1:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Speaker: Ross Peters, Managing Partner, EXPLO Elevate
The challenges facing boards and heads are becoming ever more complex.
Every decision regarding strategy can feel (and sometimes is) existential. That said, a healthy board/head relationship creates powerful opportunities not only to survive the myriad issues schools face (think: political divides, financial model strain, and faculty retention), but also to flourish within them and critically move beyond them.
Most importantly, however, nurturing healthy human relationships, aspiring to ideal governance practice, and acting clearly and courageously in difficult moments sets a school up to create anti-fragile strategy rather than simply what are too often disposable strategic plans.
We will discuss key concepts including:
Separate registration required (register here).
Speaker: Joanne Andruscavage, Director of Accreditation, SAIS
Are you a team member responsible for administering your school’s upcoming accreditation process? This workshop includes a review of the guidebook and offers the opportunity to ask questions in an informal setting. Separate registration required (register here).
4:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Registration / Exhibit & Sponsor Booths Open
5:00 PM – 6:00 PM
6:00 PM – 7:00 PM
7:00 AM – 6:30 PM
8:00 AM – 9:00 AM
8:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Exhibit & Sponsor Booths Open
9:00 AM – 10:30 AM
Speaker: Reggie Ford, Author
Division Level: All
In this keynote address, you will learn what school leaders need to know about the mental health of their students, specifically Black Americans, and how schools can create environments for their students that lead to success and resilience. You will come away with a new understanding of PTSD (Perseverance Through Severe Dysfunction) and how it underlines the darkness of mental health illnesses and behaviors that impact young Black men and have plagued Black Americans for generations. You will learn how to turn pain into peace. This uplifting message shows that by realizing, accepting, and treating mental health with grace, kindness, and appreciation of the backgrounds of those needing support, we can reduce the significant impact of PTSD and other mental conditions on not just Black, but all people.
10:30 AM – 11:00 AM
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Speakers: Natalie Skinner, Senior Vice President, and Bob Weston, Senior Vice President, CCS Fundraising
Heads of school and advancement professionals alike are spending more time focusing on cultivation of significant philanthropic requests, but requesting and closing a major gift requires skill, practice, and a lot of groundwork. Before a donor is asked for a gift, they must be properly cultivated. This session will discuss how to move prospects within your pipeline and bring prospects closer to your school through a series of strategic steps. We will review the full process, including preparation, the opening conversation, making the case, the gift request, handling responses, and ongoing stewardship.
In this breakout session, the speaker uses his own traumatic experiences to inform his call to action. You will learn about the intergenerational impact of unaddressed mental health issues, showing how the power of a familial network can help or severely harm an individual’s battle with mental health illnesses. We will discuss how the trauma of society creates situations of mental health issues and behaviors that hold back so many. The speaker will share that there is room for hope, and how his own experiences of overcoming so many hardships and difficulties offer a path for others to follow. School leaders will leave this session with an understanding of mental health and tangible takeaways to help their students and families needing support.
Speaker: Jennifer Carroll, Attorney, Fisher Phillips
The biggest headache facing schools today are the unrealistic demands of the “pushy parent” and the “out of control student.” Unfortunately, many schools find today’s parents difficult to deal with. Whether it is a disagreement about a child’s grade, bullying allegation, accommodation request, or behaviors relating to a child custody matter, school administrators and teachers spend substantial time managing today’s parent. The challenge today is to ensure the relationship remains respectful and professional, and that the school maintains control. When a parent threatens suit, will the school prevail? It depends if the school followed guidelines of “fundamental fairness” before making decisions. What do the courts assess in determining whether the school had legal justification to expel? What steps should the school take to ensure that its decisions will be upheld? This program will use case studies to address legal and practical ways schools can position themselves in managing these relationships.
Learn steps to maintain control while dealing with pushy parents
Obtain an understanding of your school’s legal responsibilities and duties when it comes to investigations and discipline
Learn practical tools to be used in conducting investigations of student and parent misconduct and determining what discipline, if any
Speaker: Christina Lewellen, Executive Director, ATLIS
All school leaders—especially heads and trustees—have become chief technology leaders at independent schools in the last two years. In a pandemic-affected world, it’s critical to make sure administrators are asking the right technology-specific questions to make well-informed decisions. This straight-to-the-point session will give attendees a primer on the status of today’s tech in independent schools and a list of the critical questions they should ask their technology team to ensure the relevance and safety of their communities. This session will provide attendees with a to-the-point list of questions they must be asking to ensure student privacy, cyber safety, and technological relevance. We’ll explore the biggest risks facing schools today and what administrators and faculty can do to ensure safety for the entire community.
