Divisional Leadership Institute (DLI)

The Divisional Leadership Institute (DLI) is a unique cohort-based professional development opportunity that will create a dynamic environment for new division heads in their first year to learn best practices, ask questions, share concerns, and receive quality feedback.

Many newly-appointed division heads are thrust into positions of significant authority without much training or even the opportunity to reflect with others upon their immediate situations. For many independent school leaders, this is best described as “trial by fire.” The Divisional Leadership Institute (DLI) is designed to break this pattern by providing training, guidance, and support during the critical first year in a new division head’s administrative career.

DLI cohort members will participate in:

  • A three-day summer retreat (remote via Zoom) 

  • The three-day Associate Head and Division Head Conference 

  • Four in-person sessions, pending evolving New York State guidelines for in-person gatherings. Otherwise, we will hold these meetings online. 

  • Online meetings with cohort members and facilitators

  • An online professional community


  • “Identity and Leadership” Participants will reflect on the ways that personal identity shapes the leadership environment.

  • “Planning and Organization” Participants will bring real projects/initiatives from their schools with which to plan, design and receive feedback.

  • “Hiring and Supervision” Participants will review successful strategies for hiring, supervising, and supporting teachers.

  • “Crisis Management and Conflict Resolution” Participants will examine case studies and techniques to manage crises and resolve conflicts effectively.

  • “Having Difficult Conversations” Participants will learn how to navigate difficult conversations effectively.

  • “Serving on an Administrative Team” Participants will learn how to best collaborate with other academic and operational leaders within their schools.

  • “Equity, Justice, Diversity, and Inclusion” Participants will learn to incorporate techniques into their practice to assess and promote equity, justice, diversity, and inclusion in their school communities.

  • “Knowing Your Leadership Style” Participants will undertake, share and analyze self-assessments to identify useful information relative to their own leadership styles.

  • “Leading and managing” Where does the “vision” come in?

The Divisional Leadership Institute is designed to be a practical, flexible experience, which will respond to the specific needs and challenges of the participants. One of the most valuable outcomes will be the establishment of a strong, supportive network of colleagues.

Schedule for 2021-22:

  • Summer retreat on Zoom (July 21-23, 2021)
  • Associate Head and Division Head Conference (Nov 17-19, onsite at Mohonk Mt. House)
  • Four in-person sessions over the course of the school year, pending evolving New York State guidelines for in-person gatherings (dates/locations TBD)
  • Frequent online meetings with cohort members and facilitators

Registration for this program is intended for division directors/heads in their first year of service, and will be managed on a first-come, first-served basis until the cohort has filled. Participation is for those whose responsibility at their schools is at the level of full leadership of their respective divisions. This institute is not intended for those serving in division-level deanships or as assistant division heads.

Register here


NYSAIS Member Rate: $3000 - all-inclusive, including registration at NYSAIS Associate Heads/Division Heads Conference

Non-Member Rate: $3700 - all-inclusive, Including registration at NYSAIS Associate Heads/Division Heads Conference

Staff (2021-22)

Tasha Elsbach is the Middle School Head at The Masters School. Prior to her time at Masters, she spent sixteen years as Middle School Head and a history teacher at The Brearley School. Earlier in her career, she taught in the San Francisco Bay Area. Tasha was a Klingenstein Fellow at Teachers College, Columbia University and earned her M.A in Educational Leadership there.


Jane Moore is the Upper School Director at Berkeley Carroll where she has also taught English and history. Jane started her career as a boarding school teacher, dorm parent and coach before working at Riverdale Country School for 13 years as a teacher, dean, and Asst. Head of Upper School. Jane has an M.A. in English from Bread Loaf and a M.S.Ed in School Leadership from Penn.


Pankti Sevak, DLI Program Director, serves at the Head of Middle School at Friends Seminary. Prior to Friends, Pankti was a science teacher and Head of Class VIII and IX at the Brearley School and a science teacher at East Side Community High School. In undergraduate school, Pankti studied Biology, and she earned her Masters in Teaching in Science at Cornell University. 


Andy Wilson is the Director of Lower School at Trevor Day School, where he leads Nursery through Fifth Grade for the past three years. Prior to this, Andy was the Assistant Principal at Ethical Culture Fieldston School, as well as the Learning Coordinator. In his years as a general and special-education teacher, Andy taught PreK through 4th Grade at Ethical Culture, PS 111, PS 126, and the Calhoun School. Andy earned his MS in Education from Bank Street College of Education, and is proud to be an alumnus of the NYSAIS Emerging Leaders Institute. 

NYSAIS Events Registration
    • January 24, 2022 What Remote Learning Has Taught Us About Executive Functioning and What Do We Do Now 4:00 PM to 5:30 PMeSeminar
      Online via zoom, Andrew Ayers and Amelia Glauber, Collegiate School 
      Three-part series: Mondays, January 24, 31, & February 7, 2022 from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
      Audience:  Educators, K- 5th Grade
      Details and Registration here!
    • January 25, 2022 Using Statistical Data, Quantitative Maps, and ArcGIS Mapping to Analyze Social Justice and Environmental Issues 4:00 PM to 5:30 PMeSeminar
      Online via Zoom
      Tuesday, January 25, 2022 
      Presenter: Ayo Magwood, Uprooting Inequity LLC
      4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
      Audience: Middle and High/Upper School STEM and human geography educators, and curriculum/academic deans
      Details and registration here.
    • January 29, 2022 Trustee Governance Conference: Strategic Thinking for Boards and Heads of School 9:00 AM to 12:15 PMZoom

      Online via Zoom.

      Target Audience: Heads and Trustees

      Speakers: Nishant Mehta, Anne-Marie Balzano, Ari Betof, Tony Featherston, Mark Lauria, Mary Kay Makunas, Duby McDowell, Mark Mitchell, Caryn Pass, Staci Williams Seeley, and Amada Torres. 

      Details and registration here.
    • February 3, 2022 Experienced Teachers Institute (ETI22) Mohonk Mountain House

      Thurs. Feb 3 - Sat. Feb. 5, 2022
      New Paltz, NY

      Proof of Vaccination Required

       Leaders: Annie Byerly, Javaid Khan, Kenny Graves

       Details and Registration are here.

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Tel: 518-694-5500
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© 2013 New York State Association of Independent Schools

site map   |   privacy policy   |   contact us
17 Elk Street (First Floor)     Albany, NY 12207     Tel: 518-694-5500     Fax: 518-694-5501

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