Penny AbrahamsConsultant, ISM
Penny Abrahams joined Independent School Management in 2010. As a consultant, she specializes in marketing communications, enrollment management, and development. Her experience in these areas comes from working in private-independent schools for more than 13 years and serving other nonprofits for an additional seven years.
Penny’s duties as a consultant also include advising schools as part of ISM’s Digital Solutions team and serving as the convener for ISM’s Advancement Academy, a premier professional development conference that educates and mentors heads of school and development, enrollment management, and marketing communications professionals.
Penny began her career in schools at Ravenscroft, a pre-K through grade 12 school in Raleigh, NC, as an annual fund director and then as director of communications. She then served as the director of admissions & marketing at Academy at the Lakes, a pre-K 3 through grade 12 school located in Tampa, FL.
She graduated with a B.A. in journalism and mass communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and holds a Digital Marketing Certificate from the University of Vermont. She also attained International Advancement Program—Leader certification in 2012.
Heather BroadwaterEmployment Attorney, Stanton Law
A graduate of Georgetown University Law Center and experienced attorney, Heather J. Broadwater serves as an employment attorney at Stanton Law in Atlanta, GA. Previously, she advised independent schools as partner in the education, employment, and nonprofit association practice groups at Potomac Law Group. Heather helps schools pursue their missions in compliance with applicable law and consistent with the core values that define each school. From representing schools in disputes to helping schools adopt policies, procedures, and practices to minimize the likelihood of legal disputes, Heather draws upon not only her legal education and experience, but also a career steeped in education, sociology, business, and human resource management.
Heather is admitted to the State bars of Georgia, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. For over a decade she has been a regular speaker at SAIS events and for other local, regional, and national independent school associations and at in-house training sessions for school employees and leaders.
Chris LukachCEO, AKCG – Public Relations Counselors
Chris Lukach, APR, is CEO and owner of AKCG – Public Relations Counselors, a national public relations firm specializing in issue and crisis preparedness and response. Chris has been instrumental in developing issue and crisis communications plans and advising independent school clients across the nation.
Chris also leads the firm’s spokesperson training team, guiding subject matter experts — from scientific researchers and healthcare officials, to heads of school and university presidents, to religious leaders — to be effective communicators in today’s nuanced and challenging media landscape.
Chris is a past president and chair of the Philadelphia Public Relations Association and the youngest leader in the association’s 70-year history. He remains active with the organization, serving as a director and a past-presidential board appointee. A graduate of Rowan University and an active member of the school’s alumni community, Chris was named the university’s “Distinguished Alumnus” in 2018. In 2019, Chris earned his master of legal studies degree from Drexel University. He serves on the board of WHYY, Inc. the Philadelphia area’s NPR affiliate.
Jennifer Osland HillenChief Learning Officer, NBOA
As chief learning officer at NBOA, Jennifer leads the staff team charged with delivering the association’s broad and diverse portfolio of programs, industry guidance, and resources. She serves the NBOA Board of Directors’ Governance Committee and leads NBOA’s volunteer Business Officers Council and staff Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Committee, in addition to serving as a subject-matter expert. She also serves on the teaching faculty for the M.Ed. in Independent School Leadership program at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College.
Jennifer, a CPA, worked in assurance and advisory services for Ernst & Young before joining Harpeth Hall School in 2009 where she served as a business officer. She joined NBOA in 2017 as director of accounting and tax programs and was promoted to vice president of professional development and business affairs early in 2018. In 2020, Jennifer was named NBOA’s chief learning officer.
Jennifer is a leader at several not-for-profits and currently serves on the board of Renewal House. She graduated from Birmingham-Southern College with a B.S. in accounting, Spanish, and business. She studied abroad at St. John’s College of Oxford University, England in 2004.
Full bio here.
Mark ReedManaging Director, John M. Belk Endowment
Mark Reed currently serves as managing director of the John M. Belk Endowment. Prior to this role, he served as the head of school at Charlotte Country Day from 2009-2021. During his tenure, he led efforts to substantially increase the school’s endowment to its current high of $65 million. Enrollment also grew under his leadership while maintaining a 97% reenrollment rate. A capital campaign that yielded over $100 million afforded the construction of five new buildings plus three renovations.
Prior to his arrival at Country Day, Mark served as the assistant head at St. John’s in Houston, where he worked his way up from roles including teacher, coach, dean of students, and interim director of advancement.
A native of Montana, Mark received his undergraduate degree from the University of Houston, a master’s degree in educational leadership from Columbia University, and an honorary doctor of education from Lees-McRae College. He was a world-class high jumper from 1986–1993 and competed on the international track and field circuit.
Mark currently serves on the board of trustees for the following organizations: New Republic Bank, SAIS, Foundation for the Carolinas, Jefferson Bridge Capital, The Good Fellows Club, National Merit Corporation, and Atrium Healthcare. He is also a member of the highly regarded Headmasters Association and the National Merit Scholarship Advisory Council. Mark is a field professor and serves on the board of advisors for the Klingenstein Center, Columbia University. In addition, Mark serves on the North Carolina Banking Commission.