Speaker: Dave Michelman, Principal, Michelman Consulting
Are your regular leadership team meetings engaging and productive or a necessary evil? These meetings can become great when your team members share a common goal and depend on each other’s strengths.
In this session, you will learn how to transform your school’s teams from quality individuals working in their areas to interdependent teams with shared motivation and common goals. You will learn how to create a true team mindset and create the kind of team that will really move your school forward.
The session will start with the philosophy of great teamwork and then provide you with concrete approaches to metamorphize your team and practical tips to keep your team on track.
The most powerful tool any leader has is a team that is at its best. Make your teams the best.
Speakers: Carolyn Chandler, Partner, and Rick Melvoin, Managing Partner, Strategic School Leadership
Having a successful school head has never been more important than during these recent tumultuous years. Yet, the average tenure for an independent school head – less than six years – makes it clear that many of our schools have a problem. What can schools, and particularly boards, do to help heads thrive?
One way boards can do more – a way too often overlooked – is to provide helpful assessment of the head. But how can boards best do this? The purpose of this workshop is to explore different current practices. What works? What doesn’t? What kind of feedback do heads need and what do they get? In particular, what can help the head grow? How can boards move away from assessment as a cursory or even sometimes punitive exercise toward a more in-depth and meaningful means of leadership development for the evolving head of school?
Through this interactive workshop we will explore a variety of processes and tools designed for more strategic, purposeful assessment. Working from a growth mindset, the board/head partnership will develop in mutually respectful ways – and, most importantly, more heads will thrive.
Participants will learn:
Speaker: Brendan Schneider, Founder and CEO, SchneiderB Media
You have a great school, but you need more students. You’ve tried everything to get more people to inquire, but you’re not getting the results you want. In this presentation, we will explain how to use inbound marketing to get the results you want while offering a path to get started using inbound marketing at your school.
Speaker: Tim Green, Athletics Consultant, Southern Teachers
Athletics are complex and of vital importance to a school, so it is imperative that the head of school and athletic director are on the same page. Explore the results of a study of over 50 independent school athletic directors examining the most important things athletic directors want their heads of school to know.
12:30 PM – 2:00 PM
LUNCH: SAIS President’s Address, Distinguished Service Award, NAIS Update
2:00 PM – 2:30 PM
2:30 PM – 3:45 PM
Speaker: Romayne Levee, Partner & Director of Education Strategy, Mission Minded
If we learned anything from the 2020-21 school year, it’s that a worthy mission is no longer enough for an independent school to assert its value. You must demonstrate your school’s clear and unique value to inspire families to choose independent education in general, and your school in particular.
In an exciting case study, we’ll share how a brand strategy unearthed and elevated Chatham Hall from being an undiscovered gem to being the top girls’ education in the Southeast, inspiring families to choose them.
We’ll help you translate your own school’s values into an inspiring brand experience for your prospective families.
We’ll cover the basics of branding so even skeptics get excited about what’s possible for their own school. Participants will leave feeling empowered to apply lessons learned and understand what it takes to ensure the value of their school is stronger and clearer than ever.
Speaker: Lorrie Jackson, Educational Sales Consultant, Finalsite
Finalsite has spent 20 years helping schools with their marketing strategy. Times (and technology) have changed, but there’s one thing that will always be true: mistakes happen. Perhaps your paid ads are going to the wrong audience or maybe your landing pages don’t have forms on them. Sound familiar? Let’s dig into 10 common mistakes and learn how to avoid them. At the same time, you can fill your funnel, improve your conversion rates, and save time and money.
Look through each stage of their funnel to find the reasons they lose right-fit families in the process
Find new ways to market their school and increase conversions, inquiries, and applications
Learn best practices they can quickly and easily implement
3:45 PM – 4:15 PM
4:15 PM – 5:30 PM
Speakers: Jim Bush, President, Winkler Group, and Nate Morrow, Head of School, Christ Presbyterian Academy
Division Level: Upper (9-12)
In addition to funding new buildings, a capital campaign can boost enrollment and create tremendous energy on campus. This session explores how a campaign transformed Christ Presbyterian Academy (CPA) in Nashville.
CPA’s 2018 $18 million campaign funded a new performing arts center, built a new college-style central quad, and created a welcoming new entrance for current and prospective students. CPA’s campaign also led to tremendous growth in the annual fund and soaring enrollment. Today, donors are asking “what’s next” and ready to be part of CPA’s next campaign for new athletic facilities.
In this session, participants will explore the practical realities of a campaign, including the four benchmarks that predict campaign success, when to engage an architect, how to involve key stakeholders, and staffing necessary to support a campaign. Attendees will learn customized strategies they can put into place today to increase the likelihood of campaign success tomorrow.
5:30 PM – 6:30 PM
7:00 AM – 12:30 PM
8:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Sponsor Booths Open
Speaker: Carla Iliescu, Founder, potential
For seven years, leaders across all sectors were asked one question: what is the future of leadership? One answer was overwhelmingly clear: courageous leaders.
Based on the research of Brené Brown and her #1 New York Times bestseller, Dare to Lead™, this empirically based courage-building keynote will focus on developing a collection of four skill sets to help individuals, teams, and organizations move from armored leadership to daring leadership.
This keynote is designed to create the desire to lead as someone who takes responsibility for finding the potential in people or processes and has the courage to develop that potential. We will cover the four skill sets of daring leadership:
You will be able to use these courageous leadership concepts to create a leadership culture that will positively impact performance. These skills create unity and collaboration within the team to achieve the school’s purpose. You will gain an understanding of why courageous leadership is critical to your school’s success today and in the future. You will be able to use the tools to lead and perform at your highest potential.
Define courageous leadership
Understand the four skill sets that comprise courageous leadership
Gain tools to lead and perform at their highest level
11:00 AM – 12:30 PM
Speaker: Penny Abrahams, Consultant & Advancement Department Head, ISM
When enrollment management, marketing communications, and development leaders are on the same page, you take your strategies to the next level.
At ISM, we call this advancement—all school activities that develop, maintain, and reinforce the relationships between your school and its current and prospective families, employees, alumni, friends, and the greater community. Without a strong advancement strategy, your school misses out on opportunities to invite families to apply, re-enroll, and make philanthropic gifts.
How strong is your school’s advancement strategy today and where should you focus your efforts? Join this session to self-evaluate using ISM’s propriety Advancement Assessment. Explore your results and consider a framework for applying what you learn to create an actionable plan that ties back to your strategic initiatives and helps advance your institution’s unique mission.
Understand the role of advancement in independent schools
Discover how a collaborative approach is critical to your school’s enrollment and philanthropy
Assess your school’s advancement program to identify strengths and opportunities
Building on the themes of the morning keynote, this workshop will focus on developing the skill of living into your values.
In this engaging and interactive session, you will have the opportunity to identify your values and consider how to use them when you lead. You will create a plan to live these values versus just professing them. You will learn to give feedback in a way that aligns with your values and who you want to be as a leader.
The typical strategic plan is an expected list of operational priorities that, frankly, could have been predicted and written without the protracted process. Too many schools create plans that stop short of being as powerful as they could be, especially when it comes to the kind of program innovation that truly inspires faculty, staff, and families.
In this session, you’ll see an exciting case study that demonstrates how to create a strategic plan that is visionary and inspiring, rather than expected and ho-hum. We’ll teach a new framework that puts student learning outcomes at the center, not school operations.
While there is no one-size-fits-all strategic planning approach, we’ll inspire attendees to set a new bar for their next strategic plan: one that will have a school united in achieving a newly articulated vision.
Learn the benefit of creating a student-outcomes focused strategic plan, rather than one focused on operations, and how this will rally their existing community and prospective families.
12:30 PM – 3:30 PM
SAIS relies on the expertise of heads and senior administrators to serve as accreditation visiting team chairs. Typically, those who attend chair training have served on several teams and been recommended by a visiting team chair. There is no workshop fee for chair training, but new chair registrations will be reviewed before being accepted. Separate registration required (register here).