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Sussex School achieves NWAIS Candidacy

Updated: May 12, 2023



Right before we left for spring break, I received word that we achieved candidacy status on our accreditation journey with the Northwest Association of Independent Schools (NWAIS). Candidacy status is the second of three markers to gain full accreditation. Through an application process and site visits, both in-person and over Zoom, Sussex School was recognized as successful in meeting the criteria of a candidate school. Criteria and standards exist in numerous categories including administration, educational program, advancement, facilities, DEI, risk management, human resources, enrollment management, finance (a full audit required), and governance. The executive director, Mark Crotty, noted our growth over the past several years in many of these areas as well as a demonstration of strong leadership and committed board and staff members.


NWAIS is a nationally-recognized, growth-based accreditation organization, and its accreditation process is meant to foster reflection and ongoing improvement in schools. The process is intended to help us clarify and enact our vision, mission, and values to continuously grow and develop. Sussex School began our accreditation process in 2017 as a subscriber school. We chose to seek accreditation to help our school improve through self-study, to learn and understand through professional networks, to collaborate with other independent schools, and to rely on information, data, and best practices in the industry.

The accreditation process is rigorous, timely, and incredibly valuable. The work ahead is significant, including curriculum reviews, DEI work, long-range financial planning, strategic board work, and a complete self-study and comprehensive accreditation visit. However, we’ve made significant strides on the journey toward full accreditation (anticipated in the 2027/2028 school year). Please reach out if you have any questions about accreditation or want to learn more about how this process is helping us to improve.


(Huge thanks to Head of School Joellen Shannon, Assistant Head of School/Dean of Students Christy Deskins, and Board President Ange Anderson for your massive efforts spearheading this valuable accreditation. Cheers to this outstanding leadership team! We are so fortunate for you each and your generous time given on this giant task. -Advancement Manager)




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