I’m very pleased to have been “nominated,” (perhaps better understood as recommended for nomination) by a Head of School colleague in North Carolina for the National Association of Independent Schools Board of Trustees.

Some may recall that a year ago I campaigned, in a sense, for the election of an independent school technology director to the board, a campaign that sadly fell short.   Readers who are curious can read that post, Elect a Tech Director to the Board, here.

Were I to update that post I would add to that previous list of twenty candidates many more names, including Larry Kahn of Kincaid School (TX), Jason Kern of Oakridge School (TX), Basil Kolani of the Dwight School (NY), Karen Blumberg of The School at Columbia (NY), Jonathan Mergy of Lick Wilmerding (CA), Steve Taffee of Castilleja School (CA), Curt Lieneck of the University of Chicago Lab Schools (IL), Jamie Britto of Collegiate School (VA), Alex Inman of Sidwell Friends School (DC), and many more.   I still strongly believe that the NAIS board would be well served by the addition of an accomplished, far-seeing, innovative, and networked tech director.

There are many fine people within and around NAIS who would serve well the NAIS board, and I have no high expectation of being elected.   The call for nomination page suggests that NAIS is especially seeking “nominations of underrepresented groups (i.e. women and persons of color as well as candidates from the SW region of the US and those from different generations).” Readers should consider whether they wish to nominate a deserving candidate they know, (and, yes, I’d be delighted to have readers offer a “seconding” nomination– with apologies for my self-promotion); the process is fairly easy, and is available here.

Below I have shared my response to the application form’s request for an application essay.

The request:

  • Vision of how a national organization should function.
  • Interest and expertise in the challenges facing independent schools, commitment to the strategic priorities identified by the board, and a proclivity towards helping NAIS identify creative solutions to those challenges, especially in the arenas of trusteeship, law, higher ed, global education, technology, sustainability; curricular research and design, and finance.
  • Commitment to championing the values of NAIS: independence, interdependence, inclusivity, innovation.

The National Association of Independent Schools should always hold serving the interests of students, present and future, as its ultimate goal: they not only deserve the best we can offer them, but our nation and our planet require this of us.

NAIS should hold up the highest ideals and standards for our schools, insisting that they become ever more serious about their educational ambitions and intended learning outcomes and how they measure and demonstrate this progress.  At the same time, the national organization should continue to challenge our schools to innovate, experiment, and diversify: our schools can be more flexible than most, but often aren’t.  We should seize our opportunity to pioneer new strategies and share the results for the enhanced learning of all school-children.

In 15 years as a school-head, I have encountered and addressed many of the key challenges facing independent schools.  My service has not been in the most well-established schools but the younger schools, and I have developed strong proficiencies in board development, school marketing and enrollment, financial aid and tuition discount, and finance.

In recent years, I have become ever more passionate about 21st century learning and the responsibility we have to reinvent schools for our fast-changing times.  During fall 2008, I visited 21 different schools, independent, public, and charter (such as New Tech and High Tech High), shadowing students and live-blogging at each, developing much deeper understanding of curricular research and design.  I was inspired to maintain my blog (21k12blog) on new developments in learning, a topic I write and speak on often.  I have twice led schools in becoming 1:1 laptop schools, with a a vision of empowering our students to become better communicators, collaborators, researchers, and creators of knowledge online.

I also added in the “skills” section the experiences I’ve had and proficiencies I’ve developed in board development and governance, marketing and enrollment, financial aid, and school finance in my 15 years as an independent school head at three schools.

Two things I made special mention of as potentially qualifying skills and attributes. One, my moderately successful practice of social media and networking, including my use of blogging and Twitter (where I have more followers than any other NAIS school-leader).

Two, I pointed out that I am, I believe, the only NAIS Head currently participating in the exciting new national network of innovative and forward-looking school district superintendents and independent school leaders, EdLeader21.   This new network provides a terrific way for NAIS educators to bridge the divide that so often separates us from the larger world of public education innovation, and I intend to strive to strengthen this linkage in any way I can, and NAIS board membership would assist in this effort.