Leading Change and Developing Culture

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Charles River School, Dover, MA
9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Presented and Facilitated by Gretchen Larkin and Maria LaTour Kadison


  • Registration, Networking and Breakfast: 9:00 - 9:45 a.m.
  • Welcome: Becky Biggs, AISNE: 9:45 a.m.
  • Making the Call: Leading Change Where Change is Needed with Gretchen Larkin: 9:45 - 11:15 a.m.
  • Networking Lunch: 11:15 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.
  • Leveraging Surveys and Data to Make More Informed Decisions and Affect Change with Maria LaTour Kadison: 12:15 - 1:45 p.m.
  • Reflections and Farewell: 1:45 - 2:00 p.m.

Register Here

Making the Call: Leading Change Where Change is Needed

Being head of school often means making the tough call, while also keeping true to the soul of your school. Join Gretchen Larkin, Head, Charles River School, for a candid conversation about her transition to headship and the process of applying her own leadership style and experiences to the circumstances she inherited with her community. Reflect on assessing situations, examining historical trends and data, and being inclusive. Trade ideas about making and standing by tough calls for the good of your school, while also nurturing spirits and morale, and building community.

Leveraging Surveys and Data to Make More Informed Decisions and Affect Change

Learn from Maria LaTour Kadison about the strategies she and her team at EdwardsCo use when partnering with independent schools to better understand the needs within a school's community. Subtle changes to a particular survey question allow feedback to be more quantitative than qualitative and empower schools to make more educated decisions about the directions you'll take. Reflect on how your school currently approaches surveying and learn new approaches to increase feedback value.

About Our Speakers

Gretchen Larkin joined Charles River School in 2014 as the 10th Head of School. Throughout her career, she has been an advocate for progressive, hands-on education. Gretchen believes passionately in honoring children as learners and creating a stimulating, safe environment that nurtures their curiosity, self-confidence, and academic growth.

Gretchen has nearly three decades of teaching and administrative experience in elementary and secondary schools. Prior to joining CRS, she served as the K-8 Assistant Principal and Head of Lower School at Milton Academy, where she also worked as the school’s founding K-8 Curriculum Coordinator overseeing curriculum design. Gretchen began her career as a middle school math, English, and history teacher, and also worked as a Lower School Reading and Learning Specialist and a PreK-8 Educational Coordinator. She has worked in independent schools in the Boston area for much of her career, including Dedham Country Day School, The Fay School, and The Advent School.

She serves on the Board of Directors for the Association for Independent Schools in New England (AISNE), and as co-chair of Greenwich Academy’s Boston Alumnae Chapter. Previously, she chaired the Education Committee for St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church and served as a board member for the Northeast Association of Learning Specialists.

A graduate of Greenwich Academy, Gretchen earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Lake Forest College and a Master of Arts in teaching from Manhattanville College. Outside of CRS, Gretchen enjoys reading, running, hiking, and traveling with her family – husband Bill, daughters Maisie and Lucy, and two dogs.

Maria LaTour Kadison is a trusted partner to senior leadership and trustees in independent boarding and day schools and higher education institutions across the country. Under her leadership, EdwardsCo has doubled in size while adding recruiting and retention services to its robust brand and creative strategy offering.

After a successful career in international strategy and marketing consulting, Maria sought more mission-driven work. Her education career began at Simmons College as the vice president for marketing where she led institutional branding, admissions marketing, and advancement communications for the undergraduate college and five graduate schools. Maria’s team is credited with doubling enrollment, increasing student quality, and reducing the discount rate at Simmons by 50% within four years.

Maria and her teams have won several CASE and other industry awards for the overhaul of marketing materials, multi-media marketing, and industry research and analysis.

Her love and appreciation for the work of independent schools began early—Maria is a graduate of the Wheeler School in Providence, RI. She also earned a BA from Emory University and an MBA and MA in international relations from Yale.