Location: Delta Hotel Toronto Airport & Conference Centre in Toronto
Theme: Connected by Complexity & Design
April 6, 2019 – Pre-Conference Workshops (optional)
April 7 – 9, 2019 – National Leaders Conference
Learn more and register: Conference webpage 
Download the Conference Floor Plan here.

Conference Schedule:
We recommend you download the SCHED app on your smartphone or tablet from the App Store (Apple or Android) rather than viewing it on your laptop. Once downloaded, search for 2019 CAIS National Leaders Conference. You can also view it below but it may not always reflect the latest changes. 

Sign up or log in to bookmark your favorites and sync them to your phone or calendar.

Catalytic Conversation [clear filter]
Sunday, April 7


Catalytic Conversation: Creating Green Schools for the future: How can we embed sustainability in our school culture?
Participants will leave this workshop with ideas, inspiration and resources to help shift their schools towards a culture of sustainability. We will explore what sustainability looks like in 2019 and beyond, and engage in a multi-disciplinary team activity to set goals and create an action plan for embedding environmental sustainability in all aspects of a school including governance, operations, academics, and student life. We will share many resources and exemplars. We will also share the experience of St. George[?]s School of Montreal, a K-11 urban co-ed day school, where sustainability has become part of daily life for the whole school.


Danielle Delhaes

Coordinator, Sustainability Programs, St. George's School of Montréal
Danielle is the director of Paedagogia Inc., a company offering consulting services in the expanding sustainability education sector. Over the last three decades, Danielle has gained a vast experience as a teacher and education consultant working with preschoolers, students, and adults... Read More →

Sharon Klein

Head of School, St. George's School of Montréal
Sharon Klein has been Head of School at St. George’s School of Montreal since 2014. Founded in 1930, St. George’s is a K- 11 independent, co-educational and non-denominational day school committed to providing a progressive education of the highest quality.With a Bachelor of Education... Read More →
avatar for Michèle Andrews

Michèle Andrews

Lead, CAIS Green Schools Project, CAIS

Sunday April 7, 2019 1:15pm - 2:45pm
Ottawa Room


Catalytic Conversation: Harnessing the Power of Complexity to Create Beyond What you Know is Possible
Complexity theory is the basis of much of the sweeping changes being brought into the world of education and business. Examples include student-led learning, self-organizing organizations, autonomous leadership and agile methods of delivery and leadership.

Drawing on both his Ph.D. studies and his wealth of experience in education, leading schools, business and as COO of NoTosh Kynan brings an understanding of both the theoretical and the practical to this session exploring the theory behind these changes and including real-life examples of how to apply them at a school leadership/business level.

What lessons are there to borrow for successful businesses, schools and classroom innovators?

Takeaways include:

// Kynan shares intriguing stories from the frontline of his teams work, showing how learning is schools influences industrial invention
// An understanding of the techniques one can use to better test our own assumptions about what needs innovating in the first place;
// Pragmatic advice for schools on how to innovate without burning out.
// See real-world examples of how complexity lead innovations are being applied in sectors beyond the education sector
//harness potential challenges from others as a means to create better ideas to solve the initial question

Kynan Robinson is CEO of NoTosh Inc and Chief Operations Officer for NoTosh worldwide. A dynamic, innovative and outcome focused leader with a PhD in Education and over 20 years' experience from the classroom to the boardroom he represents NoTosh across the globe, working directly with schools, colleges, universities, government agencies, startups and household names such as Google, helping them with complex problems including how to innovate and change. In the education field, he is an expert in technology, specifically digital pedagogies, student voice and choice, self-directed learning and schooling that embraces the collective and connectivity.

For Kynan, every day is a performance. Beyond his work at NoTosh he an eight-album trombonist and record-label owner, he has also twice been awarded Australia's highest music award The ARIA award, this combined with his experience, and a further decade developing multi-million dollar businesses, he brings a unique perspective to NoTosh clients and conference goers.. Kynan is masterful at valuing the individual voice within the collective and pushing teams to put their most important user at the center of their thinking.

