Not Another Zoom Meeting…

We get it—we’re all suffering from Zoom fatigue. With all due respect to Zoom, the idea of spending two straight days in a Zoom meeting didn’t seem especially appealing.

That’s why Biennial Conference 2020 will be presented almost entirely via our own bespoke conference platform. That conference platform will allow you to:

  • Attend sessions & workshops directly from your web browser
  • Connect with your peers before and after the event
  • Visit a virtual exhibit hall with our outstanding sponsors
  • Stream sessions you missed on-demand after the event
  • Participate fully without any additional apps or downloads

Attending Biennial on-demand? Here’s what will be recorded.

Did you know that almost the entire Biennial Conference 2020 will be recorded? This means if you register for Biennial 2020, you can attend the majority of the conference asynchronously. It also means that if there is more than one workshop you want to attend at any given time, you now have the ability to do so!

Here’s a summary of what will be recorded and made available on demand:

Here’s what you need to be live to take part in.

  • Live Q&A during workshops and sessions.
  • Affinity group gatherings.
  • Morning coffee & conversation.
  • Meet with exhibitors.
  • Connect live with your peers and fellow attendees.

2020 Award Recipients Announced

John D. Verdery Award – 00:16
Ruth Jenkins Award – 07:38

The Ruth Jenkins Award and the John D. Verdery Award are the National Association of Episcopal Schools’ highest honors and recognize and celebrate the outstanding service of individuals to Episcopal schools and NAES. The awards are bestowed at the discretion and by vote of the Governing Board and are presented during ceremonies at our Biennial Conference.

At Biennial Conference 2020, Ann Mellow will receive the Ruth Jenkins Award, and The Rev. John H. Finley IV will receive the John D. Verdery Award.

Ann Mellow is Associate Director of NAES and has served NAES with distinction since 2008. Ann is beloved for her expertise, wit, and dedication, and will be sorely missed when she retires from NAES in 2021.

The Ruth Jenkins Award honors a founder of NAES who was head of Annie Wright Schools in Tacoma, Washington, and the Bishop’s School in La Jolla, California. An advocate for women’s leadership in the Episcopal Church, Dr. Jenkins was elected in 1949 as a deputy to the Church’s General Convention but refused her seat. She subsequently participated in the “Joint Commission to Consider the Problems of Giving the Women of the Church a Voice in the Legislation of the General Convention” (1951), and later served as a deputy.

The Rev. John H. Finley IV is the co-founder and head of Epiphany School, a tuition-free independent Episcopal school for children from economically-disadvantaged families. He has been a key leader in the establishment of the Episcopal Urban School Alliance (EUSA) and has helped launch a number of other EUSA school startups. 

The John D. Verdery Award is named in honor of the long-term headmaster (1942–1976) of Wooster School in Danbury, Connecticut. A co-founder of NAES, Mr. Verdery, an Episcopal priest, was an articulate advocate for the value of Episcopal education and the religious identity of our schools. As president of the NAES Governing Board, he was instrumental in nurturing NAES as an organization through his hands-on leadership at critical points during the Association’s early years.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Grants Available

Looking for EUSA Biennial grants? EUSA schools click here.

Thanks to the ongoing support of the Good Samaritan Foundation, NAES is pleased to offer a grants program to support Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Practitioners in Episcopal schools.

Purpose of the Grant

Each member school may request funds to underwrite the cost of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Practitioners attending NAES Biennial Conference 2020, to be held virtually November 5-6.

Grant Amounts

Schools may request a total grant of up to $200.


A school must be a member of NAES for both 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 academic years, with all NAES dues paid in full.

Application Instructions

Your application must include:

  1. A Signed Grant Application Cover Sheet (see PDF)
  2. A list of the person(s)—with title(s)—attending the conference

Submitting Your Application

Submit your completed application electronically as a single PDF to


Please call Sarah E. Tielemans, Advancement Manager, at (800) 334-7626, ext. 6135 or (212) 716-6135, or email her at

Registration Now Open for Biennial Conference 2020!

“Love one another as I have loved you.”

John 15:12

Registration for our virtual Biennial Conference 2020 is now open! We hope you will take a moment to browse our exciting array of workshops and speakers.

In line with the conference theme, this year’s topics will include racial justice, considerations for schools during the pandemic, and navigating the political divide — alongside Biennial Conference staples such as admissions, school leadership, and Episcopal identity.

Be sure to register by October 30 to save on registration fees!

See you online,
The NAES Staff

NAES Announces a Completely Virtual Biennial Conference 2020

Biennial Conference 2020 will be held online November 5-6, 2020. Learn more at

New York, New York, September 3, 2020—The National Association of Episcopal Schools (NAES) is pleased to announce that Biennial Conference 2020 will be presented entirely online. Originally slated to be held in San Diego, CA, restrictions in place due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic—as well as concerns for the health of conference attendees and the general public—have made an in-person gathering an impossibility.

