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One-Hour Workshops: Governance Track

Designed for boards of trustees and heads of schools in their role as liaisons with the board, these workshops focus on all aspects of board governance.​​​​​​

  • Block 1 (Thursday, March 2, 8:00 - 9:00 AM)
    • Greening Your Mission: High-Impact Environmental Strategic Planning and Partnerships

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      Environmental stress is a central challenge facing humanity, and schools are increasingly placing environmental sustainability at the center of mission and program. Using The Gunston School’s innovative environmental strategic planning process as a model, this session will focus on how such planning can enhance a school’s curriculum and physical plant, as well as lead to the development of new programs and high-impact partnerships.
      Presented ByJohn Lewis and Emily Beck, The Gunston School; Tom Ackerman, The Chesapeake Bay Foundation
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      Explore How can boards and school leaders effectively use environmental strategic planning to integrate environmental sustainability into the heart of their school's mission and practice? What are the elements of a successful and high-impact environmental strategic planning process? How can diverse institutional partnerships serve to amplify a school’s “environmental mission”?
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    • Leadership Coaching: A Powerful Practice to Support the New Head of School

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      In the last 15 years, executive coaching has grown from a relatively novel to a mainstream development activity in organizations worldwide. Join two current school heads who benefitted from working with an executive coach and two former heads who are now certified executive coaches in a discussion focusing on the coaching process and the value of coaching for heads and schools.
      Presented ByAnn Teaff, certified executive coach; Paul Barton, Holy Innocents Episcopal School (GA); Bill Clarkson, certified executive coach; Lisa Lyle, Mary Institute Country Day School (MO)
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      ExploreWhat is the value of an executive coach from the research on coaching and from the view point of a new head, and how is it different from mentoring? What are examples of the work you as a head have done with a coach that has had particular value for you and the school you serve? What were the challenges for you as you worked with your coach?
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    • Mapping the Change from an Operational to a Strategic/Generative Board

      343

      NAIS Virtual Pass Audio

      Are your trustees failing to accomplish important long-range work because they spend too much time on day-to-day oversight? Are board meetings dreaded events instead of opportunities for leadership and partnership? This session will explore concrete steps to move your board from being too operational to focusing on strategic and generative questions.
      Presented ByDavid Michelman and MC Ragsdale, Duke School (NC)
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      ExploreWhat are the practical obstacles to moving your board from overly fiduciary to strategic and generative? What are practical strategies to change the work of the board to more strategic and generative? What is the road map to make such changes?
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  • Block 2 (Thursday, March 2, 11:15 AM - 12:15 PM)
    • Best Practices for Mission-Based Risk Management

      330

      What are the best ways for administrators and boards to serve the school's mission as they navigate risks? Proactive risk management requires teamwork among administrators, boards, and outside professionals. Using case studies, this interactive workshop will identify potential pitfalls that are unique to the school setting. It will provide practical methods for managing risks in a way that advances your mission.
      Presented ByGeoffrey Genth, Kramon & Graham, P.A; Penny Evins, St. Paul's School for Girls (MD); Clifford Lull, former board chair of St. Paul's School for Girls (MD); Michael Young, SC&H Group
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      Explore When should school heads call the lawyer, the board chair, the PR specialist, and when should they call it a day? What are the pitfalls that are unique to the school setting and that should be seen and steered clear of to manage risk and advance mission? What methods are most important to school administrators and board members in fulfilling their roles in managing risk in a way that advances mission?
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    • Healthy Head of School Transitions for Small Schools

      344

      NAIS Virtual Pass Audio

      The recent head of school transition at Maple Street School went exceptionally smoothly, and this was by no means an accident. It was a result of clear forethought, careful planning, timely communication with everyone involved with or affected by the transition, as well as a set of common goals for all. Find out how Maple Street has set itself up for success heading into the next chapter of its life.
      Presented ByJeffrey Barclay, Amy Panitz, and Fanning Hearon, Maple Street School (VT); Fran M. Bisselle, Hathaway Brown School (OH)
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      Explore How does our new head of school get integrated into our community? How is communication and a plan of action facilitated between the new head and board? Who should be involved with the head's transition and goal setting?
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    • How to Find and Keep an Exceptional Board Chair (or Mentor a Poor One)

      338

      NAIS Virtual Pass Audio

      Most board chairs are loyal, embrace the partnership with the head, build consensus on their boards, and bring passion and time to the position (and money to the school). How does a head (along with the nominating committee) find and encourage a capable chair to serve or continue to serve? And how does a head or board handle a chair either unwilling or unable to learn the role? Both heads and chairs will find the true case studies used in this session enlightening.
      Presented ByJohn Littleford, Littleford & Associates
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      Explore What options does a board have when it inherits or elects a board chair who does not live up to expectations or performs poorly in a crisis?  What does the head do in this awkward and serious situation? When it finds a “gem” how do the board and head entice them to stay in the role for as long as possible?
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    • Thriving or Barely Surviving? Strategies for School Board Success

      339

      NAIS Virtual Pass Audio

      Why do some boards seem to flourish and others seem to flounder? This session will walk through steps for building a more diversified board and address best practices for focusing on the long-term health and sustainability of your school. Topics include brand member skill sets, strategic planning, and fundraising.
      Presented ByDavid Schriver, Ellin & Tucker
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      Explore How do you assemble an independent school board with a focus on strategic diversification of members and trustees? What strategies will ensure that all board members take seriously their responsibility to give back financially and introduce the school to new financial partners in the community? What key functions should boards do to help make the school financially sound and viable for the long-term?
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  • Block 3 (Thursday, March 2, 1:15 - 2:15 PM)
    • A Strategic Agenda: Creating Meaningful Accountability Between the Board and Leadership

      328

      Are you looking for a way to facilitate ongoing and authentic conversations between your board and school leadership team? Do you want a plan that is integrated with your mission, vision, and values? Join us to learn about our creation of a strategic agenda. It's a flexible and living document built upon our mission, values, vision, and brand that fosters meaningful conversation and accountability between our leadership team and board.
      Presented ByDawn Marie Cunnion and Michael Riera, Brentwood School (CA)
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      Explore How does a strategic agenda incorporate a school's values, mission, brand, constituent reactions, and vision? What was the process of creating the strategic agenda and who was included in the various steps? How are the atrategic agenda and other elements used to foster regular and ongoing conversations and accountability that guide the work of the school's leadership team and board?
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    • A Transformational Approach to Thrivability

      329

      Ensuring a strong financial future is complex. It requires boards and leadership teams to have a deep understanding of essential data and institutional narrative. NAIS and NBOA, with support from the Edward E. Ford Foundation, are partnering to develop resources that will facilitate a transformational approach to strategic conversation about thrivability. You are invited to participate, learn, and shape this journey with us.
      Presented ByJeff Shields, National Business Officers Association; Tim Fish, NAIS
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      Explore What do boards need to know about financial thrivability? How can data inform strategic decisions? What does an effective school leadership team and board strategic partnership look like?
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    • Make New Friends But Keep the Old: Including "Outside" Trustees on Your Board

      342

      NAIS Virtual Pass Audio

      Traditionally, trustees are recruited from the school community. But a new breed of trustees is joining the ranks: the interested outsider. These trustees forge relationships and partnerships. They also provide expertise, diversity, and an outside perspective. The benefits of, and strategies for, finding, recruiting, and embracing these "outside" trustees will be explored.
      Presented ByMike Saxenian and Lynn Friedman, McLean School of Maryland (MD); Valaida Wise, National Child Research Center
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      Explore What are the benefits of recruiting and integrating outside trustees onto your board? What sorts of expertise, and diversity, might these trustees bring and how might they contribute to the mission, values, and sustainability of the school? What steps can board leaders take to ensure that these trustees, once appointed, are oriented, integrated and embraced?
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    • Need Board Education? Join Forces and Find Solutions: The Governance Roundtable

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      The Governance Roundtable gathered trustees and heads from 12 California schools facing the same challenges: affordability, adaptability, financial sustainability, measuring value-added, and more. The result was rich collaboration and practical takeaways. We’ll explain how to develop and deliver a roundtable, review our structure and topics, and share tips to help you optimize this powerful trustee education model.
      Presented ByOlaf Jorgenson, Almaden Country School (CA); Tekakwitha Pernambuco-Wise, Sea Crest School (CA)
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      ExploreHow can schools provide concentrated, meaningful education for its trustees (who are volunteers and may have limited time and bandwidth to devote to board education)? How can schools in a competitive market build collaborative relationships to tackle shared school leadership challenges? What practical takeaways does the governance roundtable model provide?
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    • New Essential Attributes for School Leaders

      315

      Based on his own work as a board chair, governance consultant, and search consultant, Skip Kotkins will tell you about the most desirable skills in a head of school. Some are teachable skills, but many are predispositions of character and personality. These are the strengths that enable you to build enrollment, manage parents, support faculty, partner with your board, create high-performing communities, raise money, and adapt to the new normal.
      Presented BySkip Kotkins, Carney, Sandoe, & Associates
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  • Block 5 (Friday, March 3, 11:15 AM - 12:15 PM)
    • Designing Heads' Contracts: Maximizing the Payment of Compensation and Benefits

      339

      NAIS Virtual Pass Audio

      The head of school agreement can serve as an important component of a successful relationship. This session will focus on the range of strategies schools can use to motivate the heads of school to perform at their highest level and to remain at their schools. You'll learn about the benefits boards can provide that are attractive to the head and cost effective for the school. The session will focus on the pitfalls to avoid and approaches to use when drafting language.
      Presented ByCaryn Pass and Harry Atlas, Venable, LLP
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      Explore How can I draft a head of school contract that meets the needs of the head as well as the school? How can my school incentivize the head to perform at their highest level by building in timed benefits? How can my school design a contract that ensures the head feels motivated and rewarded for the work they perform?
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    • Gather, Utilize, and Capitalize on Information for Fact-Based Decision Making

      326

      Discover a system to evaluate a school’s performance through trend analysis and benchmarking. Originally created a decade ago to objectively measure progress on key strategic initiatives, University School’s Trustee’s Resource Book serves as a foundation for good decision making and has been a valuable management tool for school leadership as well as the board.
      Presented ByDon Molten, University School - Shaker Campus (OH); Jonathan Bridge and Laura Marshall, University School (OH)
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      Explore How can my school obtain, track, and analyze strategic information in a way that does not consume extraordinary resources? Using carefully mined data and appropriate benchmarking metrics, how is my school doing in achieving its critical strategic initiatives? How does a head of school use fact-based information effectively to manage "upward" with the board to gain support for important strategic decisions?
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    • Not Enough or TMI: What the Board Needs To Know and When They Need to Know It

      342

      NAIS Virtual Pass Audio

      Using real-world examples involving serious incidents of student or employee misconduct, this session will illustrate when the head should contact the board chair, when the chair should contact the executive committee, and when — if at all — the full board needs to be informed. You’ll see that the situation grows more sensitive when there’s a possibility of scrutiny by the media or the public. The presenters will articulate a baseline structure for communication decisions. They will also explore trustees’ obligations to maintain confidentiality and the particular challenges facing parent-trustees.
      Presented BySusan E. Schorr, Tennant Lubell, LLC; Vince Watchorn, The Providence Country Day School (RI)
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      Explore How can independent schools strategically build an improved culture of engagement from the moment a student is accepted to their time as an alumnus?
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  • Block 6 (Friday, March 3, 1:15 - 2:15 PM)
    • Crisis Management in Schools: Lessons Learned

      321

      A crisis requires knowledgable leaders who can immediately implement a plan that covers communication needs, legal implications, and community safety and security. Based on two real-life case studies, this interactive session will prepare you to take the necessary action. You will leave the session with a clearly designed plan to handle significant events in your school.
      Presented ByMary Seppala, Educators' Collaborative, LLC; Stephen Druggan, Springside Chestnut Hill Academy (PA)
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      Explore Am I prepared to respond effectively should my school experience a crisis? What steps might I take to safeguard my school against risk? What organizations and resources are available to assist in a crisis situation?
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    • Passing the Torch: Effective and Successful Head of School Transition

      341

      NAIS Virtual Pass Audio

      The most important task for any school may well be to select and then ensure a smooth transition for a new head. In this session, learn about how a school with a long-tenured head handled the search, selection, and plan for transition. While paying careful attention to all aspects of the process but emphasizing successful transition, presenters will discuss the process, offer strategies, and welcome your questions.
      Presented ByLinda Gibbs, Resource Group 175; Jean Brune, retired head; Ashley Thayer and Catherine McDonnell, Roland Park Country School (MD)
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      Explore What is the process for effective transition in a search? What are practical strategies to make it work successfully? Why is this transition important for the outgoing head, the incoming head and the board of trustees as well as the entire school community?
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    • The Self-Healing Board: A Master Class in Staying on Track Through Any Challenge

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      Even the best boards go through rough patches from time to time. Some manage to get themselves back on track while others fall into still greater stages of dysfunction. Drawing on experience as board chair, board member, and governance consultants, this session will explore case studies in what makes for a “self-healing board” that can self-correct and get back on track.
      Presented ByMarc Frankel and Judith Schechtman, Triangle Associates; Lisa Flashner, Wildwood School (CA)
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      Explore What makes a board self-healing? How can boards pull themselves back from the brink? What characteristics make for enduring board health?
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