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  • Writer's pictureMargaret Cissel

#NAISac 2019 Highlights: Viola Davis and Presenting on Women Seeking Leadership

2019 NAIS Annual Conference Highlights c/o

From listening, in awe, to Viola Davis share her hero’s journey with a room full of educators, to presenting with a group of powerhouse females on women in leadership in independent schools – to a packed audience, we might add – #NAISac did not disappoint.

Viola Davis

In a blog titled, “With Gratitude to Ms. Viola Davis“, LaShawn Springer, Director, Community and Multicultural Development at Phillips Academy, beautifully sums up her experience hearing Viola speak:

“It’s taken me awhile to process Viola Davis’ stirring opening keynote…When folks trust you enough to hold their stories, it is an incredible gift and the reason why I will be forever grateful for Ms. Davis. That she allowed a group of educators that work in independent and private schools, that each are working through their own commitment to equity and inclusion and the ways that privilege shows up in our schools, to receive a story that holds so many truths and contradictions and complexities about a young black girl who loved school, had a fierce imagination, and an inclination towards acting and theater, who wanted to be and do better than what others imagined for her, who willed herself to escape the invisibility of poverty and the realities of a home where domestic violence and alcoholism reared their ugly heads, where she emerges a hero and has claimed that term for herself, is a true sign of how she has committed to speaking truth to power and her willingness to bare it all in the event we hear in her story the story of one of our young people.”

#NAISac Workshop

Together with Nanci Kauffman from Castilleja School (CA); Jennifer Zaccara from Vermont Academy (VT), and Aléwa Cooper from Greens Farms Academy (CT), EA President Lisa Lovering, co-presented a workshop titled, ‘Tearing Down Walls: Building Leadership Capacity for Women.’

Of the many important issues addressed in the presentation, there was one commonality – courage. As professional women, we must have the courage to envision a future for ourselves and stand up for it, the courage to seek out mentors, to ask for what we deserve and, most critical of all, the courage to believe in ourselves and lead with confidence.

To watch the full presentation, click here. To access presentation resources gathered by the presenters, click here.


Educator’s Ally is a highly personalized placement agency that connects teachers and administrators with independent day and boarding schools. With New York roots and a national reach, EA’s dedicated approach to recruiting has been valued by schools and candidates alike since 1975.

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