An enigmatic, renowned public speaker and a highly sought after visionary presenter and thought leader, Kynan Robinson regularly keynotes global Conferences and education events including most recently EduForum 2018, EduTECH Asia 2018 and IBSO Canada 2018. He presented at GESS, Dubai in 2017 MCing their Awards Ceremony and regularly leads and presents workshops and keynotes all over the world. Kynan is also responsible for NoTosh's global business development and partnerships, driving growth across the NoTosh group of companies.

“Whether you’re in a classroom or a board room, the impact of switching to this way of thinking is life-changing, business-changing. You help people on the ground become leaders, not just delivering on their job but developing fresh ideas that become the lifeblood of the organisation. It doesn’t matter if you’re a school or a multi-million dollar business - the principle is the same. We call it collective creativity that embraces complexity".

avatar for Kynan Robinson

Kynan Robinson

CEO, NoTosh Inc
Kynan Robinson is CEO of NoTosh Inc and Chief Operations Officer for NoTosh worldwide. A dynamic, innovative and outcome focused leader with a PhD in Education and over 20 years' experience from the classroom to the boardroom he represents NoTosh across the globe, working directly... Read More →

Sunday April 7, 2019 1:15pm - 2:45pm
Toronto AB


Catalytic Conversation: Indigenizing Education - First Steps
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission calls for the incorporation of Indigenous perspectives within mainstream curriculum as a way to contend with Canada's colonial history, and to improve relations between Indigenous and Canadian citizens, but enactment of this policy is hindered by persisting colonial perspectives within society that have shaped the way Canadian educators think. In order to move forward effectively we must undergo a paradigm shift that requires an honest understanding of Canada's past. In this session, an educator will share her graduate research and personal narrative as a descendant of founding settlers and Indigenous leaders at the time of contact. An examination of historical policies that have shaped the collective conscience of Canadian society will provide insight to why inequality between Indigenous and Canadian citizens persists. Participants will learn how to recognize and disrupt patterns of thinking that undermine well intentioned efforts toward reconciliation, while learning about the nation-to-nation agreements that enabled the formation of Canada, and exploring what their responsibilities might be when living and working on Indigenous territories today. Examples of classroom practices that aim to honour the spirit and intent of the treaties by working within respectful relationships will be shared.

avatar for Janet Csontos

Janet Csontos

Educator, Janet Csontos
Janet is a Toronto educator with mixed European and Indigenous ancestry. She has worked as a sessional lecturer at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto, as a curriculum developer, assistant curriculum leader, and secondary teacher in the... Read More →

Sunday April 7, 2019 1:15pm - 2:45pm


Catalytic Conversation: Integrative Thinking - Design for Complexity
Pre-Reading Material (PDF):
Based on the work of Roger Martin, former dean of the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management, Integrative Thinking is an approach to creative problem-solving that blends insights from systems theory, strategy, neuroscience, behavioural economics, and design thinking to provide tools for exploring and developing creative solutions to 'wicked problems.'In his book, The Opposable Mind, Roger defines Integrative Thinking as "the ability to face constructively the tension of opposing ideas and, instead of choosing one at the expense of the other, generate a creative resolution of the tension in the form of a new idea that contains elements of the opposing ideas but is superior to each." This session will introduce the process and key tools from Integrative Thinking and provide participants the opportunity to engage with complex leadership problems involving multiple stakeholders and come to the insights that lead to better solutions, more of the time.

avatar for Christopher Federico

Christopher Federico

Assistant Head of School, Academics, Bayview Glen
Christopher Federico has taught for over 20 years at both the secondary and post-secondary levels in the disciplines of history, geography, politics, and economics. He currently serves as the Assistant Head of School, Academics, at Bayview Glen. Christopher is also a fellow of the... Read More →

Sunday April 7, 2019 1:15pm - 2:45pm


Catalytic Conversation: Mental Health, Risk Management and Trips
This session will look at best practices with regards to planning, managing and evaluating trips and the intersection of mental health at each phase. The conversation will include an overview of key concepts of mental health and risk management, plus strategies and tools to integrate and assist with trip planning through the lens of mental health.


