Governance Conference

Registration is closed.

November 2, 2017
Four Points Sheraton, Norwood, MA

Developed for experienced and new trustees of independent schools, the Annual Governance Conference brings together leaders from across the AISNE network. Join us to enhance your school's governance practices!


9:00 am - 10:00 am
Morning Keynote
David A. Greene, President, Colby College
"Building a Culture of Possibility"

10:15 am - 11:15 am
Morning Breakout Sessions - A

11:15 am - 11:30 am • Break

11:30 am - 12:30 pm
Morning Breakout Sessions - B

12:30 - 1:30 pm • Networking Lunch

1:30 - 2:30 pm
Afternoon Breakout Sessions - C

2:45 pm - 3:30 pm
Panel Discussion: Where mission, innovation and financial sustainability intersect.

Registered is closed

Breakout Session Descriptions

Breakout Session A: 10:15 - 11:15 am

A1: Board Chair-Head Partnership:
Lessons Learned during Transition
In this session, the Head of the Rashi School and the school’s immediate past president will share reflections on their two years of partnership including building strong, trusting, honest relationships; the board chair's role in managing the board; challenges to anticipate in bringing on a new Head of School; anticipating board chair transition; navigating boundaries and other voices.

Mallory Rome, Head of School, Rashi School
Kathy Fromm Cohen, PhD, Immediate Past Board President, Rashi School

A2: The Trustee's Role in Fundraising:
Solicitation Savvy, Fearless Fundraising

Fundraising is a core responsibility of every member of the Board. In this session, we review the essentials of school philanthropy and uncover strategies designed to involve all board members in the fundraising process. We’ll explore a three-tiered approach that can help even the most reluctant volunteers overcome “solicitation paralysis.” Whether your school is looking to move its annual fund to new heights or is actively engaged in a capital or major gifts campaign, the ability to make THE ASK – appropriately and persuasively – is key.

Starr Snead, Advancement Connections

A3: Long-Term Sustainability:
Assessment and Planning

This session will utilize the TSNE Mission Works assessment model to help attendees understand the board's role in stewarding the long-term sustainability of the school. This model provides a framework for identifying key factors related to risk, resilience and adaptability. We will also discuss the opportunities available when sustainability planning is approached in a proactive and developmental frame. Attendees will utilize a Sustainability Assessment tool which may then be shared with their boards and senior leadership to initiate sustainability planning considerations.

Stewart Lanier, Senior Consultant, Third Sector New England

A4: Corporate Partner Session
Contracts And Compensation For The Head Of School:
Tips, Traps And Best Practices

In this presentation, Brian Carlson will provide independent schools with an overview of the Head of School contract process – both initial and renewal contracts. He will outline the key terms to include in Head of School employment agreements, benchmarking requirements and best practices, address rebuttable presumption obligations, and also review current trends in benefits being provided to Heads. Brian will review best practices and legal requirements for faculty housing arrangements, including housing guidelines and an analysis of the tax consequences of conferring this benefit. Real world examples of legal disputes between schools and Heads will be discussed and used as learning opportunities.

Brian D. Carlson, Partner, Schwartz Hannum PC

A5: A Conversation with
David A. Greene, President, Colby College

Breakout Session B - 11:30 am - 12:30 pm

B1: Governance 101: Independent School Trusteeship Essentials
Bruce Shaw, Former Head of School, Bruce Shaw Consulting

Joining an independent school board can be a confusing experience. None of us are trained to be effective board members and most trustees, coming from professions other than education, have only untested assumptions about what strong school leadership should be. This session will focus on the basics of trusteeship in an independent school. It is designed to examine closely the fiduciary and strategic roles that trustees are expected to play, how to negotiate the conflicts of interest that can arise, and how to keep a long-term focus while making certain that school operations – the province of the faculty and administration – are running as they should.

