Emerging Leaders Cohort


Matt Stenovec
Soundview School, Lynnwood, WA

Matt is the IB Coordinator at Soundview School.  Matt recently completed a Masters in Private School Leadership at the University of Hawai’i, and since then has been very interested in replicating a similar experience for NWAIS schools. Matt’s culminating action research project examined situated professional development and the benefits of self-direction in adult learning.

Chris Watson
Soundview School, Lynnwood, WA

Chris Watson is Head of School at Soundview School. Previously, Chris served as Interim Head of School, Middle School Head, and IB Coordinator at Soundview. Chris also served in leadership roles as Summer School Director, Curriculum Resource and Technology Team Leader at Punahou School in Honolulu, HI. Chris has an M.Ed. in Private School Leadership from University of Hawai’i.

Nick Creach
Seattle Academy, Seattle, WA

Nick Creach is the Interim Co-Head of Middle School at Seattle Academy, He has a B.A. from the University of Washington and a M.Ed, from Heritage University. Nick spent five years at Cardigan Mountain School in New Hampshire teaching history and life skills before returning to his native Pacific Northwest. Prior to moving to Seattle Academy, Nick worked at University Prep, holding a variety of positions including history teacher, Middle School Life Coordinator, 9th Grade Class Dean and Director of Middle School Athletics.

Jay Heath
The Overlake School, Redmond, WA

Jay is the Director of Technology at The Overlake School. Prior to Overlake, Jay was the Associate Director of Technology at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School in New York City. At ECFS, Jay helped build a strong technology coaching team and helped launch 1:1 and BYOD programs, as well as ECFS’ innovative Progressive Teaching Institute professional development series. During his time in New York, Jay was involved with NYSAIS and served on the NYSAIS Technology Committee and the NYSAIS Council for Professional Learning and Community. He was the President of the NY Consortium of Independent School Technologists. In addition to supporting technology integration, Jay has taught ethics, health and human sexuality, and engineering across PK-12.

Jij de Jesus
Rowland Hall, Salt Lake City, Utah

Jij de Jesus is the Lower School Principal at Rowland Hall. Before joining the senior administrative team at Rowland Hall, Jij spent 10 years at Town School for Boys in San Francisco, teaching 4th grade and serving in leadership roles in sustainability, diversity, and professional growth. A recent graduate of the Master’s Program in Private School Leadership at the University of Hawai’i, he has also explored independent school leadership as a Klingenstein Summer Fellow, a participant in the CAIS The Classroom and Beyond leadership retreat, and as a member of the first BATDC Leaders of Color cohort. Having benefitted from the aforementioned opportunities, Jij is interested in fostering leadership development for other aspiring leaders in independent schools.

Kelsey Medrano
The Bush School, Seattle, WA

Kelsey is a member of the upper school science faculty and is the science department chair at the Bush School.  Prior to the Bush School, Kelsey taught in Hawaii at Punahou School and Kamehameha Schools, The Country Day School in Costa Rica, as well as Carlmont High School in California. In addition to teaching science, her leadership roles have included Pre K-12 Science Coordinator, Outdoor Education Assistant Coordinator, and International Homestay Coordinator. Kelsey’s interest in professional development and leadership have most recently led her to work with the NWAIS Fall Educators Conference Planning Committee and she is eager to participate in and collaborate on the creation of a cohort based professional development and leadership program in the northwest.