Mark Bunten

LINCWell Counsellor, St. Clement's School
Mark is an educator and counsellor at St. Clement’s School while also working as a Registered Psychotherapist at The Mindfulness Clinic in Toronto, Ontario. He received his B.Ed. and M.Ed. degrees from the University of Toronto. In the field of education, his work has involved applied... Read More →
avatar for Louise Melville

Louise Melville

Coordinator of Experiential Learning, St. Clement's School
Louise is currently Coordinator of Experiential Education, with responsibility for Round Square, global exchanges and international partnerships at St. Clement[?]s School, she teaches geography and has responsibility for the School[?]s risk management policies. Louise has an undergraduate... Read More →

Sunday April 7, 2019 1:15pm - 2:45pm
Mississauga C


Catalytic Conversation: When the media come knocking: Crisis communications
When the media come knocking (PDF)

Recent headlines shout sexual assaults at a private school and the media is on a “full court” press.

But media can find their way to your school’s front step in many other situations. You may find yourself in news for trying to expand your campus and neighbours are blocking the zoning variance; when your school bus driver has a heart attack and the bus filled with your children careens into a tree; when thousands of dollars have gone missing from school coffers; or when international parents object to your fees and contracts loudly and publicly.

All are real examples in Canada in the last few years – some that made headlines and some that were managed behind the scenes before the media got wind of them.

There is a right and wrong way to handle a communications crisis so that you don’t accidentally escalate the issues.

Shirley Muir, President of The PRHouse and Joanne Kamins Head of School for Balmoral Hall will walk you through how they managed a couple of crisis issues together, the progression of a typical issue and the predictable path of media coverage.

The workshop portion of the session includes a chance to review issues percolating on your campus – real or imagined. Where are you vulnerable, how will you get ready, do you have the right policies in place, what will you do the day the story breaks?

You will walk out of this session feeling more confident on how you’ll manage a similar crisis and how to best ensure it never happens to you, your students and families.

avatar for Joanne Kamins

Joanne Kamins

Head of School, Balmoral Hall School for Girls
Joanne Kamins – Head of School, Balmoral School for Girls, WinnipegJoanne Kamins received her undergraduate degree with a double major in English and Geography from the University of Winnipeg, and a Bachelor of Education and her Post Baccalaureate in Counselling from the University... Read More →
avatar for Shirley Muir

Shirley Muir

Public Relations, Crisis Communications, Media Relations, The PR House

Sunday April 7, 2019 1:15pm - 2:45pm
Montreal AB
Monday, April 8


Catalytic Conversation: Becoming a Great 21C School: A Challenge for School Leaders
By  Phil Cummins

Most schools want to become great 21C schools', but few get there. During this workshop, we willprobe why most schools fail or fall short in this endeavour, and then suggest an evidence-basedframework for 21C education that we believe warrants consideration. Along the way, we will build apicture of the strategic, organizational and professional competencies required for deep and sustainablechange. Our testing ground for this approach draws on CIRCLE's deep dive work with schools inAustralia, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada and the United States, and on the findings of three majorglobal research projects involving more than 100 schools. Workshop participants will be invited to sharein this conversation, and in particular to reflect on the educational trajectories of their own schools, toprobe the state of readiness of their school culture to engage with complex change, and to evaluatetheir own professional and personal skillsets as 21C leaders for truly 21C schools


Bradley Adams

Director of Education, CIRCLE - The Centre for Innovation, Research, Creativity and Leadership in Education
Bradley AdamsBA, MADirector of EducationBrad Adams is Director of CIRCLE Education, and brings to this role 25 years of experience in university administration, teaching and school leadership in Toronto, Canada, and most recently as a Senior lecturer in Education at the University... Read More →

Michael Fellin

Headmaster, Crescent School
Michael Fellin became Headmaster at Crescent School, Toronto, in 2014. He previously served as Crescent School’s Assistant Head of Upper School since 2011. He began teaching at Neil McNeil High School Toronto Catholic District School Board, where he served as a teacher, chaplain... Read More →
avatar for Philip Cummins

Philip Cummins

Managing Director, CIRCLE - The Centre for Innovation, Research, Creativity and Leadership in Education
Philip Sebastian Antony CumminsBA, LLB (Syd), PhD (UNSW), MACE, MACEL, AIMM, RAA CIRCLE founder Dr Phil Cummins is an educator by trade and conviction who knows and understands schools and leadership. With over 30 years in education and commerce as a leader, teacher, author, speaker... Read More →

Monday April 8, 2019 1:00pm - 2:30pm
Montreal AB


Catalytic Conversation: How a Blockchain Hackathon showcases top pedagogy and collaboration
Attendees will learn how a Blockchain Hackathon provided a multidisciplinary approach and platform for social impact and change through inquiry, problem and project-based learning. Students from five schools joined together in a seven day project of ideation, training, coding, hacking, design and so much more. Students had to achieve a working understanding of what blockchain can do in order to conceive of a solution to their problem. They had to understand their area of expertise and develop a plan, working together throughout. Students then had to sell their ideas to field experts, their peers and teachers through marketing, presentations and sheer passion for making a difference. The effort was huge, the gains were just as big.Behind the scenes, a similar level of cross-disciplinary collaboration was necessary within each of our organizations. Administrators and teachers alike drew upon their individual relationships with students to identify candidates, and then in some cases convince them and their parents to make the significant investment of time. This required teachers and administrators to look up and out of their own silos to see the benefit to the students - which they certainly did, making their own investments in support. And, in the end, teachers who had been most skeptical in advance became the biggest advocates for the student experience.Join us to learn what Blockchain is, why this emergent tool is an important skill, how a blockchain hackathon works, what students said about the experience, the challenges, the achievements and why this was so exciting and important to them. There will be plenty of interactivity including how to bring a hackathon to your school.

avatar for Jim Laplante

Jim Laplante

Executive Director, Information and Innovation, Upper Canada College
Jim LaPlante is the Executive Director, Information and Innovation, at Upper Canada College in Toronto. Jim has worked in education and educational technology for 25 years. At the YCDSB, Jim was a classroom teacher, consultant, and technology co-ordinator. Over the last few years... Read More →
avatar for Charles Fowler

Charles Fowler

Director of Information Technology, Royal St. George's College
Charles Fowler is the Director of Information Technology at Royal St. George[?]s College in Toronto, where he has stewarded the the school through the advent of data networks, internet access, one-to-one access to computing, and more. Charles is active in the community of other independent... Read More →
avatar for Mary Anne Van Acker

Mary Anne Van Acker

Assistant Head, Innovation Development and Technology, The Bishop Strachan School
Mary Anne Van Acker is the Assistant Head, Innovation Development and Technology with The Bishop Strachan School in Toronto. With extensive experience in the technology industry from programmer to senior leader, her role today includes the development of innovative initiatives that... Read More →

Monday April 8, 2019 1:00pm - 2:30pm
Toronto AB


Catalytic Conversation: How schools are Designing for Innovation, and how you can too!
Catalytic ConversationsLearn about the CAIS Strategic Change Accelerator and how it can help support your schools and change projects on the horizon. This 90-minute session allows you to do a deep dive into the models and frameworks that the CSCA is built upon and how they can help manage and accelerate change. This conversation will allow you to use the tools and strategies to address an innovation project that you are exploring and/or implementing currently or in the near future.

avatar for Garth Nichols

Garth Nichols

VP Student Engagement & Experiential Development, Havergal College
Garth Nichols is the Vice Principal of Student Engagement & Experiential Development at Havergal College, located in Toronto, Ontario, and is the Co-Founder and Lead Facilitator of Cohort 21. At Havergal College, brings a passion for exploring innovation, student engagement and the... Read More →
avatar for Justin Medved

Justin Medved

Director of Learning, Innovation & Technology, The York School
Justin Medved is Director of Learning, Innovation and Technology at the York School in Toronto. Having taught in the UK, Africa and Asia Justin has built global network of 21st century educators and thought leaders throughout his 15 year career. At the York School Justin works with... Read More →

Monday April 8, 2019 1:00pm - 2:30pm
Mississauga C


Catalytic Conversation: How the Lens of Positive Education Maximizes Impact of Service Initiatives
Schools invest significant resources into experiential philanthropy. Despite this, there has been scant evidence demonstrating that this type of experiential learning has quantifiable impacts on students’ learning or their personal development.

This session will demonstrate how using the Institute of Positive Education’s evidence-based model for wellbeing as a lens for planning, delivering, and reflecting on current service initiatives will broadly increase positive impact on students and faculty.
In its most basic essence, our model can be thought of as a road map of what people want for themselves, their students, and their children: a sense of purpose and meaning, the accomplishment of worthwhile goals,moments of complete immersion and absorption, good health, frequent positive emotions, supportive relationships, —a life where a person uses their strengths in ways that support the self and others, and that has flourishing at the heart.

