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
    • August 16, 2021 Showing Up and Standing Up: A 4-Part Journey Towards Antiracism for White Teachers 9:30 AM to 10:45 AMeSeminar
      This event will meet over four days: August 16-19, 2021 from 9:30 a.m.-10:45 a.m.
      Online via zoom
      Presenters: Jessy Molina and Jay Golon, Pollyanna, Inc.
      Audience: All educators, including teachers, staff members, and administrators

      Details and registration here.
    • August 16, 2021 Social Justice and Equity in STEM Classrooms 10:30 AM to 12:00 PMeSeminar
      Online via zoom
      Presenters: Dr. Paulianda Jones, Katie Kartheiser, Dr. Annie Kloimwieder, Kim Lee-Granger, Science Faculty at Ethical Culture Fieldston School
      Audience: Science teachers, grades 7-12
      Details and registration here.
    • August 16, 2021 Creating Community as a Classroom Ensemble 1:00 PM to 2:30 PMeSeminar
      Online via zoom
      Presenter: Madolyn Accola, LS Music Teacher, Friends Seminary
      1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
      Target Audience: K-5 Music Teachers, with collaboration possibilities for classroom teachers, art teachers & librarians

      Details and registration here.
    • August 17, 2021 Further Exploration of Community Matters: Advisory Program 1:00 PM to 2:30 PMeSeminar
      Online via zoom
      Presenter: Katie Leo, Facing History and Ourselves
      Audience: Teachers and Administrators, grades 5-12
      Details and registration here.
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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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