Divisional Leadership Institute (DLI)

The newest addition to the NYSAIS Institute line-up is the Divisional Leadership Institute (DLI). In response to feedback from heads of school and past workshop participants, we expanded the popular “Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Fire” workshop series for new division directors into a full institute. This unique cohort-based professional development opportunity 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 (remote via Zoom)

  • 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 2020-2021:

  • Remote retreat (July 22-24, 2020)

  • Associate Head and Division Head Conference (dates TBD)

  • 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 

Register here

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.


NYSAIS Member Rate: $2700 - all-inclusive, including registration at NYSAIS Associate Heads/Division Heads Conference

Non-Member Rate: $3500 - all-inclusive, Including registration at NYSAIS Associate Heads/Division Heads Conference

* June 15, 2020: Fee has been reduced as residential components of the program are unavailable due to the impact of Covid-19.


Marcy Mann is currently the Associate Director for Professional Learning at NYSAIS.  She has also served as the Associate Head at Professional Children's School, and was a division head in three schools: Upper School Head at Nightingale-Bamford School and as Middle School Director at The Calhoun School and The Hackley School. She holds an advanced degree in Developmental Psychology from Columbia University, as well as having attended the Principal’s Institute at Harvard Graduate School of Education. Marcy has also served on the staff of the NYSAIS Beginning Teachers Institute, Young Women’s Leadership Institute at Barnard College, and the NYSAIS Professional Development Committee.


George Swain is currently Director for Evaluation and Professional Learning at NYSAIS. He has also served as Head of Middle School at both Poughkeepsie Day School and Brooklyn Friends School. He holds advanced degrees in Educational Leadership from Columbia University and in History from Binghamton University and has received both the Klingenstein and NAIS/EE Ford Fellowships. George has also served on the staff of the NYSAIS Beginning Teachers Institute, the NYSAIS Division/Assistant Heads Conference Committee and currently coordinates NYSAIS-Now as well as an international network of accreditation professionals. He has offered workshops for teachers and administrators on a range of subjects.

In addition to this institute, Marcy and George also co-direct the NYSAIS Emerging Leaders Institute (ELI).

Staff (2020-21)

Tasha Elsbach is in her fourth year as 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.

Pankti Sevak 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 has led 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
    • April 13, 2021 NEIT (NYSAIS Education Information Technology) Online Conference 2021 4:00 PM to 6:00 PMeSeminar
      Online via zoom
      Presenter: Rory Mir and Shirin Mori
      Target Audience: Librarians, Technologists and Technology Directors

      Details and registration here
    • April 14, 2021 Improvisational Play in the Virtual Classroom 4:00 PM to 5:30 PMeSeminar
      Online via zoom
      Presenter: Elana Fishbein
      4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
      Audience: Pre-K to 5th grade teachers; space is limited

      SOLD OUT!
      Details and waitlist here.
    • April 15, 2021 Annual LGBTQ+ Gathering - Poetry is Not a Luxury: Activism, Poetry, and Black Feminist Joy 6:00 PM to 7:30 PMeSeminar
      Online via zoom, 6:00 pm-7:30 pm
      Speakers: Roya Marsh, Mecca Jamilah Sullivan
      Audience: LGBTQ+ educators and administrators 
      Hosted by NYSAIS Diversity Committee

      Details and registration here.
    • April 19, 2021 Global & Cultural Competence: Nurture Belonging & Deeper Learning in Younger Grades 4:00 PM to 6:00 PMeSeminar

      Online via zoom, Homa Tavangar, Author and co-founder of BigQuestions.Institute

      Audience: PK-6 faculty, staff, school leadership

      Registration and details here.

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© 2013 New York State Association of Independent Schools

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17 Elk Street (First Floor)     Albany, NY 12207     Tel: 518-694-5500     Fax: 518-694-5501

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