Deep Dives

Monday, 1:15 pm - 2:30 pm

  • Leading with Purpose through a Pandemic

    Executive Leadership

    Hear from the head of school and CFOO of Western Reserve Academy, who both quickly realized that a pandemic posed challenges as well as opportunities. Learn about some of the many initiatives WRA put in place, including community outreach, purposeful positive messaging, strategic planning, scholarship creation, and advocating for legislation helpful to reopen school. Learn how this approach and style of thinking can become the model for other initiatives post pandemic.

    Tom Arnold

    Thomas P. Arnold, MBA

    Chief Financial and Operating Officer, Western Reserve Academy

    Tom Arnold brings professional expertise in business operations from experience in both higher education and independent schools. Arnold earned an MBA at Robert Morris University and worked there and at Chatham University before serving as vice president for finance and administration at Shady Side Academy. In 2014, he joined Western Reserve Academy in Hudson, Ohio. Arnold’s experience in strategic planning balances best practices in long term fiscal sustainability and providing resources for the daily operations of an active boarding school community.

    Suzanne Walker Buck

    Suzanne Walker Buck

    Head of School, Western Reserve Academy

    Suzanne Walker Buck is the head of school at Western Reserve Academy in Hudson, Ohio. She holds two master’s degrees: one in clinical social work from Columbia University and another in education from Harvard University. Buck began her career at Westminster School as an admissions counselor, dorm parent and field hockey and lacrosse coach. She has since held posts at Fay School, New Hampton School, and most recently as the rector (head of school) at Chatham Hall in Chatham, Virginia. There she increased enrollment by 36% in four years, added significant tuition revenue, increased annual giving by 14% and developed a bold strategic plan. Buck serves on the boards of The Association of Boarding Schools and the Enrollment Management Association.

Monday, 3:00 pm - 4:15 pm

  • Association CEOs Futurecasting

    Leading Independent School Innovation

    Executive Leadership

    The CEOs of each of the five major national (international) associations serving independent schools will discuss how we can apply lessons learned from both the past year and the previous crisis of this century — the Great Recession. Facilitated by NBOA president and CEO, Jeff Shields, the conversation will focus on strategies to grow stronger and lay a more sustainable future for our school communities. With strong relationships, an open mind, an eye toward innovation and awareness of key financial issues, we can successfully prepare for both the knowns and the unknowns ahead.

    Sue Cunningham

    Sue Cunningham

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

    Sue Cunningham is president and CEO of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), which supports 3,400 schools, colleges and universities worldwide in their alumni relations, communications, fundraising and marketing functions to advance their institutions. Prior to CASE, Cunningham was vice-principal for advancement at the University of Melbourne and the director of development for the University of Oxford. She has also served as director of development at Christ Church, Oxford, and as director of external relations at St. Andrews University. She is an Honorary Fellow of the Melbourne Graduate School of Education and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. Cunningham was awarded a master’s degree from the University of Oxford and a bachelor’s degree from Middlesex University.

    Heather Hoerle

    Heather Hoerle

    Executive Director and CEO, Enrollment Management Association (EMA)

    Heather Hoerle is the executive director and chief executive officer of The Enrollment Management Association, a nonprofit membership association serving independent school enrollment and admission leaders through the best science, research and training. A thought leader in enrollment management, Hoerle personally led the charge for the professionalization of the admission and enrollment professional, demanding that industry colleagues mobilize to reposition the work of enrollment management as both strategic and foundational to institutional success. Her career began in independent schools as an administrator, student advisor and teacher then embarked on a successful 23-year tenure in leadership roles with The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS) and eventually serving as a vice president at The National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS).

    Donna Orem

    Donna Orem

    President, National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS)

    Donna Orem was named president of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) in November 2016. NAIS provides services to more than 1,800 schools and associations of schools in the United States and abroad, including 1,500 nonprofit, private K-12 schools in the U.S. Before becoming president, Orem served as the chief operating officer, vice president for educational leadership, and vice president for strategic initiatives and research at NAIS. Prior to joining NAIS, she served as the vice president for products and services development at the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) and as associate director for The American Association of University Women (AAUW). Orem speaks frequently about leadership, governance, trends in independent education, and workforce development and is the author of numerous books and articles.

    Jeff Shields

    Jeffrey Shields, FASAE, CAE

    President and CEO, National Business Officers Association (NBOA)

    Jeff Shields, FASAE, CAE, has served as president and CEO of the National Business Officers Association (NBOA) for over ten years. NBOA is the premier national association serving the needs of business officers and business operations staff at independent schools. The association has grown from 23 founding member schools in 1998 to over 1,300 U.S. member schools, plus member schools in Mexico, Canada and 20 other countries around the globe. Shields, an active member of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), is a member of the 2008 Class of ASAE Fellows (FASAE) and has earned the Certified Association Executive (CAE) designation. He currently serves as a member of ASAE’s board of directors as well as a trustee for the Enrollment Management Association (EMA). Previously, he served as a trustee for One Schoolhouse, an innovative online school offering supplemental education to independent schools, and Georgetown Day School in Washington, DC. He holds a B.A. from Shippensburg University and an M.A. from The Ohio State University.

    Pete Upham

    Pete Upham

    Executive Director, The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS)

    Upham has been executive director of The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS) since 2007. Early in his career, he spent 13 years in boarding school administration and teaching, and six as assistant head of School at Asheville School in North Carolina. Before his appointment at TABS, Upham was the owner and principal of CWJ Consulting, a firm assisting schools, educational organizations and nonprofits in the areas of strategy, advancement and planning. His current professional and scholarly interests include educational leadership, institutional risk management, workplace learning, organizational culture and change, analytics and total resource development. Upham is also a published poet. He was educated at Hotchkiss School, completed undergraduate studies at UNC-Chapel Hill and earned his M.S.Ed. from the University of Pennsylvania, where he is currently completing his doctoral dissertation.

Monday, 3:00 pm - 4:15 pm

  • Judgment and Decision-Making via Scenario Forecasting

    Action Planning for the Future in Uncertain Times

    Executive Leadership

    Foresight is the practice of predicting and planning for the future. For it to have practical value in strategic planning, organizational leaders need a straightforward and structured process through which they can guide their team. This session will teach you how to develop scenario forecasts using a five-step process. It begins with an analysis of external forces that could affect your organization and ends with specific, actionable recommendations to minimize risk and maximize future opportunities.

    Jennifer Hillen

    Jennifer O. Hillen, CPA, CGMA

    Chief Learning Officer, NBOA

    Jennifer Osland Hillen, CPA, CGMA, is NBOA's chief learning officer. She serves as a strategic partner to the president and CEO and leads the staff team charged with delivering the association’s broad and diverse portfolio of programs, industry guidance and resources to members and constituents. She serves on the NBOA Board of Directors’ Diversity, Equity and Inclusion task force and leads NBOA’s volunteer Business Officers Council, in addition to providing content expertise on finance, accounting, tax and other matters of import to independent school practitioners and leaders. Hillen also serves on the teaching faculty for the Master of Education in Independent School Leadership program at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College. She previously worked at Harpeth Hall School and for Ernst & Young, LLP. Hillen serves on the boards of the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, Renewal House and the Junior League of Nashville, of which she is immediate past president.

    Patrick Schuermann

    Patrick Schuermann, Ed.D.

    Faculty, Peabody College of Vanderbilt University

    Patrick J. Schuermann is an assistant professor of the practice of educational leadership and public policy at Peabody College of Vanderbilt University. Schuermann has authored numerous articles, commissioned reports and books on leadership, including “Successful School Leadership: Planning, Politics, Performance and Power,” and most recently, “Data Fluency,” a practical text on effective data communication. Schuermann served as the founding co-editor of the Oxford Encyclopedia of Education Online and in 2014 won an Emmy Award for Best Educational Piece for his documentary “A Matter of Principles,” on effective school leadership He created and directs the Master’s in Independent School Leadership program at Peabody College and directs Vanderbilt’s leadership development program in Abu Dhabi. He contributes to a Gates Foundation project studying how teacher effectiveness data impacts critical human capital decisions and has developed several related policy manuals and tools. He previously worked in public policy and as an educator at elementary, middle and high school levels.

    Andy Van Schaack

    Andy Van Schaack, Ph.D

    Professor, Vanderbilt University

    Andy Van Schaack, Ph.D. is a professor at Vanderbilt University with appointments in the Peabody College of Education and the School of Engineering. He teaches courses in social science research methods, judgment and analytical reasoning, and technology forecasting. He founded and served as chief scientist for several Silicon Valley-based companies,where he earned over a dozen patents. In 2017, he was the recipient of the Madison Sarratt Prize for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, which is Vanderbilt’s teacher of the year award. Van Schaack holds a bachelor’s degree in instructional psychology and a doctorate in instructional technology from Utah State University.

Tuesday, Noon - 1:15 pm

  • From Gatekeepers to Keymakers

    Utilizing our Recruitment, Hiring, and Retention Practices to Build the Communities We Need

    Human Resources

    How do we utilize equity and inclusion practices as assets and opportunity makers towards reshaping and transforming our schools? Our missions ask us to create and sustain diverse, equitable, and inclusive institutions. This session will explore the role human resources professionals can play in furthering equity work.

    Brandie Melendez

    Brandie Melendez, M.S.Ed, SPHR

    Director of Equity and Inclusion, The Berkeley Carroll School

    Melendez is a nationally recognized equity practitioner exploring the intersections of identity, systems, and creating more equitable and inclusive learning and working environments. She currently serves as the Director of Equity and Inclusion at The Berkeley Carroll School in Brooklyn, NY. Her work builds and sustains efforts to strive toward living their mission of the school to prepare students for “…a life of critical, ethical, and global thinking”. She has led anti-racist and anti-bias curriculum development, hiring and retention efforts, adult and student programming, policy creation, board engagement as well as teaching equity and justice centered courses. Brandie is an Oliver Scholar Alumna, a graduate of the Horace Mann School and holds an M.S.Ed in School Leadership from The University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education.

Tuesday, 1:30 pm - 2:45 pm

  • Building a Culture That Can Innovate from the Bottom Up

    Executive Leadership

    Innovation is not about the "new" idea but is about taking a current concern and identifying how to address the issue in a way that genuinely satisfies a customer’s needs. School leaders find it difficult to embrace the principle that everyone can innovate. How do you empower those around you who don’t believe they can innovate? Explore case studies from institutions that have built this inclusive way of operating.

    Howard Teibel

    Howard Teibel

    President, Teibel Education Consulting

    As the founder of Teibel Education Consulting, Howard Teibel works with administrators and academics to cultivate exceptional teamwork in support of their shared mission. As a public speaker and writer for numerous education associations, Teibel contributes to the national discourse on emerging trends in the industry. Additionally, his podcast “Navigating Change” has brought leaders together for the past ten years to discuss innovations and new practices that can transform how teams in academia and business work together. Teibel is passionate about guiding school business leaders to create constructive discourse on regional and global issues facing our country.

Wednesday, 11:30 am - 12:45 pm

  • Effective Financial Governance for Independent School Trustees

    Executive Leadership

    Every independent school trustee must effectively steward the school by fulfilling their fiduciary role, and the board’s partnerships with the head of school and business officer are critical. This session, supported by a new publication from NBOA and its authors, Ron Salluzzo and Phil Tahey, will foster a deeper level of fiduciary stewardship and financial governance. Trustees will enhance their understanding of the multi-faceted independent school business model and complex drivers impacting it, and ask the right questions to inform more strategic discussion. School leaders will learn how best to report information to ensure financial stewardship and long-term sustainability.

    Linda Dennison

    Linda Dennison, MS Ed, CPA

    Director of Finance and Comptroller, Phillips Academy

    Dennison is currently the director of finance and comptroller for Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. Previously, Dennison served as deputy head of school and chief financial officer for Indian Creek School, where she played a critical role in negotiating the sale of one campus and the redesign of the remaining campus. She also created and implemented a flexible tuition model that stabilized enrollment and increased net tuition revenue. Dennison has served Baltimore Lab School as the director of finance and operations and NBOA as the director of consulting services.

    Jennifer Hillen

    Jennifer O. Hillen, CPA, CGMA

    Chief Learning Officer, NBOA

    Jennifer Osland Hillen, CPA, CGMA, is NBOA's chief learning officer. She serves as a strategic partner to the president and CEO and leads the staff team charged with delivering the association’s broad and diverse portfolio of programs, industry guidance and resources to members and constituents. She serves on the NBOA Board of Directors’ Diversity, Equity and Inclusion task force and leads NBOA’s volunteer Business Officers Council, in addition to providing content expertise on finance, accounting, tax and other matters of import to independent school practitioners and leaders. Hillen also serves on the teaching faculty for the Master of Education in Independent School Leadership program at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College. She previously worked at Harpeth Hall School and for Ernst & Young, LLP. Hillen serves on the boards of the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, Renewal House and the Junior League of Nashville, of which she is immediate past president.

    Ron Salluzzo

    Ron Salluzzo

    Partner Emeritus, Attain’s Education, Nonprofits and Commercial Services

    Ron Salluzzo is a partner emeritus in the higher education practice at Attain, where he was responsible for strategic financial services and enterprise risk services. He has served professional services organizations for more than 45 years. A senior partner at KPMG, he was national industry leader for higher education and other not-for-profit organizations, and he has also served as chief financial officer and chief risk officer for public companies. Salluzzo has served on more than 15 boards throughout his career, and currently serves on the board of trustees at Stevens Institute of Technology and on the advisory board of the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester. He is the co-author of several books, including “Effective Financial Governance for Independent School Trustees,” published by NBOA in 2020.

    Phil Tahey

    Phil Tahey, CPA

    Owner, P. Tahey, CPA

    Phil Tahey is an independent consultant with more than 40 years of experience in the not-for-profit community, with particular expertise in higher education institutions. He has served this community in various roles, including consultant, auditor and controller at Johns Hopkins University. Tahey has served preschool-grade12 private schools as a board member, finance committee member and financial advisor. He is the co-author of several books, including “Effective Financial Governance for Independent School Trustees,” published by NBOA in 2020, and several editions of “Strategic Financial Analysis in Higher Education,” which is the source publication for the Composite Financial Index (CFI).

Wednesday, 1:00 pm - 2:15 pm

  • Advancing Business Excellence in Independent Schools

    Business Operations

    The business officer’s job is multifaceted, so no one knows it all, but a smart independent school leader knows where to find answers. Learn about the powerful resources NBOA offers to support schools as well as the latest analysis from our custom data collection and analysis platform: Business Intelligence for Independent Schools (BIIS, pronounced “biz”), including the just-released 2020 Financial State of the Industry report. Additional recently released or updated tools available to support your school’s operational performance and financial position will be shared, including: the interactive 2nd edition of Practical Guidance for Independent School Business Operations; the NBOA Financial Dashboard for Independent Schools; and the Composite Financial Index (CFI) Calculator. This session will also feature an opportunity to hear from NBOA in-house content experts and connect with peers from across the industry.

    Elizabeth Dabney

    Elizabeth Dabney

    Director, Research and Data Analysis, NBOA

    As director, research and data analysis, Dabney leads the development, planning and management of industry research collected in NBOA’s Business Intelligence for Independent Schools (BIIS, pronounced “biz”) platform, in addition to other research activities, in support of NBOA’s mission to inform members and other external stakeholders and encourage data-driven decision making throughout the independent school community. With more than 15 years of research experience, Dabney most recently directed research at the Data Quality Campaign, a nonprofit education policy and advocacy organization and the nation’s leading voice on education data policy and use. Dabney earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology from New York University, and she currently serves as an alumni mentor at NYU’s DC campus.

    James Palmieri

    James Palmieri, Ed.D

    Executive Vice President, NBOA

    James Palmieri is the executive vice president at NBOA. In this role, Palmieri serves as a partner to the President and CEO in carrying out strategic initiatives as directed by the NBOA strategic plan, and he supports program and product expansion in partnership with members of the senior staff. He supervises the Communications and Research team, which produces Net Assets Magazine and manages the Business Intelligence for Independent Schools (BIIS) data platform. Prior to NBOA, Palmieri served as assistant head of school at Trinity Hall, where he began his work as a founding consultant and the school's first employee, and had primary responsibility for school finance, facilities and business operations. Previously, Palmieri served as director of strategic initiatives and faculty at Kent Place School. Additionally, Palmieri is currently president of the One Schoolhouse board of trustees.