Keynote Address

Monday, 8:15 am - 10:00 am

  • Harnessing Innovation: Turning Raw Ideas Into Powerful Results

    Josh Linkner

    As a five-time successful tech entrepreneur and investor in dozens of startups, Josh Linkner has seen thousands of companies loaded with creative buzz and big ideas. How is it that some harness their imagination to create game-changing drivers of growth and innovation while others miss the mark? The answer: The best companies have a systematic process to focus their team’s creativity into practical outputs—something Linkner discovered by founding and building companies that sold collectively for over $200 million. As a professional-level jazz guitarist, Linkner blends the improvisational qualities of a jazz ensemble with bleeding-edge business savvy to bring a completely fresh perspective on unleashing creativity in the organization. His inspiring presentation delivers practical tools that can be used immediately to increase creative output and deliver bottom-line results. You’ll learn to:

    • Use specific techniques to harness your most powerful ideas
    • Apply creativity on a daily basis across all business activities and roles
    • Break free from the three biggest blockers of creativity
    • Apply best practices from the world’s most innovative companies
    • Avoid the five biggest creativity killers
    • Master the three most powerful brainstorming techniques that you’ve never heard of
    • Build a culture that celebrates fresh thinking and embraces new ideas

Concurrent Sessions A

Monday, 10:30 am - 11:45 am

  • Affordability: Making Independent Schools Accessible to Middle-Class Families

    Traditional financial aid models are designed to create economic diversity in independent schools, but are limited in scope to low-income families. The result is a "barbell" effect that shuts out the middle class. Upper-middle and middle-income families are less likely to receive adequate financial aid and so are less likely to invest in private-school tuition. Explore various tuition models designed with the middle class in mind.

    Julia Malaga, Chief Financial Officer, Golda Och Academy

  • Auditing Your School's Insurance and Risk Management Program

    Emerging technologies and changing market conditions make staying ahead of insurance and risk management programs an ongoing challenge. Cyber liability, Bitcoin ransoms, drones on campus, hacking of electronic funds transfers and apps for alternative taxi service are just a short list of new era risks faced by independent schools. Identify these evolving risks and address best practices for managing and mitigating exposures.

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

  • Capital and Endowment Campaigns: Best Practices for Accounting and Collaboration

    With more and more schools embarking on capital and endowment campaigns, it is imperative that the potentially unique and complex transactions be accounted for correctly. Find out how CFOs who have participated in capital campaigns of as much as $50 million handled a variety of transactions and endowment-investment decisions. Discuss accounting best practices and technical accounting treatments. Explore how CFOs can work most effectively with their development team and head of school to tackle campaign challenges.

    Jason Gilbert, Partner, Armanino LLP
    Dean Quiambao, Partner, Armanino LLP

  • Developing an HR Bootcamp for your Administrators

    Untrained supervisors can present challenges for HR professionals and create liability risks to schools. Developing a successful training plan for supervisors can be time consuming and most are not sure where to start. In this session, HR professionals from four schools will share supervisor training plans that they have created, their successes and failures and offer advice for best practices. Session presenters will cover timelines & agendas for training non-HR employees on topics including interviewing, coaching, discipline, internal investigations and documentation. Also covered will be when to involve HR and stopping commonplace risky behaviors.

    Diane Byrne, Assistant Director of Finance and Operations, Fay School
    Dawn Lewis, Head of Human Resources, The Episcopal School of Dallas
    Seymour Mintzer
    Anita Pittman, Director of Human Resources, Oak Hall School

  • Employment Contracts or Offer Letters? Take Another Look

    Is employment at your school terminable only "for cause" or is it governed by the doctrine of "at-will employment"? What is the role and true meaning of at-will employment? Should schools use employment contracts/agreements, offer letters, annual letters of appointment, or some combination or alternative? Should the answer vary by role? What common misunderstandings cost schools flexibility, reputation, time and financial resources? Get a firm grasp of the answers to these questions for your school's requirements and management style.

