Heads of School

Heads Dinner
Sessions for Heads of School Only
Sessions for Heads and Senior Management
Speed Sessions

heads dinner



Friday, December 6 • 6:45 – 9:30 pm
Fairmont Copley Plaza
138 St. James Avenue, 1st Floor
Boston MA

sessions for heads



Complimentary Pre-Conference session for new Heads — and Heads new to Boarding — who began their roles in 2019 or 2020 as Heads of School (TABS members only)

Thursday, December 5 • 8:30am – 3:00pm 
Suzanne Walker Buck, Head of School, Western Reserve Academy, OH
Alex Curtis, Head of School, Choate Rosemary Hall, CT
Laura Danforth, Head of School, The Masters School, NY
Brian P. Easler, Head of School, Wilbraham & Monson Academy, MA
Anthony Sgro, Ed.D., Head of School, Asheville School, NC

Being a Head is being a leader. Heading a Boarding School is a unique journey encompassing many domains of leadership. Designed specifically for new Heads just starting or about to begin the journey, TABS New Heads Symposium is a rich, day-long exploration of the challenges and opportunities of leading your community, your school, your organization—and yourself.  A faculty of boarding school Heads with diverse experiences will share what you can expect professionally and personally, and offer thoughts on how to best orient yourself for initial and enduring success. The program does not replace, but builds upon the NAIS New Heads Institute and other standing offerings in the field, yet it takes a singular view of the unique dimensions and differences of boarding school Headship. In addition to key information and sound professional counsel, you’ll also develop a peer network of new and experienced Boarding School Heads, and leave with a set of resources you can carry with you as you step forward into leadership.


For Heads & Trustees
Friday, December 6 • 3:15 – 4:30 pm

Join this interactive and informative session to explore the increasing epidemic of student stress and mental health issues. We will review emerging themes in higher education including research and data and the primary factors that are leading to growing anxiety and depression in all students as well as the implications for our schools. What is the landscape, why are we here and how can we practically improve overall support for individual teens, as well as cultivate and nurture a culture of resilience for our schools in general.

Please join Dr. Daniel P. Keating, PhD, for this dynamic and timely discussion.

heads and senior


Best Practices for the Amicable Bermuda Triangle:
Navigating Good Governance Among the Head of School,
the Board of Trustees, and Legal Counsel

In a lively and interactive format, Williston’s experienced Head of School, Board Chair and legal counsel will discuss answers to the eternal questions: when does the Head of School resolve an issue independently? Which topics merit legal advice? When should the Board get involved? The Board Chair only? The Executive Committee? The entire Board? With examples from many actual situations, this experienced trio will shed light on these queries and more.

Sara Goldsmith Schwartz, Founder and President, Schwartz Hannum PC, MA
Robert Hill III, Head of School, The Williston Northampton School, MA
John Hazen White, Jr., Board Chair, The Williston Northampton School, MA

Financial Health Indicators for Heads of School

The vital statistics of general health for individuals – blood pressure, pulse, heart rate, weight, height, and family history. The vital statistics for independent schools – program net, grants, philanthropy net, operating contribution, full pay seats, and feet per seat. Join this panel of 5 heads of school and EE Ford to explore a 15 metric dashboard for deep, board dialog and discourse, as well as analyzing and assessing enterprise sustainability for near and long-term performance. This session will include performance data on 175 boarding schools and extended Q&A.

John Gulla, Executive Director, EE Ford Foundation, NY
Randy Bertin, Head of School, Cushing Academy, MA
Suzanne Walker Buck, Head of School, Western Reserve Academy, OH
Laura Danforth, Head of School, Masters School, NY

Dan Marchetti, Head of School, Hebron Academy, ME
Jody Soja, Head of School, Indian Mountain School, CT
William Kummel, Principal, Rational Partners, NY

Friend and Foe: Technology in Boarding Schools

Schools must keep up with rapidly evolving technology to be competitive. Students and faculty often adopt new technology before schools can evaluate it. New technologies offer many benefits, but they also come with significant potential risk and schools cannot afford to overlook these risks. We will explore some of these risks and how to best address them. Topics will include: texting; sexting; cyber-bullying; e-discovery; cyber-breaches; lost data; hidden cameras; electronic eavesdropping; social media, and more.

Chris Duble, CEO, Fred C. Church, MA
Martin, Upper School Dean, The Perkiomen School, PA
Kathleen Giles, Rector, St. Paul’s School, NH
David Wolowitz, Senior Director, McLane Middleton, PA, MA

From Hiring to Thriving: Rethinking New Faculty Orientation

During this interactive session, we will review a new faculty orientation model designed to support new faculty through mission-centered alignment, ongoing new faculty affinity group meetings, opportunities for reflective practice, and management grounded in identifying essential competencies, motivators, and behavioral qualities. This approach is designed to help new faculty not only do the job, but love the work! Participants are encouraged to share their own practice in their respective schools.

Michael Spencer, Vice Rector for Faculty, St. Paul’s School, NH
Lori Bohan, Dean of Studies, St. Paul’s School, NH

Helicopters to Bulldozers: Constructive Ways to Work with Parents

You know who they are. The parent who demands to be present at the student disciplinary hearing. The parent who repeatedly berates employees about how they and the school are failing their child. Explore how schools are using enrollment and handbook provisions to establish expectations of parental behavior and foster more positive relationships. Hear about how schools are using this foundation to manage unreasonable demands and educating employees to deal with abusive behavior.

