Enhancing mission-driven, data informed leadership and governance of organizations that make the world a better place.
Dr. Anne-Marie Balzano
Dr. Anne-Marie Balzano is Mission & Data's Senior Governance Strategist, bringing over twenty-five years of experience in the field of education and leadership. A former head of school, associate professor, teacher, and most recently, Director of Leadership and Governance at the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), Anne-Marie possesses a unique and multi-leveled perspective of the educational landscape and the complex demands of leadership and governance development. As a current trustee at the Buckley School (CA), Anne-Marie is deeply committed to supporting independent school leaders and the children they serve.
In her role at NAIS, Anne-Marie was a close partner to schools across the country, facilitating board retreats and educating boards of trustees on effective governance practices, governance trends, polarity management, and building a positive board culture. Anne-Marie designed and implemented learning opportunities for school administrators and trustees, served as a content expert in the areas of leadership and governance, and conducted research on key issues facing independent schools. She hosted The Trustee Table, a NAIS podcast that provides insights and information for trustees, board chairs, and school administrators on critical governance and leadership topics. Anne-Marie was chief editor of The Board Chair Handbook and led several governance projects, including the development of board assessment tools and resources. She also helped facilitate NAIS Strategy Lab events, supporting school teams in their development of problem solving and action planning techniques. Anne-Marie regularly presented at the NAIS Annual Conference and at state and regional events on building leadership capacity across teams, managing school change, and building resilience in headship. She conducted webinars over the past year to support independent schools during the COVID-19 pandemic and was a key contributor to the NAIS Leadership Webinar Series.
Prior to joining NAIS, Anne-Marie was an associate professor in the Education Leadership program at George Mason University, where she taught courses on using research to lead school improvement, supervision and evaluation of instruction, and leading schools and communities. During her tenure at Mason, Anne-Marie also served as the academic program coordinator for several years, leading the department in the design and implementation of a fully online master’s degree program and a concentration in Independent School Leadership. She won an OLC Effective Practice award for online orientation design and was twice nominated for Mason’s Teaching Excellence award.
Anne-Marie began her education career as a public middle school English and reading teacher. After earning a doctorate in education leadership from Mills College (CA), she moved into secondary administration; first as a middle school assistant principal and then a high school assistant principal and guidance director. She then served as the head of the Campus School at Carlow University (PA), as well as an assistant professor in Carlow’s School of Education. Anne-Marie continues to feed her passion for teaching as an adjunct professor in the Independent School Leadership program at Vanderbilt University's Peabody College.