Through the lens of this model we will explore how developing a schoolwide wellbeing language, engaging in meaningful service opportunities, and reflecting in a specific manner will deliberately enhance the impact of current service initiatives and help you make informed choices around future philanthropy and service.

Positive Relationships: explores the importance of connectedness and strong relationships for wellbeing.

Positive Emotions: service creates opportunities for school communities to experience and savour positive emotions such as joy, love, gratitude and hope. We endeavour for all staff and students to be able to initiate, experience, prolong, and build positive emotions in their lives.

Positive Engagement: helps students and staff to experience complete immersion in service activities through understanding the nature of engagement, the pathways to it, and the impact it has on individual wellbeing. Positive Accomplishment: growth through striving for and achieving meaningful outcomes, enabling both students and staff to strive for goals that are both highly rewarding to the self and of benefit to the wider community.

Positive Purpose: explores understanding, believing in, and serving something greater than the self and deliberately engaging in activities for the benefit of others. It encourages students and staff to draw on their character strengths in ways that contribute to the welfare of others and the wider community.

Positive Health: supporting students and staff to develop sustainable habits for optimal physical and psychological health.


Justin Robinson

Director, Institute of Positive Education
Justin Robinson, M.Ed. MACE, is the inaugural Director of the Institute of Positive Education, based at Geelong Grammar School. He leads a team dedicated to promoting the theory and practice of Positive Education through research and providing training for other educators. As a passionate... Read More →

Monday April 8, 2019 1:00pm - 2:30pm


Catalytic Conversation: Leading and Fostering Relational Well-being in Schools
An enduring challenge for leaders is preventing and addressing bullying in independent school contexts. Since 2005, Branksome Hall has worked to create an intentional community of support that centres on nurturing healthy relationships for girls. In this interactive inquiry-based workshop, attendees explore how a decade of on-site research on bullying prevention and school connectedness, strategic commitments to well-being and socio-emotional learning theory shape our whole school approach. Through the accounts from different roles in the school (i.e. researcher, social worker, counsellor and students) and through small group activities, attendees examine the key aspects that drive our programs, decision-making mechanisms and evaluation tools. The audience also learns about the challenges and considerations of bringing everyone to the table-- adults and students in support of relational well-being. In an activity, attendees will also have the opportunity to reflect on how the lessons learned apply to their own school communities

avatar for Mira Gambhir

Mira Gambhir

Director, Chandaria Research Centre, Branksome Hall
Mira Gambhir is the inaugural Director of the Chandaria Research Centre at Branksome Hall. She is a scholar and published author in the fields of diversity education, international education and teacher education. She brings with her experience as a researcher, curriculum writer... Read More →
avatar for Lauren Caldwell

Lauren Caldwell

Guidance Counselor and Learning Strategies Teacher, Branksome Hall
Lauren Caldwell is both a Middle School Guidance Counsellor and Learning Strategies Teacher at Branksome Hall. She has taught and lived in Canada and Hong Kong. Lauren co-supervises the peer support programming and service-learning initiatives within the school. She is also involved... Read More →
avatar for Joelle Therriault

Joelle Therriault

Lead Social Worker, Branksome Hall
Joelle Therriault is a Toronto based clinical social worker and family mediator with 20 years' experience working with young people, families and school communities. Currently Joelle is the Lead Social Worker at Branksome Hall. Joelle has extensive experience counselling young people... Read More →

Monday April 8, 2019 1:00pm - 2:30pm


Catalytic Conversation: Mindset Shift: Transforming School Culture by Empowering Teachers and Students
Independent schools are uniquely complex ecosystems. Every school has their own values, mindsets, and behaviours working in combination with those of their stakeholders. The complexity of these relationships working together creates the culture of a school. Shifting school culture requires taking into account the challenges teachers and students may face and empowering them to approach these challenges in a positive manner.

