Wednesday, November 13 - Thursday, November 14, 2019
The Conference Center at Waltham Woods, Waltham, MA

School Leadership Team Retreat

A Collaborative Conference for:
Finance, Operations, Admissions, Advancement and Marketing Leaders

Join with leadership team colleagues from your own school or a non-compete peer school (if you're on your own) to consider the big opportunities that should be driving collaborative work within your school's community. In 20-25 years, what we consider education and the institution we call “school” today may look dramatically different, and far beyond anything most of us are currently considering. This is the future for which we must plan, and the trajectory we must initiate.

Focus in specifically on:

  • Current Trends and Research
  • Opportunities and Challenges Within our Industry
  • The Benefits of Collaborative Leadership

Heads of School: You're invited to join your teams for Wednesday's collaborative session as our complimentary guests.

Registration Rates:
  • Full Retreat: Business Leaders, Two Days: $499 per person
  • Thursday-only: Business Leaders: $399 per person
  • Head of School Joining Your Team for Wednesday, 11/13: complimentary

Save even more when you send more members of your team!

Traveling far, or simply interested in immersing more in this experience? Reserve overnight rooms at the nearby Waltham Westin, using AISNE's preferred rates.

Agenda Preview

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Heads of School are invited to join your teams Wednesday as our complimentary guests.

The first day of our program is about contemplating your holistic opportunity as a school. What are the big questions for your school to tackle? How do each of your roles align together to drive success? How are others breaking through where your organization has encountered a road block?

Arrive, Register, Enjoy Networking Over Breakfast
8:30 - 9:15 a.m.

9:15 a.m.

Claire Leheny
Executive Director

Morning Session
9:15 a.m. - 11:15 a.m.

Current Conditions and Potential Opportunities

Grant Lichtman
Speaker, Author, Strategic Advisor

Grant Lichtman is an internationally recognized thought leader in the drive to transform K-12 education. He speaks, writes and works with fellow educators to build capacity and comfort with innovation in response to a rapidly changing world. For almost 15 years, Grant was a trustee and senior administrator at one of the largest independent schools in the United States.

Since 2012, Grant has visited more than 125 schools and districts, published three books, written numerous articles, and worked with thousands of school and community stakeholders to develop unique and powerful visions and strategies for transforming education toward future-focused models of deeper learning. He will share out the data, trends and findings that have emerged from his large body of work. As a facilitator within school communities, Grant tailors his work to the people in attendance and uses a series of fast-paced, design thinking-based activities to help school teams.

With Grant’s facilitation, consider the following questions:

  • Why should schools change? For many, the train has left the station, but some school communities still need to make the case for change.
  • What will that change look like? For many, it is a transformed, student-centered “deeper learning” system that replaces a very outdated, Industrial Age, teacher-centric system.
  • How will we make the change? We know how good organizations make successful transformation. We must adapt this knowledge and culture for the unique real-world conditions of schools.

Grant will facilitate opportunities for your team to:

  • Imagine a future that may look very different than the past.
  • Build increased capacity and comfort with ongoing change.
  • Align your critical resources—people, time, money, space and knowledge—with your unique vision in a sustainable system of action plans.
  • Question legacy assumptions that drive strategic plans and budgets.
  • Bust silos that have separated us as educator-leaders in the past.
  • Connect to a rapidly expanding, global neural network of knowledge creation and sharing.
  • Learn to embrace risk rather than fearing it.
  • Develop an inclusive vision representing the unique dreams and aspirations of your entire school community.

Exhibitor Session
11:15 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.

Networking Lunch
12:15 - 1:15 p.m.

Afternoon Session
1:30 - 3:00 p.m.

Articulating Value and Driving Innovation

Grant Lichtman
Speaker, Author, Strategic Advisor

Apply your insights from the morning to isolate and summarize meaningful opportunity areas specific to your school's community.

  • What is your school's value proposition?
  • What is strategy, and why should you care?
  • How does innovation deliver value?
  • What do your customers value?
  • What jobs is your school being hired to do?

Refresh Break
3:00 p.m.

Case Study
3:15 - 4:30 p.m.

