A Brief History of The Heads Network & NAPSG

The beginnings of the National Association of Principals of Schools for Girls were closely allied with the expansion of the work of the Association of Collegiate Alumnae, which later developed into the Association of University Women.  At the biennial meeting of the Association of Collegiate Alumnae held in San Francisco in 1915, a plan was made to include a “Conference Day” in the program of the meeting in the hope that the particular interests of the varied groups in the Association could be satisfied.  One group for which this plan was made was the principals of private schools.  The conference was so successful that it was continued at the next biennial meeting in Washington in 1917 and in St. Louis in 1919. At the latter meeting, plans were definitely made for the formation of the National Association of Principals of Schools for Girls, and the committee for this organization work was composed of Miss Marion Coats, Chairman, Mr. Frederick E. Farrington, Miss Elizabeth Faulkner, Miss L. Gertrude Angell and Miss Marion Ransom.  The first annual meeting of the new organization was held in 1920 in Cleveland, at which time a constitution was adopted and Miss Marion Coats of Bradford Academy was elected president.

Until 1942 the organization held its annual meeting at the time and place of the meetings of the Department of Superintendents of the National Educational Association, often joining with the National Association of Deans of Women for a dinner meeting and enjoying other meetings which the Deans shared with NAPSG.  As the Association had grown in numbers and as hotel accommodations became more difficult to secure, NAPSG met in Boston (1942) quite independently of any other organization.  In 1943 the twenty-fourth annual meeting was held in New York City.  Meetings were omitted in 1944 and 1945 due to government restriction of wartime travel, but resumed again with the meeting at the Westchester Country Club in March 1946.

The original plan in organizing this association was that it should be representative enough to have impact; that it should not be an exclusive organization; and that it should consider problems of an administrative and academic nature as well as standards and ideals for school life and work, especially in schools for girls.  Over the years the organization has promoted interaction between school heads and admissions representatives of colleges; engaged in discussions of the College Entrance Board examinations, and promoted the exchange of teachers with foreign countries and with similar organizations in Canada and the United Kingdom.


HISTORY: Organized in 1920 and operated exclusively for charitable and educational purposes as a tax exempt 501(c) 3 entity, NAPSG is an association of approximately 250 member schools: heads and other administrators of Independent schools enrolling girls, and executives of colleges, representing wide geographical diversity, totaling well over 500 members.  Since an increasing number of ‘girls only’ schools are now coeducational, the name of the organization should not be construed to mean that NAPSG membership is confined to girls’ (only) schools.  The vast majority of member schools are coeducational.

ANNUAL MEETING: The two-day annual meeting is held in a different location each year, usually in the same part of the country as the adjacent (time-wise) meeting of NAIS, the National Association of Independent Schools.  Although provocative speakers are invited, the meeting is primarily a forum for the discussion of innovations, trends and mutual problems in schools, with emphasis on the education and mentoring of young women and female educators.  School heads are expected to attend the annual meeting at least once every three years, and spouse/partner participation is encouraged.  A Conference Planning Committee organizes the event.  Of almost more value to members than the formal program is the opportunity to know other members and to talk freely with them in an association that has the unique features of diversity and intimacy.

WOMENS’ LEADERSHIP SEMINAR: Since 1985, NAPSG also has sponsored an annual Administrative Leadership Seminar for women.  Many of the over 600 ‘graduates’ of the Seminar are now School Heads in the United States, Canada and other countries.  The NAPSG Leadership Seminar was held in two locations in 2012 – enrolling over 70 women.  In total, 785 women have attended Seminars, a testament to the leadership of the association.

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THE HEADS NETWORK – Beginning in 2013

In November 2012, the NAPSG Council planned and implemented a retreat to ‘vision’ the organization going forward.  The results of the meeting led to a name change, a revised mission and a list of core tenets.  NAPSG became ‘The Heads Network’, as announced at the 2013 Annual Meeting.