Deep Dives

Monday, February 20

10:30 am - 11:45 am

  • A Framework to Ignite School Leadership: Vision, Alignment, Execution

    The work of leaders is comprised of crafting a vision (where are we going?), building alignment (can I bring everyone along?), and championing execution (can we get there effectively and efficiently?). Learn how to apply a three-part leadership framework to your work and enhance the way you lead, both within your office and across your school. In this interactive session featuring leadership experts and a respected business officer, you will have a chance to explore these three essential leadership responsibilities and learn ways that leaders bring visions to life. Wherever you are on your leadership journey, you can benefit from learning this accessible and actionable framework that can help keep you on course, continuously improve your work as a leader, and catalyze confidence and commitment in others to join you on the journey.

    Susan Baldridge

    Susan Baldridge, Ph.D.

    Executive Director, The Association of Boarding Schools

    Susan Baldridge is the Executive Director of The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS). TABS delivers professional learning and strategic guidance, and convenes, energizes, and champions boarding schools in North America and around the world. Prior to her work with TABS, Susan served as a strategic consultant and advisor to schools and colleges. She also co-authored the book, The College Stress Test, an analysis of educational market data; the book was named one of the best books on higher education in 2020 by Forbes Magazine. Until 2018, she served as a professor and leader at Middlebury College for over 25 years, most recently as Executive Vice President and Provost. She received her B.S. from Denison University, and her M.A. and Ph.D. in social psychology from UCLA.

    Patrick Schuermann

    Patrick Schuermann, Ed.D.

    Independent School Leadership Consultant

    Patrick Schuermann is a school leadership consultant and a lead faculty member of the NBOA Leadership Academy, among many other research commitments. With over 25 years of experience cultivating leadership in individuals and organizations, Schuermann has authored numerous articles, commissioned reports and books on leadership, and won an Emmy Award for Best Educational Piece for his documentary “A Matter of Principals.” Schuermann founded the Peabody Professional Leadership Institutes at Vanderbilt University and directed the Independent School Leadership Master’s Program for eight years. In addition to these university-based initiatives, Schuermann has collaborated on the design and delivery of programs and resources in support of the independent school community with NBOA and a host of national and state associations.

    Alex Heiberger

    Alex Heiberger

    Chief Financial Officer, The Madeira School

    Alex Heiberger is the Chief Financial Officer of The Madeira School, an independent boarding and day school that educates girls in grades 9-12. Prior to this position he served as Associate Dean of Administration at the School of Nursing and Health Studies at Georgetown University. WIth a background that stems from a Masters in health services administration, his early career was spent in healthcare and hospital management roles ranging from the community hospital to large academic medical centers. Before entering the independent school community he held positions in higher education, hospital administration, managed care contracting, and biomedical research operations.

Monday, February 20

1:30 pm - 2:45 pm

  • Leading Into the Future: BIG IDEAS for Independent School Innovation

    Twenty-five independent school business leaders comprising the impressive 2022-23 NBOA Leadership Academy cohort have explored the biggest challenges facing independent schools and identified innovations in leadership, program, culture, finance, and operations to address them. Learn from their evidence-based research and case studies to envision and innovate toward a more sustainable future for your school. In this energetic, ignite-style session, you’ll hear about five BIG IDEAS related to culture and community, sustainable operations, rethinking the traditional school year, and more. Each group’s big idea will be accompanied by an executive report that includes implications, recommendations, and actionable next steps.

    The NBOA Leadership Academy develops current and future leaders in independent school business to help schools face their most pressing challenges. Special thanks to the 2022-23 Leadership Academy Mentors:

    • Palmer Ball, Assistant to the Head for Finance and Strategic Planning, St. Joseph's Catholic School, Greenville, SC
    • Nancy Greene, Vice President of Finance and Operations/CFO, Pine Crest School, Fort Lauderdale, FL
    • Donna Pacchioni, Retired CFO, Formerly Hawken School, Gates Mills, OH
    • Chuck McCullagh, Chief Financial Officer, The Williston Northampton School, Easthampton, MA
    • Jeffrey Shields, FASAE, CAE, President and CEO, National Business Officers Association (NBOA), Washington, DC

    Facilitated by:

    Jennifer Hillen

    Jennifer O. Hillen, CPA, CGMA

    Chief Learning Officer, National Business Officers Association

    Patrick Schuermann

    Patrick Schuermann, Ed.D.

