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 approximately 800 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.