2014 Institute for Heads

Tuesday, June 24, 2014 (4:00 PM) - Friday, June 27, 2014 (2:00 PM)

Featuring Rob Evans & Michael Thompson

Join us in beautiful Asheville, NC, at the historic Grove Park Inn for an engaging and energizing retreat designed for heads and spouses. Be sure to make your hotel and spa reservations early - the spa generally books up 6 months in advance! If you wish to book outside the block dates of June 24-27, 2014, please contact a reservations agent at (800) 438-5800. Lodging for June 24-27 can be made online using the link below.

  • SAIS is delighted to offer this one-of-a-kind program that brings together two of the leading consultants in American schools, Michael Thompson and Rob Evans, for three stimulating, engaging days.  
  • Designed specifically for independent school heads and spouses, this residential institute offers an opportunity for thoughtful dialogue and engagement with colleagues on key issues facing school heads. 
  • Many participants attend year after year to enjoy the combination of learning and laughter, plus time for reflection, relaxation, and recreation — a perfect way to refresh for the year ahead.

Bring Your Spouse

  • This Institute is specifically designed to be relevant to spouses as well as heads.
  • It offers a chance for both heads and spouses to learn from and connect with others who share the same role.
  • In addition to a specific session that focuses on the "first couple" and sustaining a healthy marriage, other sessions frequently touch on themes that relate to the spouse's role or that help spouses understand the larger context of issues facing heads.
  • Spouses are welcome to attend every session, or just some, and to participate in the discussion. 
  • Typically about half of the attendees bring spouses, and half attend solo.

The Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC

The Omni Grove Park Inn is a 100-year-old historic resort located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville, NC.  It has been AAA Four Diamond rated since 2001 and has been visited by many U.S. Presidents and other people of notoriety.  Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the hotel is an example of the Arts and Crafts style.  It also features a $50 million, 43,000-square-foot modern subterranean spa, which placed #13 worldwide in Travel + Leisure's World's Best Hotel Spas in 2008 (make your spa reservations early - it sells out months in advance).  Visit www.groveparkinn.com/the-spa for spa info and reservations.

The Inn has 510 guest rooms plus 42 meeting rooms as well as outdoor terraces, patios, and balconies. The resort's grand lobby, known as the Great Hall, measures 120 feet across and features 24-foot ceilings and two 14-foot stone fireplaces. It is famous for the elevators hidden in the chimneys of the fireplaces, which transport guests to their rooms. Views of the Blue Ridge Mountains can be seen on the adjacent side of the Great Hall on the grand patio where every day at sunset the Grove Park Sunset Chime is sounded.

Over 400 men worked 10-hour shifts six days a week to construct the grand hotel. With only the use of mules, wagons, and ropes, granite boulders were hauled up the mountain. Just three days shy of one year from the groundbreaking, The Grove Park Inn opened on July 12, 1913. Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan delivered the keynote address to 400 of the most distinguished men of the South, gathered for the opening banquet. He had no idea of how true his words would become when he proclaimed that The Grove Park Inn "was built for the ages."

Michael Thompson & Rob Evans

The Institute for Heads is facilitated by Michael Thompson and Rob Evans. To learn more about them, click on the "Speakers" link at right.


  • Please make your reservation in the SAIS room block at www.groveparkinn.com/sais.  Room rates are $269 per night.
    • Upgrade Rates Available: 
$289 Resort View
$309 Mountain View
$569 Suite
$629 Club
  • A $25 resort fee will be added per room, per night and includes: toll free & local calling, in-room high speed internet access, entrance to the fitness center, in-room coffee and tea, and newspaper delivery upon request.
  • Reservation cut-off is Thursday, May 22, at 5:00 PM ET.


  • Arrange flights to arrive at the Asheville Regional Airport (AVL - 20 minutes) www.flyavl.com
  • Reserve at town car for a flat rate of $45 from Pegasus Airport Limo Service (828) 281-4600 or Diamond Executive Car Transportation (828) 281-8139
  • Other nearby airports include Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport (GSP - 75 minutes) and Charlotte-Douglas International Airport (CLT - 2 hours)
  • More information on transportation available at www.groveparkinn.com/getting-here
  • For those who arrive by car, overnight parking is available for $5 (outdoor), $12 (garage), or $22 (valet).  


Please contact Lori Spear at lori@sais.org or (404) 561-5841 if you have any additional questions about the program.


Tweet us @SAISnews! The official Twitter hashtag is #saisIH. Be sure to tag us when tweeting your institute experience.

The Fine Print

Media Release

Registration, attendance at, or participation in SAIS meetings and other activities constitutes an agreement by the registrant to SAIS’s use and distribution (both now and in the future) of the registrant or attendee’s image or voice in photographs, videos, electronic reproductions, and audio of such events and activities.

Cancellation Policy

The cancellation deadline for this event is May 21, 2014.  Cancellations received in writing to lori@sais.org before that date will receive a refund, less a processing fee.  Cancellations received after that date are not eligible for a refund.