B2: Capital Campaigns and Major Gifts:
Trustees and transformational philanthropy

What does it take to reel in capital and/or major gifts? Join this session to learn how to cultivate and steward donors for maximum return on investment. Drawing on anecdotal information and trend data, we’ll examine what motivates donors to give significant gifts to our schools and how trustees can play a part in developing strategies that tap into those transformational gifts. We’ll look at “major gift mechanics” including conducting a campaign readiness assessment; the difference(s) between annual, capital and major gift programs; and the role of trustees to move this important work forward.

Starr Snead, Advancement Connections

B3: Head of School Transitions: The Board's Pivotal Role
Stewart Lanier, Senior Consultant, Third Sector New England

The Board plays an essential role is preparing for and managing a transition at the Head of School level. In some scenarios the board has the luxury of time, while in other situations the transition is more imminent. This session will cover the management of the executive transition process from the assembling of the search committee, through the Prepare, Search and Post-Hire phases. The roles of the consultant and search committee will be reviewed. We will also identify factors at play in determining whether your school could benefit from an interim leader and how to manage the departure of a long-serving head of school.

B4: Corporate Partner Session - Windover Construction
Seeing Is Believing: Virtual Reality Changing the Face of Capital Campaigns
Amr Raafat, Director of Virtual Design & Construction

The power of visualization can be influential when trying to capture the heart and minds of those who support your academic mission. An innovation which has truly shaken up how we do things in the construction world, Virtual Reality (VR) can also be a game changer for academic institutions. With the ability to create 3D realistic renderings and 4D animations, VR technology creates a special experience that goes beyond traditional drawings. Utilizing the Oculus Rift, individuals are provided an immersive experience that allows them to visualize their project and make real-time changes to materials and design. Adding an interactive timeline to these 4D animations also enables owners to visualize site conditions and progress of their project during all construction phases. For academic institutions this is revolutionary! Donors, faculty, staff, students can now use these tools to better understand the vision of your capital campaign and see how it will change over time! Imagine virtually walking through a new space that hasn’t even been built yet? Wow! And that is exactly what you will experience when you incorporate VR into your capital campaign tool box. Participants in this session will learn and explore the value of Virtual Reality; how VR can help make a direct impact on strategic marketing effectiveness; how to incorporate VR into the academic experience; and finally a live demo for attendees to experience the power of VR first-hand.

Breakout Session C - 1:30 pm-2:30 pm

C1: Governance 101: Independent School Trusteeship Essentials

Joining an independent school board can be a confusing experience. None of us are trained to be effective board members and most trustees, coming from professions other than education, have only untested assumptions about what strong school leadership should be. This session will focus on the basics of trusteeship in an independent school. It is designed to examine closely the fiduciary and strategic roles that trustees are expected to play, how to negotiate the conflicts of interest that can arise, and how to keep a long-term focus while making certain that school operations – the province of the faculty and administration – are running as they should.

Bruce Shaw, Former Head of School, Bruce Shaw Consulting

C2: Current Legal Issues and Trends for Independent Schools
Julie Fay, Shipman & Goodwin

This session will provide an overview of hot legal topics impacting independent schools including social media, transgender students, ADA, sexual misconduct, and updates on recent policy changes and their impacts. Part of our discussion will include a review of key federal policy changes and their impact on transgender students and the handling of allegations of sexual assault on school campuses, as well as trends in the area of the ADA and student accommodations. Mandated reporting and the evolving standards related to employee background checks and references will also be covered, within the context of recent student sexual assault cases. Finally, this session will provide an update on legal issues concerning overtime regulations and field trips, as well as coverage of important policy considerations in the areas of social media, communications with students, and best practices related to professional boundaries.

C3: International Student Enrollment Trends:
Opportunities and Challenges

Independent schools have experienced staggering growth in international student enrollment over the past ten years. Fast forward to today and things are changing. One thing is true, however, international enrollments impact independent schools greatly. The implications for mission and bottom line are significant, providing both challenges and extraordinary opportunities for the independent school community. Join this presentation to learn about trends in international student enrollment and to hear from an independent school about their experiences with international student programs.

