National Association of Independent Schools

As the largest association of independent schools, the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) provides thought leadership, research, creation and curation of resources, and leadership collaboration to more than 1,950 K-12 schools in the U.S. and abroad. To help it fulfill its mission to “co-create the future of education by uniting and empowering our community,” NAIS hired a new NAIS vice president, leadership and governance.

Exceptional, sustained leadership — among heads of school, boards of trustees, and school leadership teams — is critical to long-term success for the member schools of NAIS. NAIS has a long and well-established reputation for supporting current leaders, developing the leadership pipeline, and helping schools strengthen the all-important partnership between heads and their boards through resources, programming, and strategic counsel. These services are core to the membership value of NAIS. Indeed Leadership & Governance is one of the association's three organizational centers of excellence, along with Strategy & Innovation and Equity, Inclusion, Well-Being.

Yet as school leadership becomes increasingly complex and demanding, there are myriad opportunities to evolve, deepen, and expand those offerings. NAIS saught a leader who would focus and drive these efforts while also contributing to its overall organizational culture.  NAIS was thrilled to welcome Morva McDonald, who most recently served as the head of school for Giddens School in Seattle, as its inaugural VP, Leadership and Governance.

Meet the new leader

Morva McDonald

Morva earned a Ph.D. in Administration and Educational Policy and a M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction at Stanford University after serving as an elementary school teacher in San Francisco. She served as a Professor of Education at University of Washington focused the integration on social justice and teaching.  She is a co-founder of Teacher Education by Design and the Core Practice Curriclum.  She served as head of school at Giddens School from 2015-2022.


Search Dates

Nov 2021 to Jul 2022

Start Date

Sep 2022

Job Position

Vice President, Leadership and Governance


Washington, DC & Remote

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