Green Mountain Higher Education Consortium

The competitive landscape for higher education has many similarities and parallels to what we are seeing in the independent school market. Creativity and outside-the-box solutions are often times what distinguish schools that survive from those that don’t.

The Green Mountain Higher Education Consortium is a collaborative endeavor of three Vermont Colleges: Champlain College, Middlebury College and Saint Michael’s College. Partnered together, their goal is to find ways to streamline administrative services common to all three of their institutions. The consortium believes this approach holds promise for increasing efficiencies and reducing costs over the long term, while also increasing student and family satisfaction.

Engage with members of the consortium during this interactive session focused on exploring the similarities between the opportunities and challenges for both higher ed and independent schools.

Hotel Check-In Time for Those Staying Overnight

Waltham Westin
4:45 p.m.

Reserve overnight rooms at the nearby Waltham Westin, using AISNE's preferred rates.

Cocktail Hour & Networking Dinner
Osteria Posto, Waltham, MA
5:30 - 8:00 p.m.

Wednesday's dinner is generously sponsored by:

Thursday, November 14, 2019

This day is purely for business, operations, finance, advancement, admissions, enrollment management and marketing leaders. Heads of school will have departed following yesterday's program / dinner.

Return (or Arrive for one-day participants), Enjoy Networking Over Breakfast
8:00 - 8:45 a.m.

Welcome Back
8:45 a.m.

Becky Biggs
Director, Professional Development

Ice Breaker Discussions by Roles
8:45 - 9:15 a.m.

Meet and connect with your business, operations, finance, advancement, admissions, enrollment management and marketing leader peers from AISNE member schools across New England.

Morning Keynote
9:15 - 10:00 a.m.

The Role of Leadership Teams in Advancing Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in Schools

Beth Chandler
President & Chief Executive Officer
YW Boston

Refresh Break
10:00 a.m.

Breakout Session I
10:10 - 11:25 a.m.

  • Economic Outlook | Scott Clemons | Chief Investment Strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman, Scott Clemons, examines current economic and market conditions and their implications on our independent school market. Scott will also look at what the markets and economy have in store as we close out 2019 and turn toward 2020.

  • Building Inclusive Communities: Implicit Bias Training for Senior Level School Administrators | Beth Chandler and Bianca Robinson | Explore how implicit bias is embedded into decision-making processes. Identify actionable strategies for building inclusivity and advancing equity within your organization.
  • The Donation Equation | Brian Gawor | Combining research from actual donor behavior studies, psychology and behavioral economics, we’ll discuss six key elements you can use to mix up a campaign that will explode with donors. It’s time to use science to engage a new generation of alumni, their families and our communities. It’s time to get critical and ask tough questions.
  • Fostering Relationships with Today's Independent School Buyers | Jill Goodman | Delve into the disconnect between what parents want from their child's school and what schools have traditionally expected from parents. Discover how to get better aligned. All schools are committed to student retention and the experience of students should be the priority of every adult in the building. But, who prioritizes the experience of parents after the admissions process and through graduation? In this workshop we will identify steps to parent retention, with volunteerism as one key element. Participants will see the disconnect between what motivates parents and what motivates the school staff regarding parent involvement. They will learn how to evaluate each program that involves parent volunteers for mission and brand alignment. We will explore the myths and realities of recruiting, managing, and stewarding effective parent volunteers and consider a new way forward.

Breakout Session II
11:30 a.m. - 12:45 p.m.

  • Successfully Navigating Challenging Families: Lessons From A First Circuit Decision | Sarah Fay and Brian Garrett, Schwartz Hannum PC | Experienced school counsel, Sarah Fay and Brian Garrett, will facilitate a lively and interactive session about the lessons learned from successfully prevailing in a multiple-year federal court litigation involving a family’s allegations related to a student’s alleged “Wi-Fi allergy.” Utilizing a case study approach, Sarah and Brian will engage the audience in a collaborative discussion about strategies for responding to challenging student and family complaints and working with counsel to protect the institution — whether it is an alleged environmental hazard, a demand for ADA accommodations based on the school as a place of public accommodation, assertions of violations of the Student Handbook, and more. The presenters will outline comprehensive strategies to proactively implement key documents on campus to help a school respond when challenges arise on campus—including recommendations for updating the admissions application, enrollment agreement, student handbook, and other key school documents.