Debra WilsonPresident, SAIS
Debra joined the SAIS staff in July 2019. She grew up in Connecticut, where she graduated from the Williams School, an independent school located on the campus of Connecticut College. Debra received her B.A. in English from Sewanee, The University of the South, and her J.D. from the University of South Carolina at Columbia. She previously served as general counsel for NAIS for 19 years. Before joining the NAIS staff, Debra was a tax litigator at the Department of Justice. Her past and current board service includes EMA-The Enrollment Management Association, GEB-Global Education Benchmarking, MISBO-Mid-South Independent School Business Officers, and NNSP-National Network of School Partnerships. She is an avid reader, photographer, and cook who loves to be outdoors in the low country of South Carolina.
Brian WiseDirector of Diversity Planning, Charlotte Country Day School
Brian Wise has served as director of diversity planning at Country Day since 1998. He teaches an upper school course in social justice; leads a summer student service experience in South Africa; and assists all JK-12 faculty and administration, admissions, parent groups, and individual students or faculty and staff with diversity topics and conversations. He plans and facilitates diversity workshops, conferences, and institutes for schools, associations, and corporate and community-based organizations.
Sean CorcoranHead of School, Brainerd Baptist School
Sean Corcoran was appointed head of school in 2006 but actually began working at BBS back in 1996 while still in college. After earning his master’s degree, Sean moved into administration working in many different areas including admissions, overseeing the business office, and facilities. His duties included the oversight of campus expansion that included the construction of a gymnasium, football field, and two classroom expansions.
In the Spring of 2005, Sean returned to Brainerd Baptist School as assistant head of school and was appointed as head of school in May of 2006. Sean earned his doctorate in educational leadership and is passionate about high-quality, child-centered, independent education. He has presented at numerous educational conferences and also regularly chairs accreditation visits for independent schools in our region through SAIS. He serves on various committees for TAIS and currently serves on their board. He is also active in the Elementary School Heads Association (ESHA) and has worked as a consultant helping smaller Christian schools develop strategic plans. Additionally, Sean has served as an adjunct professor for a local university.
Megan CoverHead of School, Girls Preparatory School
Megan Cover is the head of school at Girls Preparatory School. Prior to that, she was head of upper school at Tower Hill School in Wilmington, DE. While at Tower Hill, she was instrumental in launching signature programs, enhancing the experience of rising ninth-graders through summer programs, and facilitating improvements to service learning, environmental initiatives, and social justice and wellness programs for upper school students. During her tenure at Tower Hill, Cover served as a French and Spanish teacher and language department chair, created the lower school Spanish program, served as assistant head of upper school and dean of students, and even coached field hockey and lacrosse. She oversaw upper school programs in student life, advisory, leadership, student retention, career day, and new faculty cohorts and brought a discipline and student leadership board model to her school. She holds a bachelor’s degree in French with a minor in education from Denison University and master’s degrees from West Chester University (Spanish) and Middlebury College (French).
Jim McIntyreHead of School, Father Ryan High School
Jim came to Father Ryan High School as principal in 2004 and was named the first president of the school in the fall of 2007. During his tenure, the school has expanded its campus, increased its enrollment, raised more than $12 million, and received regional and national recognition through the celebration of the school’s 90th Anniversary. In addition to his leadership of Father Ryan, he began a two-year term in the summer of 2018 as president of the board of directors of TAIS.
Prior to coming to Father Ryan, Jim was the principal of Cardinal Newman School in Columbia, SC, from 2000-2004. Prior to that he was at his alma mater, Bishop Lynch High School in Dallas, TX, from 1992-2000. There he served in a variety of capacities, beginning as teacher, advisor, and coach before becoming assistant academic dean in 1996.
Jim received his bachelor’s degree in history from the University of North Texas in 1991, and earned a master’s degree in educational administration from Texas A&M-Commerce in 1996. In May 2017, Mr. McIntyre graduated from the Boston College Cohort of Educators at the Roche Center. He is a frequent participant on assessment teams for SACS, a member of NASSP, NCEA, and numerous other associations and organizations. He was a member of the Leadership Nashville Class of 2015.
Kristin WattsHead of School, The Bright School
Kristin Watts was appointed head of The Bright School in 2021. Previously, Kristin was director of St. Anne’s Day School and Enrichment Programs in Atlanta. She also served as director of admissions at Trinity School in Atlanta for 11 years and previously held posts at University Lake School in Hartland, WI, and Wabash College in Crawfordsville, IN. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Spanish literature at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and her master’s degree in human resource management at Siena Heights University in Adrian, MI.
Scott WilsonConsultant, ISM / Retired Head of School, Baylor School
Following a 40-year career in independent schools including 24 years of headship, Scott joined ISM in summer 2021. Immediately before joining ISM, Scott served as president and head of school at Baylor School (TN) from 2009 until his retirement in 2021. Prior to his appointment at Baylor, Scott led Brookstone School (GA) and Valwood School (GA). During each of his tenures, Scott led his schools through dramatic periods of program and institutional growth. While he is passionate about all facets of school leadership, Scott has embraced the challenge of helping schools develop cultures that ensure that every student, parent, alumna/alumnus, teacher, and staff member feels a true sense of belonging.