Leadership Fellows Program

Oct 28, 2021 9:00AM—3:00PM

Cost $2,500 members; $3,750 non-members

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Leadership Fellows Program


SESSION 1: October 28, 2021 | 9:00am - 3:00pm

SESSION 2: December 10, 2021 | 9:00am - 2:00pm

SESSION 3: January 24, 2022 | 9:00am - 2:00pm

COACHING SESSION: March 1 or March 2, 2022

SESSION 4: March 7, 2022 | 9:00am - 2:00pm


The application deadline for Leadership Fellows is October 14th.

The job of an independent school leader is complicated, demanding, and rewarding. Often working directly with various constituent groups, school leaders are confronted with a myriad of complex issues to sort through. School leaders require a myriad of skills in order to lead, to collaborate effectively, and to have impact. 

This year-long fellowship for experienced educators from throughout California supports the unique demands of independent school leaders—the only program of its kind in California! Facilitated by two experienced, long-time Heads of School, the Leadership Fellows Program offers practical knowledge and skills about independent school leadership, as well as professional and personal support. 

This program includes a strong line-up of guest speakers on a variety of topics including mission and culture, diverse and inclusive school communities, school finance, and governance, among others. Case studies, problem-based discussions, and relevant readings will challenge participants to reflect on their roles and encourage the development of their skills for their work in their current schools.


  • To provide experienced K-12 leaders with the knowledge, skills, and resources important for senior level leadership.
  • To address topics such as leadership EQ, communication, team building, systems thinking, strategic planning, and organizational health and behavior.
  • To develop and strengthen relationships and networks of support among school leaders.

Program Outcomes:

  • Be able to define leadership
  • Gain confidence in your strengths as a leader
  • Build a network of peer support
  • Develop competency in issues of independent school sustainability, financial management, mission and strategic planning, and operations

We have made the decision to shift to a fully virtual program. Please bear with us as we work out the details! In addition to the four sessions, participants will have the opportunity for an individual mentoring session with one of the facilitators mid-way through the program. 


Leadership Fellows is aimed at senior independent school leaders in academic and non-academic roles.  Past participants have included division directors, assistant heads, diversity directors, directors of admission, development officers, communications and marketing directors, and experienced department chairs.


Leadership fellows is honestly the best kept secret in terms of professional development for headship. I was privileged to be a part of the second cohort of this group and the relationships formed there and the coaching I received are why I am able to confidently serve as a head of school now. I continue to lean on those connections and feel fully supported even now – I can’t speak highly enough of this opportunity and encourage everyone interested in serving as a head to make the commitment!

I had no idea how much I would learn from my cohort group, and how bonded we would become during this process. The role playing was incredibly helpful, and all the guest speakers brought excellent (and differing) perspectives to the conversation.

I loved that the group was coming from different types of schools (sizes, grades, etc.). Building those bonds is what is the most important to me! The program leaders are both invested and extremely knowledgeable.

I appreciated knowing that not everyone in the program wants to be a director, that there are other ways to lead. Also, It was reaffirming to hear that other schools are having the same issues as mine, and seeing perspectives from other departments was extremely helpful and opened my eyes to some other job opportunities.


This is a selective program and all applications will be reviewed to ensure that the cohort is balanced, diverse, and well-qualified.

Application components:

  1. Submit your application by October 14th
  2. Pay $500 deposit on Eventbrite (Deposit is refunded if you are not admitted into the program, but is non-refundable if you are admitted.)



Eric Temple

Eric Temple currently serves as The Head of School at Lick-Wilmerding High School, a coed day 9-12 high school in San Francisco serving 530 students. Before joining Lick-Wilmerding eight years ago, for seven years Eric headed The Carey School, a pre-kindergarten through fifth grade coed day school in San Mateo. Eric began his career teaching English and as the Dean of Students at Ojai Valley Upper School, then moved to Crystal Springs Uplands School where he taught English, was the Dean of Studies and Assistant Head of School.  Eric has served on many school boards, the California Association of Independent Schools board, and currently serves on the NAIS Board where he chairs the Equity and Justice Committee. For five years Eric served on the faculty of the NAIS Institute for New Heads where he taught about understanding school culture. Eric holds a BA (Boston College) and MA (UMass – Amherst) in English Literature and a MEd in Educational Leadership (Teachers College, Columbia University). In his spare time he enjoys woodworking, gardening, and traveling with his husband.


Coreen Hester

Coreen Ruiz Hester was an independent school head for 20 years—ten at The American School in London, 2007-17 (preK-12, 1,350 students) and ten years at The Hamlin School in San Francisco, 1997-2007 (K-8, 400 girls). Prior to that, Coreen served as High School Principal in London, Assistant Head at The Branson School, and a college counselor, dean, and English teacher in Michigan and northern California, USA.An experienced trustee of several independent schools, Coreen currently serves on the board and executive committee of the Academy of International School Heads. She also served on the board of the Educational Collaborative for International Schools, based in London. She has recently been elected to serve on the boards of French American School and The Branson School, both in Northern California.Coreen holds undergraduate and master’s degrees from Stanford University. She earned her degree in English with minors in Italian and history. Coreen has also done additional graduate work at Bread Loaf Graduate School of English and UC Berkeley.


SESSION 1: The Interplay of Leadership and Mission

Date: October 28, 2021


Cancellation Policy

Life happens. We understand that there will be times when you cannot attend a workshop that you have registered and paid for. We strive to be as helpful and flexible as possible when things out of your control happen. Please visit our FAQ page for detailed information about our cancellation policy and answers to frequently asked questions about enrollment and membership.