2019 NAIS Annual Conference, Long Beach

Updated: Apr 7, 2019



I was privileged to attend this year’s NAIS Conference in Long Beach, California. The National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) annual conference attracts teachers and school leaders from top independent schools, the public school system and international schools from around the world. 


The keynotes and workshop leaders/presenters that I participated in, raised the bar to any previous conference experiences. If the following people listed below are not on your radar – do yourself a favor and look them up. 


Keynote Speakers





I have returned to Beijing, energized and with a sense of affirmation that The Affiliated High School of Peking University’s Dalton Academy is indeed on the right path. And to a degree much more progressive and authentic than what many perceived possible in the context of education. As Simon Sinek articulated, our journey and efforts must extend beyond the finite. Too often we focus on milestones which include rankings and matriculation results to define us. There is much more to us and the institutions we serve, and therefore the focus should be one that utilizes this information among others as a gauge rather than a marker that signifies the end of a race or journey. Competition should be focused inward as we strive to improve. And most importantly, how does our school community better the world? School leaders need to be brave, and model this behavior. It’s hard to turn our backs on rankings and matriculation and for some, maybe most, their job is dependent on these results. However, I’d like to believe that if we focus more of our attention on teaching and learning with a purpose, the knowledge and skills that our students acquire will extend beyond the walls of the school to meaningful projects that tackle the issues we are currently faced with. I have seen that students and teachers can change the world for the better when you give them the time and resources to pursue their interests. Most schools inundate their teachers and students. We don't want our students ‘stuck’ on campus cramming for standardized exams to achieve limited results. We want committed students who go out in the world, succeed individually and have a meaningful impact on others around them. 


Spencer Fowler

CEO & Superintendent

The Affiliated High School of Peking University's Dalton Academy

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Haidian District, Beijing Huangzhuang, Beijing, China  (Zip code: 100190)

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