The switch to a virtual conference has led to a complete reimagining of the Biennial Conference program. “Much of what attendees have come to know and love about the in-person conference have been preserved in this new online approach,” writes The Rev. Daniel R. Heischman, D.D., NAES Executive Director. “However, we are also able to make the most of the latest technology at our disposal to bring onboard some exciting new features to Biennial 2020.”

Biennial Conference 2020 will be powered by a new virtual conference platform, developed by Matrix Group International, an associations technology company based in Alexandria, VA, and one of NAES’ most trusted partners. For the first time ever, Biennial Conference programming will be available during and after the conference on demand to attendees who wish to attend asynchronously. New networking tools will allow attendees to connect throughout the conference. Sponsors and exhibitors will have a powerful set of tools to display their services and interact with conference attendees.

Moving to a virtual event also has another key benefit—affordability. Thanks to the reduction in overhead costs, NAES is able to reaffirm its commitment to producing economical and accessible conferences of exceptional value, a goal outlined in the recent 2019 Strategic Plan. In addition, without the added costs of airfare and hotel rooms, NAES hopes that schools of all types and sizes will be able to take part in Biennial 2020—particularly those schools who have been unable to attend in the past due to financial considerations.

This year’s Biennial Conference will feature a diverse array of presenters. Speakers will include Walter Earl Fluker, Professor of Spirituality, Ethics, and Leadership at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University; Scott Bader-Saye, an ethicist and author, serving as Professor of Christian Ethics and Moral Theology at Seminary of the Southwest; and Jean Twenge, Professor of Psychology at San Diego State University, and author of more than 140 scientific publications and 6 books. In addition, more than 20 featured speakers and workshops will address a wide range of topics encompassing diversity and inclusion, political discourse in the wake of the 2020 general election, school fundraising, and beyond. NAES will also welcome The Rt. Rev. Susan Brown Snook, Bishop of San Diego, and The Rev. Mark Jefferson, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Homiletics at Virginia Theological Seminary, to lead worship.

Biennial Conference, held in the fall of even years, is the premier gathering of Episcopal school leaders and friends. Through its speakers and workshops, attendees are strengthened in the leadership and governance of their schools, the articulation of Episcopal identity, and their personal professional and spiritual development. Networking events offer opportunities to connect, engage, and share with peers. Attendees develop friendships and collegial relationships that sustain them in their ongoing work, and Biennial Conference worship services gather attendees for praise, thanksgiving, and celebration.

The National Association of Episcopal Schools (NAES) is an independent 501(c)(3), voluntary membership organization that supports, serves, and advocates for the vital work and ministry of those who serve nearly 1,200 Episcopal schools, early childhood education programs, and school establishment efforts throughout The Episcopal Church. Chartered in 1965, with historic roots dating to the 1930s, NAES is the only pre-collegiate educational association that is both national in scope and Episcopal in character. The association advances Episcopal education and strengthens Episcopal schools through essential services, resources, conferences, and networking opportunities on Episcopal school identity, leadership, and governance, and on the spiritual and professional development of school leaders.

Biennial Conference 2020 Workshop Proposal Guidelines

Biennial Conference is the premier gathering of Episcopal school leaders. As such, it expands the body of best practices and knowledge about the mission, operations, and identity of our schools. Please consider sharing your expertise by submitting a one-hour workshop proposal for:


(John 15:12)
Biennial Conference 2020 • November 4-6, 2020 • San Diego, CA
at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina

In order to submit a proposal, you must read and agree to the following requirements!


Your audience will include heads of school, rectors, trustees, vestry members, chaplains and teachers of religion, senior administrators and faculty members, diocesan and regional school leaders, education professionals and consultants, and friends. Attendees come from day and boarding schools serving preschool through grade 12. They are experienced and knowledgeable. They require and expect education that provides current information and the highest quality expertise.

Workshop Content

“Love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12) is our conference theme. Biennial 2020 workshop proposals should explore and expand upon the conference theme through:

  • Chapel & Worship
  • Chaplaincy
  • Curriculum & Teaching
  • Diversity & Inclusion
  • Episcopal Identity
  • Leadership & Governance
  • School Life & Culture
  • School Management
  • Service & Service-Learning
  • Study of Religion

Each proposed workshop should offer:

  • Content that stretches thinking and provides new approaches through examples, case studies, tools, or models that can be applied in your own school communities.
  • Engaging delivery that involves attendees.
  • Presenters who are thoroughly conversant with the material, excellent and experienced public speakers, and comfortable and adept at leading potentially large groups of adult learners.

How to Submit a Proposal

The deadline to submit is Monday, December 2nd, 2019.