  • Diversify and Deepen Your Funnel | Jesse Roberts | Spend time learning about the data that matters and how to leverage that data into action plans that help you find the next wave of families that would be a fit for your school. Jesse Roberts has begun to see a growing understanding of the need to use more sophisticated marketing and communication techniques and tools that have long been used in the corporate world. Some schools are taking positive steps to understand prospectives’ online behavior and provide deeper personalization (and opportunity for two-way conversation) at every step of the inquiry/enrollment journey.

  • Fundraising Trends | Brian Gawor | Explore 6 key trends in independent school fundraising, using examples from peer schools. Discuss the rise of social media, texting, omnichannel engagement and new ways you can engage donors. The rise of crowdfunding and giving days build urgency – but will donors tire of this? Look at how organizations are building faster and more successful major donor pipelines. Come ready to share your examples and interact with your fellow fundraisers.
  • Brand Champions | Jill Goodman | Join a discussion about the importance of word-of-mouth marketing and how to activate constituencies within your school. Word-of-Mouth, or direct contact marketing is widely considered to be a vital piece of a school’s enrollment marketing strategy. The challenge for the admissions office staff is encouraging members of your school community to talk with other people about your school in ways that are in keeping with the brand messages. Which community members should do the talking and champion your brand? How do you ensure they are communicating the actual brand messages? In this session you will identify Brand Champions inseveral constituencies. You will learn strategies to coach the Champions and the tools that they need to frame their conversations and communications around the brand messages while always being truthful and authentic to their experience.

Networking Lunch
12:45 - 1:30 p.m.

Peer Think Tanks
1:30 - 2:30 p.m.

  • Connecting Data Across Systems, Leveraging Market Research, & Understanding Decision Drivers and Examining Perceptions | Matt Soule, Chapel Hill - Chauncy Hall School and Jesse Roberts

Afternoon Keynote
2:40 - 3:30 p.m.

Leading Your Institution Forward

Helen Drinan
Simmons University

Hear how Simmons' eighth president has articulated value and driven innovation during her tenure at the university. Helen's powerful experiences and collaborative approach will provide an inspirational close to our energizing two-day retreat.

Wrap-Up and Farewell
3:45 p.m.

Becky Biggs
Director, Professional Development

Registered Peers

Join these peers at AISNE's 2019 Business Leadership Retreat:

  • Michelle Finno, Director of Enrollment Management & Marketing, Andover School of Montessori
  • James Hickey, Head, Austin Preparatory School
  • John Weber, Chief Financial Officer, Austin Preparatory School
  • Sue Belanger, Assistant Headmaster for External Affairs, Austin Preparatory School
  • Steve Silverthorn, Director of Admissions, Austin Preparatory School
  • Jonathan Pollard, Assistant Headmaster for Enrollment & Athletics, Austin Preparatory School
  • Tyler Fleming, Director of Communications, Austin Preparatory School
  • Jen Hodgdon, Director of Alumni Relations & Giving, Austin Preparatory School
  • Conrad Wildsmith, Head, Bay Farm Montessori Academy
  • Craig Sander, Finance Director, Bay Farm Montessori Academy
  • Britta Moran, Director of Enrollment, Bay Farm Montessori Academy
  • Kyra Mercer, Engagement & Advancement Director, Bay Farm Montessori Academy
  • Alyssa Good, Director of Marketing & Communications, Bay Farm Montessori Academy
  • Joanne McDaniel, Chief Financial Officer, Beaver Country Day School
  • Shamikhah Baker, Director of Enrollment Management, Beaver Country Day School
  • Brendan Largay, Head, Belmont Day School
  • Frederick Colson, Director of Finance, Belmont Day School
  • Jay Bounty, Chief Financial Officer and Director of Operations, Belmont Hill School
  • Dylan Korpita, Director of Finance & Operations, The Bement School
  • Jim Hamilton, Head, Berwick Academy
  • Jonathan Douglas, Chief Financial Officer, Berwick Academy
  • Michael Hoyle, Senior Vice President for Administration, Finance, and Strategic Planning, Boston College High School
  • Christopher Mackey, Director of Finance, Boston College High School
  • Donna Simonelli, Controller, Boston College High School
  • Bob Rooney, Chief Financial Officer, Brimmer and May School
  • Kate Leach, Director of Advancement, Burr and Burton Academy
  • Joseph McDonald, Chief Financial Officer, Catholic Memorial School
  • Isabel "Charlie" Spencer, Head, The Center School
  • Veronica Phaneuf, Business Manager, The Center School
  • Lance Conrad, Head, Chapel Hill - Chauncy Hall School
  • Gwen Pojasek, Chief Financial Officer, Chapel Hill - Chauncy Hall School
  • David Riedell, Director of Finance, Charles River School
  • Amy Fredericks, Chief Financial Officer, Concord Academy
  • Alex Melanson, Assistant Director of Finance, Dexter Southfield School
  • Diane Byrne, Director of Finance & Operations, Fay School
  • Paul Hubbard, Controller, Fay School
  • David Platt, Assistant Headmaster for Finance & Operations, The Fenn School
  • Holger Wirtz, Head, German International School of Boston
  • Marion Goodwin, Director of Admissions, German International School of Boston
  • Paula Spencer, Director of Finance, German International School of Boston
  • Steve Farley, Head, Kingsley Montessori School
  • James Bonsey, Chief Financial and Operations Officer, Kingsley Montessori School
  • Diane Decker, Director of Community Development, Lexington Montessori School
  • Donna Strouse, Chief Financial Officer, Riverbend School
  • Lynn Shevory, Director of Enrollment Management, Riverbend School
  • Deb Hall, Director of Development, Riverbend School
  • Christian McPherson, Marketing & Communications Manager, Riverbend School
  • Scott O'Gorman, Director of Finance, The Roxbury Latin School
  • Marie Leary, Head, The Sage School
  • Nancy Farrell, Director of Business & Finance, The Sage School
  • Megan Fahey, Director of Admission, The Sage School
  • Lisa Downs, Director of Advancement, The Sage School
  • Paul Oricchio, Director of Major Gifts, The Sage School
  • Julie York, Communications Coordinator, The Sage School
  • Michael Ruo, Business Manager, School One
  • Maria Mihopoulos, Interim Head, Shrewsbury Montessori School
  • Aixa Lovezzola, Director of Finance, Shrewsbury Montessori School
  • Elizabeth Leandres, Director of Admissions, Shrewsbury Montessori School
  • Suzie Nebelung, Director of Advancement, Shrewsbury Montessori School
  • Susan Lagos, Director of Finance & Human Resources, Striar Hebrew Academy
  • Martha Torrence, Head, Summit Montessori School
  • Rebecca Crawford, Director of Development, Summit Montessori School
  • Sherri Melamut, Director of Finance & Operations, Summit Montessori School
  • Siobhan Mahaney, Director of Admission, Summit Montessori School
  • Steve Sanford, Associate Head of School, Finance & Operations, Tabor Academy
  • Derek Krein, Dean of Professional and Programmatic Growth, Tabor Academy
  • Deba Dunn Palma, Head, Thacher Montessori School
  • Peter Brown, Business Manager, Thacher Montessori School
  • Nikki Toon, Director of Admission & Enrollment Management, Thacher Montessori School
  • Julaine McInnis, Chief Finance & Operations Officer, Thayer Academy
  • Ben Niles, Head, Tremont School
  • Seth Tower, Business, Marketing & Communications Director, Tremont School
  • Jane Segale, Chief Financial Officer, Walnut Hill School for the Arts
  • Sarah Pelmas, Head, The Winsor School
  • Karen Geromini, Acting Chief Operating Officer, The Winsor School
  • Sue Kim, Chief Advancement Officer, The Winsor School
  • Pamela McLaurin, Director of Admission & Financial Aid, The Winsor School


Heads of School are invited to participate with your teams for Wednesday's program as AISNE's complimentary guests. Heads must register with their teams, here. Thank you!

Overnight Rooms:

AISNE is providing a preferred rate at The Westin Waltham Boston. Reserve here.

Business Leadership 2019 is generously sponsored by: