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Conferences and Workshops
(Click here for the 2019-2020 Professional Development Series PDF)


2011 Heads of School Conference

Thursday, January 27, 2011 9:00 am - Friday, January 28, 2011 4:00 pm

323 East Wacker
Chicago, IL

Dear Heads of School,

The theme of this year’s heads conference is Planning for the Future in Challenging Times.  We will open with two visions of that future.  First Pat Bassett from NAIS will give us his current thoughts on financial sustainability in the “new normal” world we will live in following the recession.  Then Terry Moore from Independent School Management (ISM) will describe his organization’s vision for 21st century schools.  They will each reflect on issues such as  class size, teacher salaries and benefits, teacher load, and alternative income streams, which should provide intriguing perspectives on what may lie ahead for our schools.

After lunch we will have two of our own—John Strudwick from Lake Forest Academy and Shelley Greenwood from Latin School of Chicago—join Pat and Terry on a panel to reflect on the morning’s talks, give their own thoughts, and field questions from all of us.  Then we will retire to smaller conclaves so everyone can have their say on the topic of sustainability and other issues facing our schools.  This conference is meant for heads to talk to the only people who truly understand—other heads. The conclaves provide that opportunity, as do the more informal lunches and the Thursday night reception and dinner.

Late Thursday afternoon and early Friday morning we have opportunities for regional meetings, the progressive heads group, and beginning and experienced visiting team leaders to convene.

The group as a whole will come back together Friday at 9:30 a.m. to hear a presentation on another topic so important for our future—marketing.  Marketing is changing with an increasingly rapid pace it seems, and the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern has international expertise at monitoring and explaining that change.  They are sending one of their top presenters, Richard Honack, to give us an overview of “Leading and Marketing in a Nanosecond World.”  You will not want to miss this session.

Friday afternoon, we have a series of workshops on four topics.  Want to read Dewey and discuss education?  Ward Ghory from the University School of Milwaukee, another of our own, who is, sadly, leaving us, has found a few pages in Education and Experience that are actually accessible, and, he and I think, important for all educators to read or reread.  And discuss!  (Those who sign up for this session will be sent a copy of the chapter for homework.)  Sacha Litman, who couldn’t come last year, will be with us this year to talk about using survey data to make decisions and plan for the future.  ISACS contracted with his company, Measuring Success, to do a past parent and alumni survey, and four of our schools beta tested it this fall.  He will report on that as well.  For new heads and those struggling with board relations, we have Jonathan Schick coming to talk on best board practice.  Jonathan was well received at the NAIS Annual Convention last February. Finally, we have another of our own, Scott Looney from Hawken School, to talk on moving people from compliance to conversion during times of change, including tough personnel decisions, which are a small (but tough) part of school improvement.

This conference is designed just for heads of schools.  The topics could not be more relevant to what we face as a group.  It would be great if all of you could attend.

-Keith Shahan, ISACS President

"Planning for the Future in Challenging Times"

The heads conference will begin at 9:00 am (registration will begin at 8:00 am) on Thursday, January 27 and conclude at 4:00 pm on Friday, January 28, 2011.

Please note that Thursday starts at 9:00 am.

Keynote Speakers

  • Patrick F. Bassett, NAIS
  • Terry Moore, ISM
  • Richard P. Honack, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University

Featured Speakers

  • Sacha Litman, Measuring Success
  • Jonathan Schick, GOAL Consulting

Heads of School Speakers

  • Shelley Greenwood, Latin School of Chicago
  • John Strudwick, Lake Forest Academy
  • Ward Ghory, University School of Milwaukee
  • Scott Looney, Hawken School

Click here for keynote and featured speaker bios.

Click here to view the schedule of events.
Click here for the printed conference brochure which will also be sent to your school shortly.

All registrants and spouses/partners are invited to attend the official conference dinner at the Swissôtel, in the Edelweiss Room on the 43rd floor. The Edelweiss room provides a magnificent view of the city's skline and unparalleled vistas of Lake Michigan. The reception and dinner will be an opportunity to enjoy Chicago while mingling with your peers in a social setting. The reception begins at 6:15 pm with dinner following at 7:00 pm.

Pre-registration is required for this dinner event for yourself and your guest. Dinner is included in your registration fee; pre-registration is required during the online registration process. If you are bringing a guest, an additional fee of $75 is required. Please call the ISACS office to register your guest for the dinner. There is no onsite registration for the dinner.

We invite heads of school to bring along their spouse/partner to Chicago. Spouses and partners are welcome to attend any session and lunch at no charge. If your spouse/partner plans to join ISACS for any of the meal functions, please call the ISACS office at 312-255-1244.

The conference will take place at the Swissôtel, 323 E. Wacker Drive, Chicago, IL.

The Swissôtel
323 East Wacker Drive
Chicago, IL

The conference will take place at The Swissôtel, designed by Harry Weiss, the Swissôtel is a triangular glass building – one of the distinctive features of the city skyline along the Chicago River. The hotel is within walking distance of the best attractions the city of Chicago has to offer like Millennium Park, Grant Park, the Art Institute of Chicago, the theater district, and the Magnificent Mile.

ISACS has secured special discounted room rates at the Swissôtel:

  • $129/night for standard king single or double occupancy.
  • $159/night for single or double occupancy plus access to executive lounge cache which serves breakfast each morning (6:30 am – 10:00 am) and evening hors d’oeuvres (5:30 pm – 9:00 pm) with soft drinks and water plus access to computer and internet/printer, newspapers and flat screen tv’s.
  • The room rates above include complimentary Internet in the sleeping rooms and complimentary access to the health club.

Please call the hotel directly to make a reservation at 312-565-0565 reserve a room and use the group code “





ISACS 2011 Heads of School Conference" or "Independent Schools Association. " Discounted room rates are available until Friday, January 21st.

Online hotel room booking is available here. Please note when booking online that in order to receive the $159/rate, on the left hand corner of webpage above the dates, there is a pull down option, please select executive lounge and the dates and enter and the $159 rate will appear. If you want a standard room, select attendee in the pull down menu and you will see that option (as well as upgraded rooms that do not have the executive lounge privileges).

Please note that any reservation cancelled within 48 hours of arrival date will be charged one night room and tax.


  • Click here for directions and parking information for the Swissôtel.
  • Special daily parking at the Swissôtel is $16 per day for the ISACS Heads of School Conference (Please obtain a voucher from the ISACS registration area to receive the daily discounted parking rate. Special overnight parking rates are $42 per night.


  • $600 Member
  • $700 Non Member
  • 50% discount for those new heads registered for the New Heads Institute. ISACS will make the change to your registration after the new heads institute participant has registered.
  • Registration fee includes Thursday evening dinner, 2 lunches and 2 continental breakfast.

Cancellations must be received in writing to ISACS, 1165 North Clark Street, Suite 311, Chicago, IL 60610 or, ten business days prior to the Heads Conference to receive a 50% refund. Cancellations received less than 10 days before the event will not receive a refund.


Member Cost: $600     Non-member Cost: $700


55 West Wacker, Suite 701 · Chicago, IL 60601 · Telephone (312) 750-1190 · Fax (312) 750-1193
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