    Heather Broadwater, Attorney, Potomac Law Group

  • Every Inch a Learning Space

    Independent school facilities tend to be defined by formal spaces like classrooms or offices. But if school leaders allow only ubiquitous, known spaces into their thinking, they are apt to overlook a design opportunity. What about academic spaces beyond the classroom, and what about underutilized and neglected spaces like hallways? Wouldn't these spaces allow for more student learning and creativity? Find out how to maximize the educational use of existing and new environments by looking at modern trends in classroom and beyond-classroom design. Study the recently completed Kenneth Kai Tai Yen Humanities Building at The Pennington School for a real-world model of comprehensive school design.

    Robert Douglass, Associate, Voith & Mactavish Architects
    J. Graeme McWhirter, Chief Financial Officer, The Pennington School

  • How to Measure the Business of Independent Schools

    The independent school is a unique business model that mingles management elements of nonprofit organizations, government agencies and service-centric businesses. This provides an interesting mix of metrics that can be used to evaluate performance from a nonprogram perspective. While the education of students is paramount, it cannot be sustained without highly functioning development, admissions, communications and business offices. Explore ways to define and measure performance metrics for the non-instructional functions of your school so that you can better assess effectiveness and develop continuous improvement plans.

    Robert Hogan, Controller, Atlanta Girls' School

  • Key Considerations in Achieving Long-Term Endowment Goals

    After a significant downturn in average endowment returns in FY16, a strong rebound in the equity market in FY17 fueled a robust recovery. While short-term performance helps promote growth and provides needed support to operations, endowment management requires a long-term focus to better align current policies with the ultimate goal of maintaining inter-generational equity. Explore the key levers related to investment policy design and implementation that are pertinent to achieving long-term goals and objectives. Discuss how these assets should be viewed within the broader context of the trends emerging from more than a decade's worth of benchmarks data by independent schools.

    Dyana Conroy, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer, The Potomac School
    Jeffrey Houser, Chief Financial Officer, Georgetown Day Schools
    Keith Luke, President, Commonfund Securities, Inc., Commonfund
    Steven Snyder, Managing Director, Head of Relationship Management, Commonfund Institute

  • Special Interest Group: Small Schools

    Small school professionals (those with less than 300 students) are invited to take part in this interactive dialogue with experienced colleagues. Participate in an open discussion of issues and concerns facing smaller independent schools.

    Mary Kay Markunas, Director, Research and Member Resources, NBOA
    Heidi Whaley, Business Manager, Charleston Day School

  • Top Benefits Issues for Independent Schools

    While school administrators strive to offer generous employee benefits, keeping up with the changing legal landscape can be a challenge, leaving many schools out of compliance. Get an update on the state of the Affordable Care Act, as well as strategies for complying with the changing regulations around 403(b) fiduciary responsibilities. Discuss common compliance mistakes administrators make when offering health benefits, short- and long-term disability, flexible spending accounts and tuition-remission plans.

    Jennifer Berman, CEO, MZQ Consulting

Concurrent Sessions B

Monday, 1:30 pm - 2:45 pm

  • An Actionable Risk Management Self Study: How Do You Score?

    For years, risk management has been an overwhelmingly dense meeting agenda item. Hear about a self-study designed for independent schools that outlines high-level risk management best practices. Discuss a range of interests, from who's assigned to risk management at the board and staff level to how you're managing critical components of the program. Get practical advice on emergency drills, personnel policies and financial standards.

    Jane Davis
    Chris Joffe, Chief Executive Officer, Joffe Emergency Services
    Janet Lyon, Director of Operations, Archer School for Girls

  • Banding: A Contemporary Tune for Faculty Compensation

    "Faculty banding" is the contemporary tune for compensation design. It more and more often is replacing the traditional, multilevel salary scales driven solely by years of teaching experience. Banding offers several advantages: it rewards student-impact contributions, not just years of service, and simplifies the multilevel salary scale that is unappealing to millennials; it clearly communicates expectations and allocates annual increases based on contributions to the school's mission; it creates an explicit pathway for professional development; it is a market-based structure, supports the annual budgeting process and ensures that implementation of the process supports the structure; and it can be customized to the competitive features of the school. Find out more about faculty banding and why some schools are changing their tune when it comes to compensation.

    Karen Illig, VP and CFO, Finance and Operations, Pine Crest School
    David Lacey, Managing Director, Human Resource Services, Hirshorn Boothby

  • Campus Master Planning: One Approach with Countless Possibilities

    While facilities are a campus' largest asset, often it is difficult to identify, monitor and track facility requirements. Find out how to make the most of your school's facilities.

    Sam Goldfischer, Director of Business and Finance, Newark Academy
    Walter Kneis, Principal, NK Architects
    Timothy Madigan, Head of School, The Churchill School & Center

  • Data Metrics in Financial Planning: Enhancing Affordability, Value and Quality

    Hear lessons learned from one school's successful long-term financial-planning process. Explore how five project teams, comprised of school professionals and board experts, conducted an exhaustive assessment of every potential source of incremental revenue and expense reduction. Discuss how they defined a pathway to continued educational excellence while moderating tuition increases by $1,200 to $1,500 per student over the planning period. Find out how to apply this approach to your school's financial-planning process.

    Harry Bloom, Senior Vice President Client Solutions, Measuring Success
    Scott Griggs, Head of School, Greenhill School
    Melissa Orth, President and CEO, The Legacy Senior Communities, Inc.

  • Special Interest Group: Human Resource Professionals

    Human resources professionals are invited to take part in this interactive dialogue with experienced colleagues. Participate in an open discussion of HR issues and concerns facing independent schools of all sizes.

    Grace Lee, Vice President, Legal Affairs, NBOA
    Seymour Mintzer
    Sara Skinner, Director of Human Resources, Lakeside School
    Genie Tanner, Human Resources Director, University School of Nashville

  • Tax Reform Provisions Impacting the Independent School Sector

    This session will be an informative mix of review of the applicable provisions in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Acts, signed into law on December 22, 2017 and made applicable for 2018 and future years. Come prepared with questions as our expert presenters from RSM US LLP will review provisions that were made law, provisions that still have many unanswered issues related to their applicability and implementation and also discuss provisions that DID NOT make it into the final law.

    William E. Turco, CPA, Director, Not for Profit Tax Services, RSM US LLP

  • The Top Five Claims Brought Against Independent Schools

    Although independent school leaders are likely to encounter certain employment law issues routinely, such as FMLA, there also are timely and unique matters on the legal cusp that administrators will come across, such as transgender issues and mental health questions. It is imperative that school leaders have an understanding of how to address any emerging issues from a legal perspective. Explore five of the most difficult issues likely to be encountered during the 2018/2019 school year and get an action plan for dealing with each.

    Candice Pinares-Baez, Attorney, Fisher Phillips
    Whitney Walters-Sachs, In-House Counsel, Pine Crest Preparatory School

  • Training Your Board to be Better Fiduciaries

    You rely on your board to keep your school fiscally strong and viable. However, one of the fundamental challenges many boards have is that they lack a strong understanding of their roles and responsibilities. Business officers may be a catalyst for their board's transformation. Gain insight into how to inspire a deeper level of learning for board members. Discuss the key considerations in training your board so members are better positioned to understand the financials, identify and track meaningful school health indicators, ensure adequate control mechanisms, approve the budget and oversee your school's regulatory compliance.

    John Buckley, CPA, CGMA, Education Partner, AAFCPAs
    Cindy Fanikos, CPA, Chief Financial Officer, St. John's Prep

  • Using NBOA's Long-Range Financial Model

    The NBOA Long-Range Financial Model is an easy-to-use, customized 10-year budget model, created as an Excel spreadsheet. The model generates charts and graphs that easily can be dropped into dashboards or other presentations. It also creates 10-year forecasts for tuition, enrollment, FTEs, plant replacement and more. Review the workings of this model and examine ways to incorporate aspects of it into your financial presentations.

    Palmer Ball, President, Palmer Ball Consulting, LLC
    Mary Kay Markunas, Director, Research and Member Resources, NBOA

  • What Keeps You Up At Night? INDEX School Data Trends

    In the spring of 2017, the INDEX schools were asked to list the 3 issues that kept them "up at night." Using these issues as a starting point, we will examine key trends in independent school data, including financial sustainability, enrollment, tuition and discounts, fundraising, expenses, debt, PPE, etc. Come and discuss these key trends and their implications for our schools.

    Lisa Pullman, Executive Director, INDEX

Concurrent Sessions C

Monday, 3:15 pm - 4:30 pm

  • Cost Management and Community Engagement Through Zero-Based Budgeting

    Administrators of financially healthy schools are always looking for ways to manage expenses, while those who face financial challenges cannot cut their way to success. Cost management can be a priority or an imperative for survival. Budgeting seems like a simple process, but that hasn't always been the case. Learn how to simplify your school's budgeting process with zero-based budgeting. Review best practices to educate your school's community leaders to develop and track their budgets. Manage costs and engage your community in a more proactive budgeting process.

    Lisa Carbone Warren, Director of Finance and Operations, Moorestown Friends School
    Carol Lerner, Director of Finance and Operations, The Philadelphia School
    Aggie Malter, Executive Director, PAISBOA

  • Delivering the Numbers to Your School's Diverse Constituencies

    Financial reports and key performance indicators (KPIs) inform your constituents about the performance and disposition of your school. These resources influence key decisions made by faculty, administration, parents, donors and board members. Business officers must effectively communicate financial data to these diverse stakeholders, many of whom may not have extensive experience with financial/accounting matters. Explore best practices in identifying and presenting meaningful financial reports and KPIs.

    Joanne McDaniel, Associate Director of Finance, Beaver Country Day School
    Thomas Muldoon, Partner, AAFCPAs
    Tim Parson, Director of Finance and Operations, Beaver Country Day School

  • Designing a Strategic Auxiliary-Programs Plan

    Are you interested in elevating the performance of your school's auxiliary programs? Discover a framework to identify school assets, define strategic goals and develop a coherent auxiliary-programs plan that maximizes your school's potential. With a focused plan in place, you will be able to implement programs that positively influence admissions, create efficiencies in auxiliary services and increase non-tuition revenue to support your school's mission. Get the tools you need to turn your auxiliary programs into essential assets.

    Karen McCann McClelland, Director of Auxiliary Programs, Sidwell Friends School
    Bill Rouse, Founding Member, Auxiliary Services Organization
    Nat Saltonstall, Director of Summer Programs, Beaver Country Day School

  • Driving Enrollment with Small (and Large) Projects

    When independent school leaders make the strategic commitment to build or renovate facilities, the decision process is surrounded by numerous financial and educational questions. How do you balance project size, investment and impact? How do you get from planning to move-in without breaking the bank? Does the project improve your school's public presence? Learn which projects provide the best value for enrollment, student retention and long-term flexibility. Find answers to these questions and outline strategies to successfully navigate the process.

    Frank Aloise, Chief Financial Officer, Springside Chestnut Hill Academy
    Ingrid Boucher, Founder and Principal, BLOOM
    Alan Metcalfe, Principal, Metcalfe
    Justin Wheeler, Chief Financial Officer, Delaware Valley Friends School

  • How to Terminate the Popular Teacher or Administrator

    Nearly every school administrator has to deal with the difficult situation of terminating an employee at some point. These can be difficult situations and, if not handled properly, can affect the good will of the school community. Examine issues that arise during the termination process, from managing the risk of possible litigation to delivering the news to the employee and the community. Understand the legal issues that may make the termination riskier, including prior requests for leave, previous complaints by the employee, possible whistle-blower issues and the potential impact of probationary periods.

