Independent Schools Association of the Southwest

Strategic Vision

The Independent Schools Association of the Southwest (ISAS) was founded in 1955 by eight schools in Oklahoma and Texas to “encourage, support, and develop highest standards of attainment in the independent schools of the area.” While the Association has grown and now accredits over 90 schools in six states, the mission to “promote the highest standards of educational excellence” remains.

In the spring of 2023, the ISAS Board of Directors, Strategic Vision Task Force, and staff worked with Anne-Marie Balzano of Mission & Data to develop pathways to guide our work through the near future. A survey completed by 75 Heads of School and 310 school constituents identified schools’ priorities, needs, and wishes. Focus groups involving 22 Heads of School representing the breadth of ISAS member schools provided further clarity and direction.

Similar to our region and our schools, the ISAS Strategic Vision is bold and large. We have identified four Pathways to organize our thinking and work: Innovate and Iterate, Expand Collective Impact, Elevate Partnership Development, and Uplift our Schools. It is our hope through this aspirational vision, ISAS will continue to serve our schools as they “prepare students for purposeful and constructive lives.”


Strategic Pathways & Objectives

Innovate & Iterate

We will further embrace our commitment to continuous improvement through a systematic approach to innovating the ISAS accreditation process and professional development program.

  • Expand our support of boards through timely and research-based educational opportunities, training, and resources. 
  • Ensure ISAS is on the cutting edge of technology and artificial intelligence and explore possibilities for use in our systems and processes.
  • Develop new models for professional development, with considerations for geographical location and virtual options.
  • Continuously examine accreditation and professional development models and processes through the lenses of diversity, equity, and inclusion. 
  • Conduct a holistic review of our accreditation standards and processes, and identify ways to enhance impact, create efficiencies, and reduce costs.


Expand Collective Impact

We will strengthen our culture and community through networking and collaboration to maximize the collective impact of our schools.

  • Streamline current modes and channels of communication across ISAS platforms to improve access to information and improve member experience.
  • Create opportunities to more actively and directly support ISAS classroom teachers.
  • Strengthen ISAS branding and better convey the Association’s value to current and potential members.
  • Expand and deepen support of cohorts along shared interests, affinities, job titles, or educational initiatives.


Elevate Partnership Development

We will cultivate internal and external partnerships to further advance the work of ISAS on behalf of our member schools.

  • Continue to seek partnerships with mission-aligned organizations to expand and diversify professional development offerings.
  • Develop and foster partnerships to assist schools with attracting and retaining quality faculty and staff.
  • Develop affordable consulting services using current and former ISAS personnel.


Uplift Our Schools

We will leverage relevant expertise and expand resources to meet tomorrow’s challenges with courage and confidence.

  • Examine models for leadership development programs within ISAS.
  • Provide guidance and leadership to launch and advance environmental sustainability initiatives in our schools. 
  • Increase support and resources for member schools in pursuing their diversity, equity, and inclusion goals. 
  • Transform the ISAS website into the go-to destination for easily accessible, valuable resources to support our school’s strategic and long-term sustainability. 


Approved, Board of Directors, February 2024