    Independent School Leadership Consultant

Monday, February 20

3:00 pm - 4:15 pm

  • Ask An Attorney

    The business office manages a wide range of risks and legal issues. This session will cover what you need to know to know about the latest hot topics and give you the opportunity to ask your questions about the issues of concern to you. Learn to spot issues and develop strategies to reduce your school’s risk. Topics will be tailored to the independent school environment occurring in January and February of 2023.

    Grace Lee

    Grace H. Lee, JD

    Attorney, Venable, LLP

    Grace H. Lee is a partner at Venable LLP where she provides legal counsel and strategic guidance to independent schools on a broad range of legal issues including employee relations, student discipline and accommodation issues, safety and risk management, enrollment contracts, handbooks and policies, abuse prevention and investigations, board governance, and compliance with an ever-changing legal landscape. Grace works collaboratively with business officers, board members, human resources professionals, and heads of schools to advance the mission, priorities, and culture of institutions while meeting business needs and mitigating potential liability. Grace serves as legal counsel to the National Business Officers Association (NBOA), and previously served as NBOA's vice president, legal affairs. She is a contributer to NetAssets Magazine, a frequent presenter, and she co-authored the NBOA publication, Culture Meets Compliance: The NBOA Guide to Assessing Human Resources at Independent Schools. Grace draws from her wealth of experience to conduct training for independent school professionals on a broad range of topics, including effective hiring practices, performance management, appropriate boundaries with students, and prevention of harassment and discrimination.

    Linda Johnson

    Linda Johnson, JD

    Director, Chair of the Education Law Group, McLane Middleton Professional Association

    Linda Johnson, is a senior director and chair of the Education Law Group of the McLane Middleton law firm. Linda focuses her practice on understanding and serving the needs of K-12 independent day and boarding schools. For over 30 years, Linda has worked closely with heads of schools, school administrators, deans, financial officers, board chairs, trustees, and others. She advises her clients on all aspects of school operations including employment law, student discipline, contracts, fiduciary and tort law, policy and handbook development, leadership development, investigations, compliance audits, risk management, crisis response, and student safety. She is nationally recognized as an authority on student and campus safety issues, boundary awareness, risk avoidance, crisis response, employment law, and independent school law issues. She trains her clients on how to operate safely, how to recognize and address signs of inappropriate behavior, and how to respond to allegations of misconduct. Linda helps to guide schools to "do the right thing, the right way."

    Sarah Fay

    Sarah H. Fay, JD

    Partner, Schwartz Hannum PC

    Sarah H. Fay is a Partner at Schwartz Hannum PC and a member of the Education Practice Group. She works on a variety of general legal areas covering student and parent issues, employment matters, non-profit governance and crisis management. Sarah routinely advises the Firm’s education clients on best practices for admissions processes and enrollment contracts, responding to and investigating student interpersonal misconduct, disciplinary matters, health center audits, risk management strategies for off-campus trips, student records and confidentiality issues, and policies and practices for promoting an inclusive community. Sarah works closely with clients to develop policies that comply with applicable laws and reflect best practices, while ensuring to maintain the unique voice and culture of each school. As part of her practice, Sarah educates students and parents on healthy relationships, including the evolving definition of consent, bystander training, bullying and hazing, acceptable use of technology and social media, and other key issues students may confront. In addition, she provides training for faculty, staff and school administrators on topics ranging from professional boundaries, mandated reporting training, sexual assault, accommodating students with disabilities, and other pressing matters. Sarah is a 2008 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania where she was a Women’s Swimming and Diving Captain, and received her J.D., cum laude, in 2014 from New England Law, Boston, where she was a recipient of the New England Scholar Award. She is a member of the American Bar Association, the Boston Bar Association, and the Rhode Island Bar Association. Sarah was selected as a Massachusetts Super Lawyers® Rising Star in 2018 and in 2017. (978) 623-0900

    Michael Blacher

    Michael Blacher

    Partner, Liebert Cassidy Whitmore

    Michael Blacher, Partner Attorney in Liebert Cassidy Whitmore's Los Angeles office, is the Chair of the firm's Private Education Practice Group. He represents educational institutions in all aspects of labor, employment, and education law. Michael has successfully defended claims involving alleged harassment, discrimination and retaliation, disability accommodation, First Amendment, and alleged violation of wage and hour laws. Michael also advises educational institutions in Office of Civil Rights investigations and has handled a number of Title IX cases. Michael often advises boards on governance and other issues, including updates to bylaws. He works extensively on contractual matters such as employment and enrollment agreements as well as employee and student handbooks. Michael also represents clients during arbitrations and administrative hearings. A frequent presenter, Michael has provided a number of individualized trainings for schools, such as AB 1825 training. He also regularly presents at the California Association of Independent Schools (CAIS) Trustee/Head of School conference, the National Association of Independent School (NAIS) annual conference, and the National Business Officer (NBOA) annual meeting. He is one of the firm's most popular trainers. Prior to joining Liebert Cassidy Whitmore, Michael worked on documentary films, including the Academy Award winner, The Long Way Home. He also worked at the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles.

Tuesday, February 21

8:45 am - 10:00 am

  • Institutional Structures That Advance Belonging

    Schools understand the business case for DEIB and have taken great strides towards making their communities more diverse and inclusive, but there is still much work to be done. Join Dr. Valaida Wise for an interactive session, including case studies, which will help you discern the institutional structures that the business officers and other school leaders can influence and help put in place to advance belonging at schools.

    Valaida Wise

    Valaida L. Wise, Ed.D

    President and Principal Consultant, Dr. Valaida Wise Consulting, Inc.

    Dr. Valaida L. Wise (Val) is the President and principal consultant of her firm, Dr. Valaida Wise Consulting Inc. The firm supports schools and other organizations in the area of diversity, equity and inclusion, governance, and leadership. She is also a faculty member in the Graduate School of Education at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md where she teaches about diversity, equity, inclusion, and issues of social justice. A qualitative researcher, Dr. Wise’s research interest centers on exploring the lived experience of families of color in independent schools and the application of a broaching framework in organizations. An educator for more than 25 years, Dr. Wise has served as the Head of School of several independent schools in the Washington DC region. Dr. Wise is the chair of the board at the McLean School in Potomac, Maryland, and sits on the boards of the Nora School and the Sheridan School. Dr. Wise is also a board member of the Association of Independent Schools of Maryland and DC Schools (AIMS).

Tuesday, February 21

10:30 am - 11:45 am

  • Building New Social Practices for Stronger Teams

    When we are skilled in common workplace practices, such as closing the books or onboarding an employee, we don’t need to think about them. What if the practice of working productively together could be learned and performed in the same skillful and natural way? Being an effective team or organization is sometimes a struggle, and success in this regard can be ambiguous. Learn how to practice with ease as an effective team.

    Howard Teibel

    Howard Teibel

    President, Teibel Education Consulting

    Howard Teibel works with leaders of independent schools to confront their toughest challenges as they define – and redefine – the value of a 21st century independent school education. Through consulting and public speaking, Howard works with schools and associations to create positive culture change across their organization. Culture change is about making difficult decisions and then committing to action, especially in the face of uncertainty or disagreement. Howard’s company, Teibel Education, leads strategic planning initiatives, team building programs, and leadership courses that can transform how teams move the needle on critical initiatives. Teibel’s client roster includes: The Stratford School, Kingswood Oxford, Friends Academy, Princeton University, The Kamehameha Schools, The Northwest School, NBOA, Commonwealth Academy, University of Colorado, Rutgers, and many others. Howard’s podcast, Navigating Change brings together thought leaders to explore innovations in education. As a contributor to the book Redesigning Higher Education: Systemic Integration and Cluster Based Learning, with President Don Birx, Howard lays out the change principles that helped transform Plymouth State University to a cluster based academic institution. Howard is a graduate of University of Binghamton and long-time student of many modalities of personal growth including meditation, a language action theory of Dr. Fernando Flores, and the transformation work of the Hoffman Institute. He is also a co-founder of Fathers Forever, an organization dedicated to creating fellowship among men who have experienced the death of a child.

Tuesday, February 21

2:45 pm - 4:00 pm

  • Financial Data Storytelling, Board Reporting, and Dashboards...Oh My!

    Harvard professor and renowned psychologist Howard Gardner wrote, “Stories are the single most powerful tool in a leader’s toolkit.” CFOs and business office professionals tasked with presenting complex information to non-financial audiences can leverage the benefits of data storytelling to clarify priorities, create shared understanding, and build a culture of mission-driven, data-informed decision making. Effectively pairing data storytelling and data visualization allows for strategic agility and addressing tough questions from leadership team and board of trustees. Dive into the art of taking the “numb” out of the numbers.

    Ari Betof

    Ari M. Betof, EdD, MBA

    Co-Founder & Partner, Mission & Data

    Ari Betof, EdD, MBA is Co-Founder and Partner of Mission & Data and is a nationally recognized expert in independent school financial sustainability and organizational stewardship. Ari has served as an independent school trustee, head of school, chief advancement officer, director of enrollment management, director of strategic planning, and faculty member. He has been an instructor in University of Pennsylvania’s PennGSE Mid-Career Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership and Leadership Master’s Program. He has served as a mentor in Harvard University’s School Leadership Program and faculty member in the NAIS School Leadership Institute. Ari earned his doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Pennsylvania with a focus on financial and organizational sustainability of independent schools and MBA from Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management where he was an Emerging Markets Institute Fellow.

    Kelsey Vrooman

    Kelsey Vrooman

    Co-Founder & Partner, Mission & Data

    Kelsey Vrooman is Co-Founder and Partner at Mission & Data, a firm that enhances mission-driven, data-informed leadership and governance of organizations that make the world a better place. She is an expert in data storytelling and visualization, and works with independent schools and non-profit organizations to wrangle and analyze data in order to generate actionable insights that improve practice and operations.

Wednesday, February 22

10:30 am - 11:45 am

  • Understanding Behavior from a Whole Brain Approach

    To be effective independent school leaders and colleagues, we must often interpret others’ behaviors as we engage with them. You may not be aware that common assumptions about cognition, or how we learn things, may be influencing your interpretation and responses to those behaviors. Educational neuroscientist and former head of school Laura Flores-Shaw, Ed.D., who leads the doctorate in education program at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Education, will explain the model of cognition that has dominated research in cognitive science, neuroscience and psychology. Learn about this model’s implications and limitations for interpreting others’ behaviors. Come away with a new embodied, situated and whole brain approach to cognition to help you better understand others’ behaviors and respond with more effective actions that create stronger relationships and support others’ growth and development.

    Laura Flores Shaw

    Dr. Laura Flores Shaw

    Director, Doctorate in Education Program, Johns Hopkins University

    Laura Flores Shaw is Assistant Professor and Interim Director of the Doctorate in Education program at Johns Hopkins University School of Education. Dr. Shaw is extensively trained in family systems therapy and educational neuroscience and has direct experience as Head of School within an AMI-based Montessori school framework. Dr. Shaw’s work has focused on translating research from multiple areas of neuroscience, educational psychology, sustainability education, and family systems into school design and classroom practice. She has particular interest and expertise in translating current applied and computational neuroscience research—especially approaches featuring a sensorimotor and ethologically oriented perspective—and applying large-scale dynamical systems frameworks to sociocultural contexts. Re-contextualizing common terms such as “executive function” and “attention” are areas of particular interest, especially in relation to issues of race, class, neurodiversity, and behavior, including traditionally disadvantaged students living in poverty.