Linda Johnson, Attorney, McLane Middleton PA, NH
Peter Saliba, Head of School, Tilton School, NH
Jim Hulbert, Esq., Partner, The Jane Group, IL

Hiring the Next Generation of Boarding School Educators

This presentation will focus on the rise of Generations Y and Z and the increasing rate of retirement among the Baby Boomer cohort and how this will impact staffing in boarding schools. We will explore the difference between generational groups regarding their views towards jobs, education, work/life balance, compensation, and lifestyles.

Greg Martin, Upper School Dean, Perkiomen School, PA

I Didn’t Know That!

How do you remove a bear which has taken up residence on campus? Who has the right to view confidential student recommendations? Does your school allow minors to rideshare? How are you accommodating transgender athletes on the playing field? What do we do about social media and FOMO? The adage, “same problem, different day,” does not always apply to the life of an administrator at a residential boarding school. Heads of School and the administrative team have a complex body of constituents including students, parents, trustees, faculty and staff…all of whom have differing needs and priorities and all of whom deserve a school administrator’s time, energy and thoughtfulness on a daily basis. Join this session to explore through various scenarios, some best alternatives.

Meera Viswanathan, Head of School, The Ethel Walker School, CT
Christopher Brigham, Shareholder, Updike, Kelly & Spellacy, P.C., CT

Leadership Structure for the Modern (Future) World

With change seemingly the only constant in our schools, heads of schools and their leadership teams must think dynamically about leadership hierarchies, decentralize the authority structure, and empower a distributed leadership model that supports effective performance at every level. Come prepared to dissect the experience of two schools as they have begun to implement distributed leadership across the campus. We will discuss why this leadership model is important for our schools’ survival by empowering our people and creating necessary space for the head of school to do an evolving job.

Katherine Titus, Head of School, Mercersburg Academy, PA
Rachel Stone, Head of School, Canterbury School, CT

Leading in the #Metoo Era: How to Proactively Address Sexual Violence & Foster a Culture of Respect

In 2016, the Emma Willard School was upended by the discovery of historic sexual misconduct. Rather than shy away from the experience, the Emma community committed to becoming leaders in preventing and responding to sexual violence and partnered with Culture of Respect, whose mission it is to build the capacity of educational institutions to end sexual violence. Join this session to explore the process, successes, challenges, lessons learned, and discuss how this model can be applied to other schools.

Allison Tombros Korman, Senior Director, Culture of Respect at NASPA, DC
Shelley Maher, Dean of Students and Wellbeing, Emma Willard School, NY
Emily Snyder, Director of Student Life, Emma Willard School, NY

Mastering Employee Misconduct Investigations: A Case Study

This lively and interactive session will identify and discuss the key considerations school leadership should be evaluating when planning, carrying out and concluding an investigation of employee misconduct. Utilizing a discussion-based case study method, led by experienced counsel and school leaders, participants will be challenged with many of the difficult issues schools face when investigating employee misconduct, and will receive clear and practical tips for following best practices and managing risk when conducting investigations.

Matthew Batastini, Managing Partner, Schwartz Hannum PC, MA
Christopher Fortunato, Head of School, Blair Academy, NJ
Ryan Pagotto, Associate Head of School, Blair Academy, NY

The Transformation Trifecta: Trends, Master Planning, and Implementation

Join us for a presentation and discussion regarding the current trends and paradigm shifts in boarding schools and the implications this has for facilities master planning and ultimately implementation. With two school leaders and using examples from multiple campuses, we will discuss current trends in dining halls, student centers, athletic facilities and fields and showcase how these insights impact future master planning and implementation.

Robert Schmidt, Director, Project Management, Colliers Project Leaders, CT
Michael Bergin, Chief Financial and Operating Officer, Miss Porter’s School, CT
Josh Hahn, Assistant Head of School, Director of Strategic Initiatives, The Hotchkiss School,CT

speed sessions


Leveraging Technology for Emergency Mass Notification Systems

How can organizations ensure everyone’s safety in the event of an emergency? Learn how to build a comprehensive emergency notification system that can reach all personnel both quickly and easily.

Miles Harriger, Director of Higher Education, Alertus Technologies, MD

Please “C” Our Kids That We Send from Russia with Love!

What can your school expect from recently admitted Russian students? This discussion will explore unique aspects pertaining to culture, care needs and communication relevant to Russian students.

Diane J. Riley, Head of Boarding & Pastoral Care/DSL, Letovo School, Moscow
Ivan Koshevoy, Deputy Head of Boarding and Pastoral Care, Letovo School, Moscow

The Challenge of Managing Teacher Texting

Teachers are responsible for maintaining professional roles with students and setting appropriate boundaries. Peer-like behavior by adults breaks down limits and promotes personal connections that can contribute to unhealthy relationships. Texting is a peer-to-peer activity. It involves informal language, nicknames, symbols, and abbreviations. Prohibitions against texting with students have proven to be unpopular and unenforceable. Learn how the inherent risk of teacher texting can be mitigated through a combination of technology, behavioral training and policies.

David Wolowitz, Senior Director, McLane Middleton, PA, MA

TuitionNet as a Strategic School Partner

Join this session to find out more about TuitionNet and how it can best serve your school.

Geoff Still, Vice President, Finance & Operations, The Association of Boarding Schools, NC

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