Deep Dive

Tuesday, 8:30 am - 10:00 am

  • The Head of School and Business Officer Partnership

    As strategic partners, a strong working relationship between the head of school and business officer is essential to an independent school’s success. In this session, the heads of school and business officers from two established independent schools discuss this important partnership and how it can transform a school. Learn about the keys to healthy collaboration between these two top leadership roles and the steps the business office can take to build a strong working relationship with the head of school and other important members of the administrative team. Learn best practices, understand how to overcome obstacles when establishing a new relationship between school leaders, and gain insight on how to develop a strong relationship over the long-term.

    Learning Objective: Participants will learn how to establish and maintain a strong working relationship between leaders to further the mission and success of the school.

    Tom Arnold, Chief Financial Officer, Western Reserve Academy
    Mary Frances Bisselle, Head of School, Hathaway Brown School
    Suzanne Walker Buck, Head of School, Western Reserve Academy
    Valerie Hughes, Chief Financial Officer, Hathaway Brown School

Concurrent Sessions

Tuesday, 8:30 am - 9:30 am

  • 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. This session will feature 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"). NBOA has recently released or updated tools available to support your school’s operational performance and financial position, including: just-released standards for independent school finance, governance, and other business operations (formerly known as Practical Guidance); Key Financial Indicators of Vitality; The NBOA Financial Dashboard for Independent Schools; and the Composite Financial Index (CFI) Calculator (available in BIIS). This session will also feature an opportunity to hear from NBOA in-house content experts and connect with peers from across the industry.

    Learning Objective: Participants will learn the new and updated NBOA tools and resources available to support their work.

    James Palmieri, Ed.D., Senior Vice President, NBOA
    Jennifer Hillen, CPA, CGMA, Vice President, Professional Development and Business Affairs, NBOA
    Mary Kay Markunas, Director, Member Resources and Programs, NBOA

  • Auditing Your Insurance Program: What's Not Covered and What to Do

    Risk Management

    In this interactive session, we will work through several scenarios addressing common risks that might not be covered by current insurance policies and ways to obtain coverage for these risks, either through additional policies or endorsements. If coverage is not available, we will present alternative strategies as to how a school might proceed to manage these risk exposures.

    Learning Objective: Participants will learn how to audit their existing insurance and risk management program to identify areas that may represent coverage gaps and methods for either obtaining added coverage or, alternatively, incorporating strategies for managing the risk exposure.

    Jamie Gershon, Executive Vice President, Bolton & Company
    Cheryl McDowell, Vice President, Education and Practice Group, Bolton & Company
    Ronald Wanglin, Chairman, Bolton & Company

  • Campus Master Planning: a Thorough Exploration of the Campus


    This session will walk you through the campus master planning process from start to finish — beginning with the RFP, a campus facility audit, committee structure, architectural selections, culture considerations, working sessions, presentations and data dumps. With all of this good information, what do you do first, and how do you start? Participants will leave with a spreadsheet that helps explain the next steps to board members and committee members, once all the research and work is done.

    Learning Objective: Participants will learn about the process of a thorough campus master plan — from RFP to implementation and prioritization, as well as what to do with the huge amount of information created through the master plan and how to prioritize that data.

    Cindy Stadulis, Chief Financial and Operating Officer, St. Stephen’s Episcopal School

  • Envision a Future with Effective Outsourced Relationships

    Business Operations

    As the independent school industry looks ahead, outsourcing provides effective ways to build capacity and reduce costs. Building great relationships with vendors can be challenging and time consuming. Aspen Academy has added expertise to its administrative team by developing true partnerships with outsourced services, keeping them engaged and increasing their discretionary effort. Through case studies of relationships with several of our vendor partners, we provide you with practical strategies to optimize your outsourced relationships.

    Learning Objective: Participants will learn best practices for managing outsourced relationships and how to leverage them to get the best return on investment.

    Lynda Sailor, Co-Founder, Chief Operating and Financial Officer, Aspen Academy

  • Practical Tools to Assess and Grow Your Auxiliary Programs

    Business Operations

    Join three experienced directors of auxiliary and summer programs for a hands-on, practical session that will empower attendees to improve and grow their school’s auxiliary programs. This session will introduce and explore the use of several tools that CFOs and school leadership can implement to strategically assess current programs and determine best directions to build future programs. Areas of focus will include strategic goals, asset inventory, capacity analysis and the concept of a program “scorecard.” Participants will leave with customizable resources and a clear strategy to envision a new future for their auxiliary programs.

    Learning Objective: Participants will learn how to use several tools to assess, evaluate and enhance their auxiliary programs.

    Karen McCann McLelland, Director of Auxiliary Programs, Sidwell Friends School
    Nat Saltonstall, Director of Summer Programs, Beaver Country Day School
    Ryan Williams, Director of Auxiliary Programs, The Lawrenceville School

  • Retaining Focus on Your Mission Despite Employee Challenges

    Human Resources

    Schools need to guide employees to support the school’s mission and discipline employees who refuse to follow suit. Using real-world scenarios, panelists will discuss school-employee interactions and opportunities to promote the school’s vision. Discussion will cover some of the more disruptive employee types, how they can be addressed and what practical and legal steps will either bring them back into the fold of the community or counsel them out.

    Learning Objective: Participants will learn how to communicate with difficult employees, how to manage communications and misconduct that is undermining the school without increasing the school’s legal risk, and how to ensure that the school’s values are supported by its employees through proper management techniques and community messaging.

    Michael Dyson, Chief Financial Officer, Gladwyne Montessori
    Susan Guerette, Attorney at Law, Fisher Phillips LLP

  • Tax-Exempt? Don’t Be So Sure!

    Accounting, Finance and Tax

    The recently enacted Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TJCA) includes many new rules that not-for-profit independent schools must follow to stay in compliance with regulators and to maintain their tax-exempt status. This session will dive into the provisions that directly impact independent schools and how they can affect school policy decisions and public reporting, as well as update attendees on the provisions in question such as employee parking. Presenters will review specific examples to help keep your school in compliance. In addition, the program will cover many of the nuanced tax issues that have long impacted not-for-profit schools including those related to unrelated business income and certain employee benefits as well as gifts or sponsorships.

    Learning Objective: Participants will have a better understanding of the direct and indirect impact of the TCJA and other tax regulations on not-for-profit schools, how to evaluate reporting challenges for schools in 2020 and best practices for maintaining compliance.

    Katy Brown, Director and West Coast Practice Lead, Nonprofit Tax and Compliance, Armanino LLP
    Matt Petroski, Tax Director, Armanino LLP
    Dean Quiambao, CPA, Partner, Armanino LLP

  • The Top Ten Elements for Developing an Effective HR Practice

    Human Resources

    Whether you're a recently appointed human resources professional, have a non-HR job with HR responsibilities or are thinking about adding a dedicated HR position, this session will provide you with the top ten elements to focus on while developing an effective HR practice. Gain the knowledge needed to avoid legal pitfalls, improve your effectiveness in handling HR issues and identify where time and resources should be focused. Session presenters will cover employee classifications, policy manuals, FMLA/ADA, background screenings, regulatory compliance, recruiting/retention, employee relations, harassment training, benefits and data management.

    Learning Objective: Participants will gain an action plan of the top ten areas to focus on while developing an HR practice; understand the importance of effectively communicating compensation, benefits and employee performance and the importance of key regulatory compliance issues that should be followed to avoid legal consequences.

    Anita Pittman, Director of Human Resources, Oakhall School
    Sara Skinner, Director of Human Resources, Lakeside School

  • Trends in Endowment Management

    Accounting, Finance and Tax

    This session will highlight and discuss the results from the recent Commonfund Study of Independent Schools Investment Report. In addition to identifying key data trends that have emerged from the study, the session will include a moderated panel discussion with experts from Commonfund and representatives from NBOA member schools discussing how the identified trends are influencing today's investment policy decisions and helping focus institutions on strategic initiatives geared toward improving stewardship.

    Learning Objective: Participants will learn key considerations for developing investment policies geared toward balancing the demand for immediate endowment distributions s and the need to maintain a sustainable endowment that will support future generations of students.

    Steven Snyder, Managing Director, Head of Relationship Management, Commonfund
    George Suttles, Director of Research, Commonfund Institute

Deep Dive

Tuesday, 10:15 am - 11:45 am

  • Cultivating Resiliency and Boldness: Building an Education Culture to Drive Positive Change

    It’s our job as independent school professionals to create a culture that moves beyond the motto of “business as usual” and to cultivate teams that bring passion, optimism and a genuine commitment to excellence in our shared work. In this session, we will explore and practice how to cultivate new habits and embody resiliency for ourselves and our teams. We will discuss the answer to this crucial question: What does it look like to navigate our future together with openness and curiosity rather than seeing each obstacle as a crisis to be solved?

    Learning Objective: Participants will learn what it means to cultivate a “first team” mindset, how to promote strategic thinking and how to build emotional resilience in themselves and their teams.

    Kate Newburgh, Ph.D., Founder, Deep Practices Consulting L3C
    Howard Teibel, Founder and President, Tiebel Educational Consulting

Concurrent Sessions

Tuesday, 10:15 am - 11:15 am

  • Automation, Artificial Intelligence and School Operations — Oh My!

    Business Operations

    The automation movement is already in your school — and you probably don't realize it or recognize it for what it is. Experts predict that 10-30% of schools will not be here in 10 years. Why is that and what you can do to ensure your school is in the group that survives? Do the models from other industries apply to our sector, and what is the real lesson for independent schools? Incremental change is hard to detect, but disruption readily presents itself. While it is better to be the disruptor than to be disrupted, most of the change we will experience will probably be incremental.

    Learning Objective: Participants will learn practical tools to enhance workflow efficiencies in their core areas of responsibility and develop a deeper understanding of change in the industry.

    Damian Kavanagh, Executive Director, Mid-South Independent School Business Officers
    Aggie Malter, Executive Director, Philadelphia Area Independent School Business Officers Association

  • Facilities or Operations: Hiring the Right Director


    The complex nature of managing non-academic expenses and revenue is forcing independent schools to reconsider traditional roles and focus increasingly on customer service and metrics. Make sure you are making the right call for your institution. Join us as we examine the essential qualities of an effective facilities director and explore when organizations may need a director of operations. We will use case studies to examine how schools have resolved their changing needs in leadership outside of the classroom.

    Learning Objective: Participants will learn how to correctly identify their institution's biggest needs in managing facilities and operations.

    Mark Notaro, Director of Operations, The Episcopal Academy
    Bill Rouse, Founding Member, AUXS

  • Keeping Up with the Courts: a School’s Employment Law Update

    Human Resources

    This session will review recent developments from agencies and courts that affect independent schools and their operations. Topics include a discussion of the Department of Labor's changes to wage and hour issues, including the overtime exemptions, salary threshold and regular rate of pay, as well as joint employer and independent contractor determinations. Additionally, we will discuss court opinions of interest to independent schools, including those addressing the federal anti-discrimination statutes and protections for sexual orientation and gender identity. We will provide practical advice with concrete examples of how schools’ existing policies should change.

    Learning Objective: Participants will learn to identify areas of employment law where previous or commonly accepted interpretations are changing; how to review their school’s policies, practices and procedures; and how to ensure their school is compliant with current and controlling legal guidance.

