Heads & Senior Management

Heads & Senior Management

Most sessions will include a recorded presentation available to all Conference attendees throughout the Conference until the end of December 2020


Thursday, December 10 • Noon ET

The State of the Boarding School Headship: Designing for Sustainable Headship in a Time of Crisis

The profound health, economic and cultural difficulties of 2020 have brought to light challenges to the boarding school headship that, some argue, have simmered below the surface for years. What are we hearing from heads about the sustainability of the role — and what can we do about it? Join a panel of heads of school and industry experts as they discuss the leadership profiles that are experiencing the most success and difficulty in the current landscape, the psycho-emotional requirements and support for healthy headship, and the ways that we can work together to build a deep bench of talent ready to take on this evolving set of opportunities and challenges critical to the future of our industry


Head to Head Partnership

Being a head of school can be very isolating…how many school leaders have educators on their board? There is great value in having someone who truly understand what keeps you up at night – who lives and breathes a 24/7 commitment to school leadership; who is a thought-partner; who adds informed perspective, knowledge and strategic thinking. In this interactive workshop, participants will learn how two institutions structured their board to include educators—come ready to share ideas and connect!

David Perfield

Head of School, Oldfields School, MD

Peter Curran

Head Elect of School, Blair Academy, NJ

Andrew Menke

Head of School, Waterford School, UT

Jeff Leahy

Head of School, Colorado Rocky Mountain School, CO


Heads & Chairs Panel on Market Position, Student Population and Financial Sustainability (or Why Net Tuition Revenue Is Not “the Only Number That Matters”)

Running a school is like running a state: What resources do you consume in the present rather than conserve for the future? Join a panel of 2 heads of school, 2 board/finance chairs, and a management consultant in institutional economics, to discuss the challenges and opportunities of crafting a sustainable economic model for you and all boarding schools. Session includes an extended Q&A and financial sustainability analytics from 175 boarding schools.

Topics covered include
• Program Revenue: fair-market price, full-pay seats and value proposition • Program Expense: SG&A expense and labor productivity
• Grants: Need, merit, remission and socioeconomic diversity
• Philanthropy Net: Advancement, endowment and asset conservation
• Physical Plant: Capital maintenance and space utilization.

Claire Theobald

Treasurer, Miss Porter’s School, CT

William Menard

Chair, Millbrook School, NY

Randy Bertin

Head of School, Cushing Academy, MA

Bart Griffith

Head of School, Shady Side Academy, PA


William Kummel (Moderator)
Principal, Rational Partners, NY


Crisis Prevention and Response

This session will provide advice and insight into training and oversight designed to avoid crises to the greatest extent possible; plus, advice from an experienced attorney and crisis communications professional about responding to crises and communicating effectively with constituencies, including board, alums, students, parents, future parents and staff.

Morgan Paul Rueckert

Attorney, Shipman & Goodwin LLP, CT

Chris Tennyson

Communications Consultant/Author, Tennyson Communications, NY


Protecting Students from Educator and Peer Sexual Misconduct – An Interactive Workshop

High profile cases and victim advocacy are resulting in an environment intolerant of inaction preventing and responding to educator and peer sexual misconduct. Join our interactive workshop to explore evolving legal standards redefining a school’s current duty of care. Participate in “hands on” exercises focused on steps schools can take to deter and respond to misconduct, from baseline standard of care to best practices including vulnerability audits, policy review, protective employment practices, and behavioral-based training.

David Wolowitz

Senior Director, McLane Middleton, PA, MA

Megan Mann

Legal Counsel, NAIS, DC

Constance Neary

Vice President for Risk Management, United Educators, MD


Managing Risk In Employee Separations

Separating employees is a necessary aspect of management that is accompanied by significant risk. Schools that handle separations skillfully, and with forethought, are able to dramatically reduce such risk. During this interactive program led by experienced employment counsel, participants will learn best practices for planning separations, carrying out separation conversations, conducting reductions-in-force or voluntary retirement programs, and negotiating separation agreements, all with an eye toward buttressing the School’s defenses in possible future litigation.

Matthew Batastini

Managing Partner, Schwartz Hannum PC, MA

Chuck McCullagh

CFO, The Williston Northampton School, MA

HEADS & SENIOR management

Storytelling: the power of data visualization

Data visualization is a powerful tool that helps an audience digest and process patterns and trends from a complex data set. Does your data tell a compelling and persuasive story?

Tanner Baker

Research & Analytics, Rational Partners, NY


The New Talent Profile: Hiring for Boarding Schools in a Post-2020 World

What kind of an employee does a boarding school need in 2021? The move to a virtual learning environment last spring, the racial justice movement of the summer, and the challenge of re-opening campuses safely this fall forced a re-ordering of priorities for hiring leaders within boarding schools. The approach that worked in a pre-2020 world may have less relevance as we look to the 2021 academic year and beyond, with a heightened focus on adaptability, solution-seeking and attention to issues of equity and inclusion. Join a team of panelists that regularly lead hiring processes within their schools to discuss shifts in priorities and needs as they look to shape their teams for the future.

Suzanne Buck

Head of School, Western Reserve Academy, OH

HEADS & SENIOR management

The International Boarding Landscape: Responses to Covid and Market Opportunity Abroad

We'll discuss local responses to the Covid-19 crisis in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. Then we'll share the challenges, successes and solutions engineered by boarding schools as they worked to remain or re-open over the past nine months and an assessment of the market opportunity for the boarding landscape as they look to the future.

Robin Fletcher
CEO of the Boarding Schools’ Association (UK)

Dee Guillemot-Rodgerson
National Coordinator of the New Zealand Board Schools’ Association

Richard Stokes
CEO of the Australian Boarding Schools Association


When a Wing and a Prayer Isn’t Enough: A Case Study on Shifting Advancement Strategy during Challenging Times

You have an incredibly exciting strategic plan, fully endorsed by your Board of Trustees. Plans are underway to launch the leadership phase of a campaign to fund the realization of this vision. And then COVID-19 hits. The outcome of the pandemic in terms of lost revenue is staggering and leaves your school on unsteady footing. How do you move forward? How do you preserve excitement for your vision while building a foundation to secure your future? It takes more than a wing and a prayer.

Karen Callahan

Senior Consultant & Managing Principal, Marts & Lundy

Jennifer Zaccara

Head of School, Vermont Academy

HEADS & SENIOR management

People First: Tending the Most Critical Internal Relationships in the Time of COVID

Even the most cliché-weary among us has to acknowledge that at its core, fundraising is about relationships. And many of us have experienced the power of that as we’ve reached out to donors, alumni and the community over these last challenging months. But how best to tend to those relationships even closer to home: the one between the CAO and the CEO? Or between staff leadership and governance? As the pandemic understandably draws attention and time towards other areas of the school, how can the CAO, academic leaders and senior volunteers pick up the mantle of fundraising? What is the most effective and strategic way to use the CEO’s time? And how can we use a time of challenge to make even greater headway on our vision and aspirations?

Taylor Stockdale

Head of Schools, The Webb Schools


Alison Holt

Senior Consultant, Marts & Lundy and Managing Director, Offord Group


Jim Zimmerman

Senior Consultant & Principal, Marts & Lundy



Viruses, Vaccines, Pandemics & Mold: Stopping the Spread and Managing Legal Risk

High-profile outbreaks of mumps, measles, meningitis — and, of course, the coronavirus — have populated headlines. There also has been an increase in allegations of mold causing student and employee health issues. This session will: - Provide an overview of widespread health challenges facing schools - Describe the anti-vaccination movement, legal protections for those claiming a vaccination exemption, and how to address exemptions - Best practices to mitigate legal risks associated with student health affected by infectious disease, mold and pandemic illnesses

Kathryn Beaumont Murphy

Counsel, K-12 Schools, Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr LLP, PA

James Keller

Chair, K-12 Schools, Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr LLP, PA


Futurecast: On the Next Ten Years

COVID. Political division. Reckonings with the past, as well as the present. 2020 has proven to be as eventful as some entire decades. So what does the next decade hold? What are the top issues that will affect the academic, co-curricular, and human services boarding schools deliver? The populations they serve? The business models they create? The people they employ? The competition they face? What are the greatest threats and moonshot opportunities? Most importantly, how might residential education not only survive, but flourish? Join a panel of national and international association leaders for a discussion about what various quiet trends, and more recent dramatic changes, augur for the future of independent schools—and boarding schools in particular.

Sue Cunningham

President and CEO, Counsel for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE)

Heather Hoerle
Executive Director and CEO, Enrollment Management Association (EMA)

Donna Orem
President, National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS)


Jeff Shields
President and CEO, National Business Officers Association (NBOA)


Peter Upham
Executive Director, The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS)