Become a Member

Join the only national organization of independent pre-K-8 leaders–created by heads, for heads! With ESHA, you don’t have to walk alone on your leadership journey.

Calling all Elementary and Middle School Leaders

ESHA is the place for you if you’re the head of an independent elementary or middle school. We’ve provided a collaborative and collegial space for pre-K-8 leaders for over 50 years, and we’re committed to improving our offerings and doubling our impact by 2025! Let’s keep working together to create valuable partnerships and change the educational landscape.

ESHA Membership Includes

  • Access to a national network of independent elementary/middle school heads
  • Resources and templates specific to the pre-K-8 space
  • Opportunities for collegial collaboration and responsive support
  • Real, just-in-time training for situations facing pre-K-8 leadership
  • Organic mentoring conversations when real scenarios arise
  • Monthly newsletter with resources, ideas, and stories of success
  • Inspiring Heads Leadership Program
  • Annual retreat designed specifically for the needs of independent pre-K-8 heads


Membership in the Association is open to the head of any independent school holding membership in the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) that provides instruction to children at least as far as grade two and no further than grade nine.

If a proposed member’s school is not a full member of NAIS, then the school must:

(a) be accredited 

(b) have received an IRS 501(c)(3) tax exemption;

(c) be governed by an independent board of trustees, and

(d) have a published non-discrimination policy. 

Schools may appeal to the ESHA Executive Committee for consideration if an exemption of the above is necessary.

Membership Calendar

New members are welcome at any time of year. To join sign-up online and submit payment. 

Membership renewal is due May 15 for the coming July-to-June membership year.

This prepayment system positions ESHA for annual conference registration during the summer months.

Invoices for renewal are emailed to current members and their business officers in April.

Join ESHA Today

ESHA Retreat


ESHA holds a retreat each fall, planned by and for heads of independent elementary and middle schools. We understand the risks and challenges you face, so we secure speakers to help us think creatively as we elevate our leadership. There are opportunities for exchange of ideas and socializing with colleagues to build your own support network to carry you through the difficult decisions we all face day to day. For heads and newly appointed heads relaxation and restoration are essential elements as well.


The 2023 ESHA Retreat will be in Washington DC, at the Mayflower Hotel, from October 27-29. To celebrate our 50th we are returning to the innaugural site where ESHA was established in 1973.  The retreat officially kicks off Friday morning and culminates in a Gala celebration Saturday night recognizing the heads who have trailblazed our incredible network.


The retreat experience is the one ESHA activity limited to members and their spouses/partners, thereby offering time focused entirely on those roles in school leadership.

Our History

​The Elementary School Heads Association (ESHA) was founded in March of 1973 by ten heads who met in Washington, D.C. during the annual conference of the National Association of Independent Schools. These founders agreed that there was a need for an association of school heads whose professional concerns were devoted to the education of younger students. The first annual meeting of ESHA was convened at the Henry Chauncey Conference Center in Princeton in October of 1973, where bylaws were formally adopted.​

What Our Members Say

Independent Education Leaders from Across the United States


Members and Leaders

Liz Hofreuter

Liz Hofreuter

Wheeling Country Day School, WV
Neil Mufson

Neil Mufson

The Primary Day School, MD
Brendan Largay

Brendan Largay

Belmont Day School, MA
Ronnie Codrington-Cazeau

Ronnie Codrington-Cazeau

Past President
Arvind Grover

Arvind Grover

The Meadowbrook School of Weston, MA
Chuck Baldecchi

Chuck Baldecchi

Past President

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