    Janice P. Gregerson, Attorney, Venable LLP
    Grace Lee, NBOA Legal Counsel and Partner, Venable LLP
    Ashley Sykes, Associate, Venable LLP

  • Managing the Complexities of School Parents as Employees

    Human Resources

    Independent schools are generally communities where faculty children are warmly welcomed. In this session, we will talk about the benefits and challenges for schools of employing individuals who are also school parents. We will explore the concerns around confidentiality, favoritism and fairness as well as the complexities in disciplining or terminating an employee who is also a parent, or disciplining a student who is the child of an employee. We will discuss best practices, potential policy revisions (boundaries, mandated reporting, divorce issues, etc.) and strategies to manage the risks of this overlapping constituency.

    Learning Objective: Participants will learn strategies for managing the risks of employee parents, including suggested policy revisions and best practices for managing the thorny situations that arise with this unique group.

    Mark Brossman, Partner, Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP
    Donna Lazarus, Attorney, Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP

  • Navigating the Bermuda Triangle: Integrating Design Thinking with Values-Centric Leadership

    Executive Leadership

    Business officers are getting pulled in ever-increasing directions as independent schools contemplate difficult decisions and necessary structural changes. This session will help participants assess their personal values, pinpoint the alignment of their values relative to their school and then integrate principles of design thinking to navigate the murky waters of difficult decisions and change management.

    Learning Objective: Participants will learn to explore and define their values and leadership styles while discovering methods to increase community understanding and empathy. Participants will also develop strategies for navigating ambiguity so they may lead teams through fear toward innovative, customized solutions for their schools.

    Rachel Horak, Director of Business and Finance, Indian Creek School
    Linda Dennison, Director of Finance and Comptroller, Phillips Academy

  • Strategy Meets Standards in School Accounting

    Accounting, Finance and Tax

    Several FASB accounting standards have gone into effect recently that require new or significantly more complex disclosures on school financial statements. The new standards cover liquidity, functional expenses by nature, grants and contributions, and revenue recognition. Instead of seeing these new standards as merely annoying compliance requirements, this session shows how to turn them into opportunities to develop better financial strategies and practices for your school. Join us to learn how to use the new FASB guidelines to tell your financial story in the most creative, sophisticated way.

    Learning Objective: Participants will learn how to think broadly outside of just compliance with new standards and learn how to use the new standards strategically. Learn enough about accounting to avoid being a victim of the accounting.

    Curtis Klotz, Director of Nonprofit Innovation, ClintonLarsonAllen LLP
    Sarah Reichling, Principal, CliftonLarsonAllen LLP

  • Talk is Cheap: Identify and Test Controls to Prevent Fraud

    Accounting, Finance and Tax

    How would a board member or head of school respond if asked "how do you know that fraud isn't occurring at your school"? How can a CFO illustrate that the finance and accounting operation is above reproach? The school's primary defense against fraud is establishing and maintaining a comprehensive, proven system of internal controls. This session will outline the importance of identifying key financial risks and specifying the controls that mitigate those risks. Participants will learn very practical steps to establish an internal control framework, and evaluate controls to ensure they are designed appropriately and executed effectively.

    Learning Objective: Participants will learn how to establish an internal control framework as well as an approach to testing controls to prevent fraud.

    Brian Rodriguez, Chief Financial Officer, Trinity Christian Academy

  • Tax-Exempt Financing: It's Not Just Bank Financing Anymore

    Accounting, Finance and Tax

    Three schools — a small boarding school, a leading metropolitan day school and a school specializing in learning differences — each took a distinctly different financing path to meet their unique financing needs. One executed a bank loan, one a public bond and one a private placement with a private equity fund. What institutional goals drove these schools down different financing paths? How did each financing path differ and why? What steps did these schools take at the beginning of the process to identify their goals and financing path?

    Learning Objective: Participants will learn about the market opportunities that these three schools took advantage of to obtain the best tax-exempt financing for their specific facilities’ master plans.

    Bill Auerswald, Chief Financial and Operating Officer, Greenwich Country Day School
    Jeff Berman, Chief Financial Officer, McLean School
    Jim Poulsen, Director of Finance and Operations, The Thacher School
    Charles Procknow, Executive Vice President, Stifel Financial Services

  • The Evolving Landscape of School Safety and Security

    Risk Management

    For many years, our schools have struggled to balance the desire for open and vibrant campuses against the reality of increasingly complex security challenges, competing needs and resources.Presenters will share their national experience and discuss how to prioritize security challenges and cut through noise about the “next best thing." This approach enables schools to prioritize reasonable, cost- and time-effective security and emergency response solutions, even in the face of a rapidly evolving school safety and security landscape.

    Learning Objective: Participants will learn best and promising practices in school emergency preparedness in the evolving landscape of school safety. They will understand how to make the best budget decisions surrounding school safety technology such as access control and visitor management, mass notification, cameras and lighting, along with the deployment of school resource officers or armed/unarmed security officers.

    Rob Evans, Managing Director for Organizational Assessment and K-12 Services, Margolis Healy and Associates
    Dan Pascale, Managing Director, Margolis Healy and Associates
    Elliott Robinson, Vice President, Administration, Milton Hershey School

NBOA Leadership Awards Luncheon

Tuesday, 11:45 am - 2:15 pm

  • Think Differently

    Vinh Giang

    Magic is much more than sleight of hand. It’s the ability to guide perspectives, spotlight influences and challenge belief systems. With humor, heart and captivating showmanship, Vinh Giang shares how creating and cultivating the right influences in our lives can make the difference between tremendous success or limited mediocrity. Everything that once seemed impossible can be reimagined and overcome. It takes suspending old belief systems, unlocking mindsets, deliberate and definitive action, and yes, even a little magic.

    Learning Objective: Participants will learn how to rethink their own perspective to create change and cultivate success.

Deep Dive

Tuesday, 2:45 pm - 4:15 pm

  • Enhancing Diversity and Inclusion Efforts Using a Collaborative Institutional Approach

    Presenters will discuss how specific mission- and goal-driven initiatives in diversity, equity and inclusion have impacted the Gettysburg College campus and community. Attendees will also be introduced to Gettysburg College’s Inclusion Partner and Inclusion Champion Programs, which serve as mechanisms to uncover and address unconscious biases that can sometimes enter our hiring processes.

    Learning Objective: Participants will learn about the intentional connection of campus partners for the purpose of realizing diversity, equity and inclusion goals as an institution. Participants will learn about the mission- and goal-driven initiatives that have impacted the Gettysburg College campus climate and enhanced opportunities for discourse.

    Darrien Davenport, Executive Director of the Office of Multicultural Engagement/Assistant Vice President for College Life at Gettysburg College
    Jennifer Lucas, Co-Director of Human Resources, Gettysburg College

Concurrent Sessions

Tuesday, 2:45 pm - 3:45 pm

  • Accounting, Reporting and Tax Issues for School Fundraising and Special Events

    Accounting, Finance and Tax

    The session will focus on fundraising rules and regulations regarding special events, parents’ association activities, donated goods and services as well as some less commonly-used tools in the business office, such as Facebook. Business offices need to collaborate with many groups in and out of the school to develop fundraising programs to benefit their schools. Schools are expected to be the safeguard in terms of compliance with regulatory and tax laws affecting each of these ventures.

    Learning Objective: Participants will develop a strong understanding of fundraising laws and regulations as well as proper accounting and tax treatments of donated gifts.

    Joseph Blatt, Partner, BKD

  • A Primer on Cybersecurity Risk Assessment

    Risk Management

    Educational institutions represent a prime target for nefarious actors predominantly because of the breadth of sensitive data collected, variety of users and disparate business operations. Schools must understand pertinent areas to be evaluated to keep their ecosystems safe. This case study, based on one member school’s actual journey, will discuss lessons learned from their evaluation of cybersecurity maturity in various areas including IT infrastructure and vulnerability, identity and access management, third-party vendor relationship management and incident response.

    Learning Objective: Participants will leave the session with an understanding of the components of a thorough cyber risk assessment and why the process is necessary, as well as lessons learned from a member school about its current monitoring processes.