  • Once you begin the online submission process you will need to complete it in one session. Be ready with this information:
    1. Workshop title.
    2. Workshop description (limited 400 characters).
    3. The subject track, grade levels, and professional roles to which your proposed workshop is directed.
    4. Your list of 1-4 presenters. Please note only two will be eligible to receive the reduced “presenter” rate when registering.
    5. Confirmation that presenters have the permission of their head(s) of school or supervising administrator(s) to submit the proposal, and support for your attendance at the conference if your proposal is accepted.
  • Submission of a proposal does not guarantee its acceptance.
  • Presenter(s) must agree to all terms and conditions as listed on this page for participation.
  • Preference will be given to proposals from NAES Members, to Corporate Subscribers, and to representatives of other organizations presenting in conjunction with NAES members.
  • Proposal decisions will be emailed on or about the first week of February 2020.


Please note that this process will require you to login or create an account on the NAES website. If you receive our emails, you already have an account! You will be able to add additional presenters to your proposal from the NAES database. If you can’t locate them in the search, submit your proposal anyway and email with additional presenter information.

Accepted Proposals

  • Upon notification of selection, NAES will email the Presenters Manual. Presenter(s) must agree to all requirements presented therein to be eligible to present.
  • NAES reserves the right to edit workshop titles, descriptions, and outcomes for promotional purposes and accordance with NAES style guides.
  • NAES reserves the right to assign the date and time of the workshop at its sole discretion.
  • Presenter(s) must follow all policies, procedures, and deadlines established. This will help ensure that all information is posted and published in a timely manner for our attendees to view.
  • Biennial Conference 2020 is a noncommercial forum. Under no circumstances may a presenter promote a product, service, or anything else representing monetary self-interest. Failure to comply will impact consideration of future proposals.

Requirements for Presenters

As a workshop presenter, you are required to:

  • Obtain financial support from your school or organization for expenses to attend the conference. NAES does not offer remuneration or honoraria to one-hour workshop presenters.
  • Register for the conference at the special presenter rate for the full conference. Registration details will be posted online in early 2020.
  • Book your hotel reservation at the conference hotel, for which you are financially responsible.
  • Make your own travel arrangements, for which you are financially responsible.
  • Submit workshop handouts to be posted to the conference website and app.

NAES reserves the right to alter these guidelines and the terms, conditions, and presenter benefits under which the NAES Biennial Conference 2020 workshop proposal submission and selection processes are operated.


For questions concerning the selection process…

Heather E. Zrubek
Member Services & Events Coordinator
National Association of Episcopal Schools
(800) 334-7626, ext. 6309
(212) 716-6309

For help with technical difficulties…

Jonathan F. Cooper
Communications Manager
National Association of Episcopal Schools
(800) 334-7626, ext. 6182
(212) 716-6182

What are people saying about NAES Biennial Conference?

Biennial Conference is a highlight of being a part of NAES for many of our members. Here’s what they have to say about their past experiences at Biennial Conference.

“The sense of community, common purpose, and outstanding intellect was palpable.”

— Past Attendee

 “I had many take-away thoughts that I immediately implemented into the preschool when I returned.”

— Biennial 2018 Attendee

“I have never been more pleased with a conference.”

— Biennial 2018 Attendee

“It was a stretch for us to afford to send three people, but it was well worth the investment. It was a remarkable gathering and the quality of the principle speakers was superb.”

— Past Attendee

“The networking and connecting with old friends was wonderful. It’s a family reunion.”

— Biennial 2018 Attendee

“I hope you will continue to encourage small schools to attend so that they too can understand what it means to be an Episcopal school and share in such an amazing experience.”

— Past Attendee

“As a long time Head of School, your Plenary Sessions and Featured Speakers made this my best conference ever. I first attended an NAES Conference in 1998. Although I will retire in June, 2020, I hope to be able to continue to attend these Biennial Conferences!”

— Biennial 2018 Attendee

“Thank you so much, I am grateful I attended and I brought back wonderful things to share with my church!”

— Biennial 2018 Attendee

“The theme was powerful and there was lots to take in and process.”

— Biennial 2018 Attendee

“The NAES staff is so warm and helpful.”

— Biennial 2018 Attendee

An Overview of Biennial Conference 2020

“I have never been more pleased with a conference.”

— Biennial 2018 Attendee

“Love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15:12)

NAES Biennial Conference
November 4-6, 2020

Virtual Conference

Biennial Conference, held in the fall of even years, is the premier gathering of Episcopal school leaders and friends. Why attend?

  • Its speakers and workshops provide unparalleled education. You will be strengthened in the leadership and governance of your school, the articulation of its Episcopal identity, and your personal professional and spiritual development. 
  • Networking events offer opportunities to connect, engage, and share with peers. You will develop friendships and colleague relationships that will sustain you in your work.
  • Worship services gather attendees for praise, thanksgiving, and celebration. You will be uplifted and reinvigorated.