In this interactive conversation, you’ll learn how TFS and Future Design School partnered to take a user-centered approach to empower teachers and facilitate growth in emotional intelligence, optimism, empathy, and creative confidence. You will discuss how you might create a culture that prompts various stakeholders to take action towards positive change with support, permission and strategies to build a productive, optimistic, and creative school culture for teachers and students.

avatar for Leslie McBeth

Leslie McBeth

Director of Professional Development, Future Design School
Les McBeth is an educator on a mission to empower students to solve the world's big problems. With 15 years of experience at the intersection of design and education, Les has worked in design and public policy in Switzerland and NYC and as a teacher at Greenwood in Toronto. Currently... Read More →

Nathalie Millette

Director, Teaching & Learning, TFS
Nathalie is an Instructional Specialist and IB educator with a demonstrated history of building a culture of critical thinking and creativity in schools. With 20 years of experience in independent schools, Nathalie has led teams of teachers in curriculum development, classroom management... Read More →

Arianna Lambert

Education Lead, Future Design School
ARIANNA LAMBERT is a passionate elementary school educator with ten years of classroom experience where she specializes in developing engaging activities that spark student interest and facilitate learning in both French and English. During her classroom teaching career, Arianna has... Read More →

Monday April 8, 2019 1:00pm - 2:30pm
Ottawa Room
Tuesday, April 9


Catalytic Conversation: Connecting the Conversations in Your School
Mary has been working with all members of the school community to leverage the power of coaching conversations. Conversations connect and bring life to the school's strategic goals, leadership groups, professional learning groups, individual teachers and students. In this session, participants will learn and practice three coaching skills and apply these skills to connect the conversations, change and growth that is happening within their own school. Focusing on solutions, participants will leave with clarity on the purpose and power of coaching conversations.

avatar for Mary Gauthier

Mary Gauthier

Executive Director , Greenwood Centre for Teaching and Learning, Greenwood College School
As the Executive Director of the Greenwood Centre for Teaching and Learning, Mary supports the celebration and development of great teachers. Mary helps teachers meet their goals through coaching conversations, as they explore ways to best meet the needs of students. She supports... Read More →

Tuesday April 9, 2019 8:45am - 10:15am
Toronto AB


Catalytic Conversation: Designing Connection: fostering the relationships schools both want and need
That education takes place in relationship is easy to say. But what do we know for sure about how educators engage in, and teach, the kinds of school relationships that maximize academic excellence, social health, and ethical rigor? This session will look at our conference theme with a specific focus on designing connection. "Based on 1990's research that underpinned what has been called the most successful character education program ever implemented", and enriched by the findings of social-emotional learning and other fields over the past 20 years, our catalytic conversation will move toward two ends:
  1. A general look at five practices that bring out the best in both adults and students, with examples of how these relate to everyday life in schools and evidence of the kind of success they have shown; and 
  2. a more specific, individual discussion regarding 'my school' and—considering the age of our students and the make up of our faculty—the extent to which these practices can be woven into what we already do well.

avatar for David Streight

David Streight

Resident Scholar, Heart of Character
David Streight spent three decades as a teacher and school psychologist in both public and private independent schools before taking a position as executive director of the Center for Spiritual and Ethical Education, to help schools work to have the quality of their ethical education... Read More →

Tuesday April 9, 2019 8:45am - 10:15am
Montreal AB


Catalytic Conversation: Diversity and Pluralism - how are our independent schools doing?
Pre-Reading Materials (PDF):
Built on the pillars of diversity and pluralism, and enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Canada is a country for all peoples. Our education systems form the backbone of our communities and act as the beacon of these important values. We have seen public school boards all over the country make direct attempts to address and redress issues of diversity and inclusion in real and tangible ways – how are our independent schools doing? In this Catalytic Conversation, we will look at the data of the recently completed CAIS 2018 Senior Leadership Diversity Survey and attempt to better understand the nature of diversity in CAIS schools at the senior leadership and employee levels (this conversation will not explicitly focus on student diversity). If we agree that greater diversity is generally seen as positive, what can we do to strategically and systematically increase diversity in our schools at the leadership level and beyond?

avatar for Naheed Bardai

Naheed Bardai

Head of Upper School, Upper Canada College
Naheed Bardai is currently the Head of Upper School at Upper Canada College. Prior to joining the College, Naheed spent ten years in Mombasa, Kenya as a teacher and school leader. Through both educational contexts, Naheed has spent the last several years thinking about diversity and... Read More →

Tuesday April 9, 2019 8:45am - 10:15am