    Susan Guerette, Partner, Fisher & Phillips LLP
    Cindy Nichols, HR Manager, The Episcopal Academy

  • Leadership Lessons from the Fields of Gettysburg

    Participate in this engaging leadership-development program that draws parallels between battle strategies and critical leadership traits. The Battle of Gettysburg will be used to show that new technology has rendered conventional war strategies obsolete, just as a difficult economic climate has tempered the effectiveness of independent schools' traditional recruitment, retention and fund-raising efforts.

    Linda Dennison, Associate Head for Finance and Operations, Indian Creek School
    Paco Rodriguez, President and Co-Founder, SAGE Dining Services

  • Preparing for the New Emphasis on Liquidity

    Learn about new accounting standards effective in 2018 that require schools to disclose quantitative and qualitative information about liquidity in their audited financial statements. Consider how to form a liquidity policy consistent with the school's strategic plan, budget and spend policy.

    Deborah Anderson, Business Manager, Foxcroft School
    Rob Eby, Partner, Aronson LLC
    Jill Fields, Senior Vice President and Education Specialist, SunTrust Bank

  • Special Interest Group: Boarding Schools

    Boarding school professionals are invited to take part in this interactive dialogue with experienced colleagues. Participate in an open discussion of issues and concerns facing boarding schools and schools with boarding of all sizes.

    Charles McCullagh, Chief Financial Officer, Williston Northampton School
    Sandi Pierce, Assistant Head, Finance and Operations, Cate School

  • Special Interest Group: Controllers

    Join your colleagues for a facilitated discussion about shared issues specific to controllers. Controllers from the independent school community will be on-hand to share years of independent school and business experience in an open Q&A format led by NBOA's Director, Accounting and Tax Programs, Jennifer Hillen. This will be an informative forum where hot topics will include the FASB not-for-profit accounting overhaul as well as current tax legislation impacting independent schools as well as other ongoing issues for business offices.

    Jennifer Hillen, Vice President, Professional Development and Business Affairs, NBOA
    Mary Kay Markunas, Director, Research and Member Resources, NBOA

  • When the Worst Happens: Responding to Alumni Allegations of Abuse

    With increased awareness of appropriate boundaries, and a growing number of schools releasing reports of investigations into sexual misconduct, administrators should be prepared for the possibility that their own alumni may assert that they were abused in the past and seek to have the school investigate their concerns. Understand the liability considerations in investigating (or not investigating) allegations of abuse lodged by alumni. Develop a sensitivity to the concerns that may be raised by various constituencies and familiarize yourself with the progression of an investigation.

    Laura Kirschstein, Vice President, Sexual Misconduct Consulting and Investigations, T&M Protection Resources
    Christopher Lukach, President, Anne Klein Communications Group
    Caryn Pass, Partner, Chair, Education Practice, Venable LLP


CPE Credit

NBOA is registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) as a sponsor of continuing professional education on the National Registry of CPE Sponsors. State boards of accountancy have final authority on the acceptance of individual courses for CPE credit. Complaints regarding registered sponsors may be submitted to the National Registry of CPE Sponsors through its website:


SHRM Credit

NBOA is recognized by SHRM to offer SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP professional development credits (PDCs). The total number of credit hours available for an individual varies based on sessions attended. For more information about certification or recertification, please visit


HRCI Credit

NBOA is registered with the Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCI) as a sponsor of continuing professional education. Sessions that have met the HR Certification Institute's criteria to be pre-approved for recertification credit will be noted in the 2018 Annual Meeting mobile app under the Schedule. The use of this seal is not an endorsement by the HR Certification Institute of the quality of the program.