Sally K. Boese Award and Innovation in Education Awards

VAIS recognizes the achievements of individual educators who exhibit extraordinary creativity, innovation, and service throughout the year. VAIS honors the award recipients at the VAIS Annual Conference each Fall.  



The Virginia Association of Independent Schools (VAIS) presents an annual award in honor of Sally K. Boese, the Executive Director of the Association for 24 years.  During her tenure, Sally’s determination, collaborative-style management, ethical and professional excellence, and visionary direction enabled the Association to develop into one of the premier independent school organizations in the country.  During this time, VAIS created and constantly improved a meaningful accreditation process, a vast array of professional development opportunities for all members of a school’s community, and an organizational structure that promotes forward-thinking leadership for member schools.  Sally’s success resulted in strong affiliations among VAIS member schools, National Association of Independent Schools, and many other national independent school organizations.

VAIS seeks nominations of educators and administrators who reflect the achievement of Sally Boese.  Consider vibrant, successful individuals within a school community whom you feel deserve recognition.  Successful candidates may demonstrate qualities such as:
  • An ability to create an outstanding program that extends beyond their own school;
  • A talent for inspiring others and encouraging meaningful collaboration that produces lasting results;
  • An advocacy of independent school education, whose effort benefits all independent schools; and
  • A concerted effort on behalf of VAIS by contributing time, effort, and ideas in planning, leading, and promoting VAIS programs.

The inaugural award was presented to Dr. Boese at the VAIS Annual Conference on Monday, November 4, 2013, marking not only her retirement as Executive Director in June 2014 but also the 40th anniversary of VAIS. Selected annually by a subcommittee of the VAIS Board of Directors, the award is presented to an individual who embodies the qualities and service exemplified by Dr. Boese.

Past Winners


2014 Inaugural Recipient 
Sally K. Boese

2023 Recipient
Rachel Connell

  • Rachel Connell, 2023
  • Dennis Manning, 2022
  • John "JEB" Byers, 2021
  • Sue Baldwin, 2020
  • F. Robertson Hershey, 2019
  • Henry "Hank" Berg, 2018
  • Irene Carney, 2017
  • Livia McCoy, 2016
  • David Philip Garmey, 2015


The deadline for nominations is August 9.
To nominate, please complete this nomination form.
For any questions, please contact Betsy Johnson.

Award Presentation

The Sally K. Boese Award for Distinguished Service will be presented at the VAIS Annual Conference.


The Virginia Association of Independent Schools (VAIS) presents three annual awards (one each for lower, middle and upper school) to honor educators and recognize those individuals in VAIS schools who make positive impacts in their communities in areas such as:

  • Inspiring students’ excitement about learning
  • Motivating colleagues to grow professionally
  • Impacting the school community in positive and tangible ways

The Innovation in Education Award is open to current VAIS educators only. 


Individuals may self-nominate or be nominated by September 15.
To nominate, please complete this nomination form.
For any questions, please contact Darcie TeVault.


Awards will be announced at the VAIS Annual Conference.

  • One (1) Award for a VAIS Upper School Educator
  • One (1) Award for a VAIS Middle School Educator
  • One (1) Award for a VAIS Lower School Educator