Ioana Suciu Wheeler, Director of Global Initiatives, NAIS
Jennifer O'Connor, Director, Office of Services for International Students, Lawrence Academy

Closing Panel Discussion: Where mission, innovation and financial sustainability intersect.

2:45pm -3:30pm

John Gulla, Executive Director of the E.E. Ford Foundation

Ari Betof, Head of BU Academy and lecturer at University of Pennsylvania's Graduate School of Education

Innovation in our schools is not an option - it's an imperative. But how do we let go of some long-held beliefs when they no longer serve our schools well and how might we re-conceive some traditional practices to help our schools thrive in the current economic and cultural context? And how do we use mission as a compass, not an anchor, to guide progress? Join us for a lively discussion with John Gulla, and Ari Betof to consider some of the hardest - but most interesting and important - questions school leaders and trustees face today.


  • Content

Registration is closed

AISNE Member: $225 per person. $195 per person when three or more people register at the same time from the same school.

Non-AISNE Member: $350 per person.

Refund Policy:
A 50% refund will be issued when cancellations are received on or before Oct. 19th.

No refunds will be issued for cancellations received after Oct. 19th.

Substitutions are always accepted.

AISNE Thanks Our Corporate Sponsors!





David A. Greene

As Colby College’s 20th president since 2014, David A. Greene has been executing an ambitious program for ensuring Colby’s place among the world’s finest liberal arts colleges. Colby, long an innovator in higher education, is distinctive in the ways it connects the liberal arts to the world. The investments underway are designed to enhance Colby’s intellectual culture, which is defined by the rigor of its academic programs and its commitment to diversity and inclusion. Current projects in support of those goals include expanding resources for and the ranks of the faculty, strategic partnerships to broaden opportunities for students, and major facilities projects to support educational and campus life programs.

Among facilities projects underway and in planning are a major arts and innovation center, a completely new athletic complex, and a downtown apartment complex for students and faculty. Colby recently completed construction on a center to support global, research, internship, and postgraduate experiences for students and a first-in-NESCAC baseball and softball complex featuring separate artificial turf fields. New state-of-the-art fields for soccer, field hockey, lacrosse, and rugby will be completed for the 2017-18 academic year.

Recognizing that a vibrant downtown Waterville is critical to both the region and to Colby, Greene has worked with city leaders to make downtown revitalization a priority. The College’s early action, including the redevelopment of key properties downtown, has spurred additional private investment in real estate and economic activity on and around Main Street, notably a plan by CGI Group Inc., to create 200 technology jobs in Waterville. Colby is working to develop a boutique hotel downtown and is currently constructing an apartment complex on Main Street for students and faculty focused on civic engagement and community partnership.

A major priority in his administration has been to advance the College’s efforts around diversity and inclusion and investment in programs to increase its global focus. Greene led the creation of DavisConnects, an innovative program that guarantees funded global experiences for Colby students and supports internships and research opportunities through partnerships with corporations and nonprofit and civic organizations. Partnerships also support the Colby Labs, a new initiative Greene spearheaded to create multidisciplinary connections around major global challenges and to facilitate funded internships, research, and global experiences for students.

Greene has led outreach efforts to communicate the value and impact of a Colby education, which resulted in more than doubling the number of students seeking admission to Colby in the past three years. These efforts produced the most academically prepared and diverse classes in the College’s history. Colby has realized exceptional support for its programs, setting institutional records for funds raised over the past two consecutive years.

Before arriving at Colby, Greene was executive vice president of the University of Chicago and, prior to that, served in leadership roles at Brown University and Smith College. At the University of Chicago he led high-priority initiatives including revitalization of community and commercial areas in Hyde Park, near the university’s campus; a master plan to support $3 billion in infrastructure improvements and expansion including residence halls, research buildings, clinical care facilities, and art centers; an affiliation with the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole and establishment of the Becker Friedman Institute for Research in Economics; and development of new research and teaching centers in Chicago, New Delhi, and Beijing.

Greene received a bachelor’s degree in history from Hamilton College and a master’s degree in human development and psychology from Harvard University before earning a master’s and a doctoral degree in education and social policy at Harvard. In addition to the economics of education, his research interests include social and political movements and their influence on individuals and institutions.

Kathy Fromm Cohen

Kathleen Fromm Cohen, PhD, is a Clinical Psychologist and experienced nonprofit board president who serves on several non-profit board committees. She works as an Executive Coach helping nonprofit executives and trustees become more focused, efficient, collaborative and effective. She can be reached at

Julie Fay

Julie represents both public and independent schools in a variety of general education and special education law matters, with a particular focus on issues relating to students, confidentiality, school governance and policy. Having worked at an independent school as a teacher, coach and dorm parent, Julie brings valuable insight to her legal practice representing independent schools. Julie frequently advises independent schools on matters such as school investigations, student discipline, mandated reporting obligations, and compliance with federal and state law. In working with independent school clients, Julie assists in the development of enrollment contracts; employment agreements; school policies and handbooks for faculty, employees and students, and she works collaboratively with other members of the firm to provide educational institutions with comprehensive legal services.

John Gulla

John Gulla became the President of the EE Ford Foundation in July 2013. From 1998-2012, he was Head of School of The Blake School in Minneapolis. Previously he held administrative positions at Riverdale Country School, Isidore Newman and Saint Ann’s. A native of Walpole, MA, John earned an undergraduate degree from Amherst College and an M.A. from Teacher’s College, Columbia University. He currently Chairs the Board of the Fund for Teachers and has been involved in many other non-profits. He and his wife, Andrea, live in New York City.

Stewart Lanier

Stewart Lanier is an organizational development and executive transition specialist. He has worked with numerous Third Sector New England clients over the last eight years, leading executive searches, serving as an interim executive, leading strategic planning and organizational assessment processes.

He has provided a wide range of consulting and interim leadership services to nonprofits, community and faith-based organizations for over 20 years. Stewart holds a Master of Science degree with distinction from American University’s NTL program in Organizational Development, as well as the M.Div. from Candler School of Theology, Emory University. He is a United Methodist pastor, and maintains his ordination in good standing in the New England Conference of that denomination. Stewart is a member of the White People Challenging Racism facilitator group and co-facilitates this anti-racism class at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education and other locations each year.

Jennifer O'Connor

Jennifer O’Connor works at Lawrence Academy in Groton, Massachusetts, a co-ed college preparatory high school that has both boarding and day students.

She currently serves as the PDSO, the Director of Services for International Students, and has served as the director of the ESL program and the language department chair.

Jennifer’s family moved to Puerto Rico when she was three years old, and that background sparked her interest in other languages and countries. After studying Russian and French at Penn, she returned home to the island and began teaching English at a bilingual college preparatory school. Later, she returned to the mainland to study for her M.A.T. from the School for International Training in Vermont. Three students from that program including Jennifer started the summer ESL program at Fay School in Massachusetts. Between summers at Fay, she taught Spanish in a private Catholic high school in Boston. Three years later, she began teaching ESL and Spanish at Lawrence Academy. This year Jennifer’s roles include working as the chair of the language department. She has been a dorm parent, advisor and coach while at LA.

Jennifer has presented workshops and sessions at conferences with ACTFL, NAFSA Region XI, SSATB, and TABS. She currently serve as a K-12 resource with NAFSA Region XI’s Government Regulations Advisory Committee (GRAC).

Mallory Rome

Mallory Rome is in her third year as Head of School at The Rashi School in Dedham, Mass. She has spent more than twenty years as a teacher and administrator in independent schools in Sydney, Boston, and San Francisco.

Bruce Shaw

Bruce Shaw has taught and led in independent schools for over forty years. Most recently, he was the Director of Shady Hill School in Cambridge, MA (1994-2010). Prior to that, he headed Marin Academy in San Rafael, CA (1984-1994). He has been an independent consultant since 2010.

Bruce has extensive planning and governance experience, including chairing the board of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS). He has had broad involvement mentoring heads of school as a faculty member of NAIS's Institute for New Heads and for the past several years has been mentoring new heads in AISNE.

Starr Snead

Starr Snead is the founder and principal of Advancement Connections, a firm dedicated to serving advancement professionals and volunteers in schools throughout the United States and internationally. Based in Charleston, South Carolina, Advancement Connections provides fundraising, constituency relations, marketing/enrollment, strategic planning and communications services exclusively to PS-12 schools. Prior to Advancement Connections, Starr was the executive director of the Advancement Program Council (APC) in Washington, DC.

Ioana Suciu Wheeler

As the Director of Global Initiatives at the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), in Washington, DC, Ioana Suciu Wheeler develops partnerships, resources, programs, and best practices related to global education and international student programs. Additionally, she provides thought-leadership and keeps abreast of new global trends that affect independent schools. Ioana manages the work of the NAIS Global Ambassadors Advisory Working Group and liaises with The Association of Boarding Schools to deliver the TABS-NAIS Global Symposium. To read more about NAIS’s global and international student initiatives, visit

Ioana has presented workshops and sessions at various national and international conferences and she participated in the Student Exchange Visitors Program (SEVP) Local Users’ Group from January 2014 to August 2017, attending monthly meetings related to SEVIS and F-1 visa regulations at SEVP headquarters.

Ioana joined the staff of NAIS in 2001, working with the Strategic Initiatives, Information, and Research Team before joining the Global Initiatives Team in February 2005. Prior to NAIS, she served as a News Photo Intern at Agence France Presse and as Program Assistant for the U.S. – Romania Action Commission at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC, where she conducted research on various issues related to Romania and Eastern Europe.

Ioana studied at Universite de Paris - Sorbonne as part of the World Capitals study abroad program, where she also interned at Citibank Paris. She holds a B.A. in International Relations and an M.A. in Journalism and Public Affairs from American University in Washington, DC and has completed an online global education course called “Teaching Leadership for Global Issues” at the School of International Training in Brattleboro, VT.

Ari Betof

Ari M. Betof, Ed.D. is head of Boston University Academy. He was previously head of school at New Garden Friends School (Greensboro, NC) and director of institutional advancement at George School (Newtown, PA). Ari began his teaching career at Northfield Mount Hermon School (Northfield, MA) where he taught physics and math, coached varsity soccer and tennis, and was a dorm parent.

Ari is a lecturer in University of Pennsylvania’s Mid-Career Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership and in the Penn GSE School Leadership Master’s Program. He is also a faculty member in the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) School Leadership Institute.

Amr Raafat

Amr serves as the Director of Virtual Design & Construction at Windover Construction. As both an architect and an expert in Virtual Design & Construction (VDC), Amr brings over 14 years of design and construction expertise to Windover. As Director of VDC, he utilizes state-of the-art technology in Construction Visualization, combining engineering expertise, Building Information Modeling (BIM), MEP Coordination and art techniques to create 4D animations and 3D realistic renderings to assist our project teams and clients in managing project changes during preconstruction, and visualize all phases of construction using the latest technology.

Amr holds a Master in Architecture from the Boston Architectural College, Boston, MA

Brian D. Carlson

Brian D. Carlson is a Partner at Schwartz Hannum PC, a law firm based in Andover, MA, representing more than 250 educational institutions throughout the United States. The Firm has 12 lawyers, 6 of whom are dedicated to the Firm’s education practice. Schwartz Hannum’s Education Practice Group provides comprehensive guidance to the full spectrum of school and education clients and is a strategic partner to educational institutions looking to promote a positive learning environment and resolve workplace issues. Brian received his law degree from Harvard Law School,cum laude, and his undergraduate degree from Williams College in Philosophy and Political Science, magna cum laude. Brian handles numerous matters for independent schools and other educational institutions, including education-related litigation, student and parent handbooks, enrollment agreements, disciplinary issues, and student policies. In addition, Brian assists schools and other non-profit organizations with matters such as employment agreements, compensation benchmarking, and governance issues.