    Paul Ballasy, Partner, CohnReznick LLP
    Shahryar Shagnaghi, Principal, CohnReznick LLP

  • A "Summa Cum Laude" Health Plan Degree with Five Fs

    Human Resources

    Create a world-class health plan for your enrollees with five Fs: facts, figures, foundation, forward thinking and fun. Discover proven principles and structures that are reshaping 28 schools' long-term strategies and transforming their benefits plans from budget-draining to thoughtful, dynamic and cutting-edge. This session will help participants identify plans that will impact their schools’ culture and wellbeing, govern their schools’ health care plan and help employees become smarter consumers.

    Learning Objective: Participants will learn the principles and actions taken by 28 schools that came together to create their own insurance plan, stabilized costs and saved money in a self-governed environment that keeps faculty and staff at the top of the consideration list.

    Dirk De Roo, Director of Compensation and Benefits, Phillips Exeter Academy
    Mark S. Gaunya, GBA, Founder and CEO, Captivated Health / Principal and Chief Innovation Officer, Borislow Insurance
    David Saltzman, Director of Marketing and Business Development, Borislow Insurance
    Dean Sidell, Associate Head of School, The Tower School

  • Hot Topics in Independent School Legal Issues

    Human Resources

    The business office handles a wide range of legal issues. This session will cover what you need to know about technology policies, student bullying and harassment, child abuse reporting and appropriate boundaries between students and adults, tuition management issues and background checks. Learn to spot issues, reduce your school’s risk and determine when you need to call your school’s attorney.

    Learning Objective: Participants will learn to spot legal issues for their school, reduce their school’s risk and determine when to call their school’s attorney.

    Grace Lee, NBOA Legal Counsel and Partner, Venable, LLP

  • Pets, Pot and Pay: Hot Topics for Residential Life Programs

    Human Resources

    Pets on campus? Medical marijuana in campus housing? Properly paying dorm parents? Requests for FMLA leave? Explore these and other unique employment challenges facing independent schools with residential life programs in this interactive session led by experienced administrators and legal counsel. Incorporating real-world scenarios, attendees will engage in discussions about planning for, managing and responding to these legal issues. Panelists will walk through proactive steps schools can take to identify and mitigate legal risks impacting their residential life programs.

    Learning Objective: Participants will learn how boarding schools can plan for, manage and respond to challenging issues in ways that promote safe residential life programs.

    Matthew D. Batastini, JD, Managing Partner, Schwartz Hannum PC
    Diane Byrne, Director of Finance and Operations, Fay School
    Rebecca Kadden, Human Resources, Walnut Hill School for the Arts

  • The Anatomy and Choreography of Collaborative Leadership

    Executive Leadership

    Leadership style has everything to do with success. How you speak is how you lead. This session introduces and explains a “Framework for Collaborative Leadership” developed by the certified leadership coach presenter with years of experience in independent school administration and coaching. The framework’s four quadrants — mindset, questions, protocols and debriefing — enable leaders to understand and navigate the complexities of leadership in whatever role they play in their schools. In an interactive session, participants are encouraged to contextualize the tools and techniques of the framework with their own experiences and those of other participants.

    Learning Objective: Participants will learn to examine how their leadership style has a direct effect on the delta between intention and impact.

    Abigail Wiebenson, Professional Coach, Turning Points Coaching

  • Trends and Tools for Digital Engagement To Drive Results

    Business Operations

    Explore the latest trends in integration with web and data that business officers need to know, with an eye toward driving enrollment through web engagement and increasing communications and retention with digital workflows. The presenter will draw on more than two decades of experience working with hundreds of schools worldwide to share the latest tips for what will make a school financially successful in 2020 and beyond. You'll leave inspired to implement new ideas to increase enrollment, bolster retention and make your life easier.

    Learning Objective: Participants will learn the latest best practices to drive digital engagement and improve retention, enrollment and advancement, and will examine the tools that make this happen, including some that make business officers' lives easier.

    Rob DiMartino, Co-Founder and Chief Evangelist, Finalsite