Academy) 
  • When my HoS asked me to participate in this program, I was worried that he had picked the wrong person because I had no interest in moving beyond my role as a classroom teacher . . . Fast forward a year: by the time our NELI cohort arrived for our third week in Nashville in the spring, I had applied for and been accepted to the role of chair of my department starting this summer, which is something I really wouldn’t have seen myself doing before. In retrospect, by asking me to pursue the NELI program, my school signaled to me that it had confidence in me before I had that kind of confidence in myself. (Ruth Ann Graham, Baylor School)
  • Having access to school leaders through this program has been invaluable. It not only provided a glimpse into the scope of an administrator’s responsibilities, but it also forced me to examine the type of leader I am and the type of leader I want to be in the future. With continuing education and a desire to move out of the classroom, I feel as if I would be prepared for the challenge of administration. (Jenny Bullard, Girls Preparatory School)
  • I am grateful for the opportunity to be part of this Leadership program with TAIS and Vanderbilt . . . There are so many aspects of being a strong leader that I learned from this experience. I look forward to taking it all back to my school and continuing to grow as a leader in our school’s community. (Randi Schlosser, St. Peter’s Episcopal School) 
  • The TAIS New and Emerging Leaders Institute provided me an incredible amount of knowledge and offered opportunities to guide me as an educational leader. Furthermore, it equipped me with valuable resources and tools, which will only enrich my future leadership endeavors. (Angie Hackmeyer, Woodland Presbyterian School)
Testimonials from Mentors (TAIS Heads)     
  • I believe both of my mentee’s had a valuable [shadowing] experience. Having the opportunity to visit with other administrators broadened their perspective on school leadership and the impact of school leadership on school culture. They were both very reflective and introspective. (Michael McBrien, Webb School of Knoxville)
  • I really believe . . . [the shadowing experience was valuable]. Especially in . . . [this] case . . . where he had only been in one school environment, It gave him a chance to see something else—how we work and communicate as an admin team, etc. I think it also gave him an opportunity to be self-reflective about what he is looking for in a leadership position and about areas of school that he is not typically exposed to in his current role. (Will Kesler, Battle Ground Academy)

Apply Here! 
Head of School Recommendation