Professional Development > Conferences and Workshops

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


Academy for Division Heads
Kathy Dean, Jennifer Abrams & Leo J. Athas

Thursday, February 7, 2013 9:30 am - Friday, February 8, 2013 2:30 pm

Hotel Palomar
Chicago, IL


The Academy will begin at 9:30 am on Thursday, February 7 and will end by 2:30 pm on Friday, February 8. Click here  to view a tentative agenda. 

The role of division head is both rewarding and challenging and ISACS is committed to supporting division heads serving in this essential role.  Please make plans to gather with other division heads for two days of conversation with experts who will expand your thinking while expanding your leadership skills.  
On day one, Academy participants will work with Kathy Dean of Hiring and Leadership Systems.  High performing leaders have robust self-awareness.  They understand their strengths and how to leverage them.  They recognize their growth opportunities and how to develop from them.  This workshop is designed for leaders interested in gaining increased knowledge and awareness of their leadership talents, strength, and style.  As part of this workshop, participants will also have the opportunity to assess their Emotional Intelligence and reflect on how this impacts their leadership and group effectiveness.  To facilitate this learning experience, you will take a premier online leadership assessment.  It takes approximately 30 minutes and should be completed prior to the workshop. Only the facilitator will have access to the reports and will distribute them confidentially to each participant at the workshop.  Academy participants will work with Kathy Dean from Hiring and Development Systems, Inc. to review the results of their leadership assessments. This, coupled with engaging exercises and group discussions, will help participants more objectively evaluate and value their own leadership talents and challenges.  Each participant will develop an action plan at the end of the workshop, based on what was learned during the session.

Participants will also have the opportunity to work in smaller breakout groups around hot topics in legal issues for division heads, working effectively with new teachers, communicating with faculty, and group conversations titled “My Questions, Your Answers” which will allow for informal sharing of resources among colleagues.  Leo J. Athas, ISACS Retained General Counsel, will be leading the discussion on hot legal topics and ISACS’ Director of Professional Development will share research and resources related to supporting and retaining the new teachers in ISACS schools. Other breakout sessions will be facilitated by experienced leaders and members of the ISACS Administrative Services Committee. During online registration, registrants must pre-select breakout sessions. ISACS will provide attendees with breakout session assignments when they arrive at the conference.

Day two of the Academy will be spent with Jennifer Abrams on Having Hard Conversations. Each of us has survived a difficult conversation that did not end well.  Division heads regularly come up against situations where difficult topics must be addressed. Given that we might not have had much formal training in this area, what do we know about the best strategies for those moments? What questions should we be asking ourselves before we speak and what words should we use (or not use) so the conversation can be as humane, results-oriented and growth producing as possible?

This interactive workshop will address a wide range of situations, including communications with supervisees, colleagues, supervisors and parents.  Division heads will learn to speak with clarity and courage to directly address difficult situations within their schools. Participants will learn to:                                                                                                          

  • Identify why they hesitate having hard conversations
  • Design questions to ask themselves before they choose to speak
  • Articulate in professional language the challenges they are facing 
  • Determine the goals of the conversation and write an action plan of support
  • Script the conversation avoiding trigger words that put others on the defensive
For those who are interested, we will also host a discussion on Wednesday evening where both new and experienced division heads can discuss topics of interest, share resources and benefit from the perspective of other divisional leaders. This discussion is included in your registration fee.

On Thursday evening, join your colleagues for a dinner. As part of your registration fee, join your colleagues for dinner at Grand Luxe Café at 7:00 pm.

This event is designed specifically for division heads and we look forward to welcoming you back or meeting you for the first time.

Wednesday February 6 - Optional Forum Discussion
On Wednesday evening February 6th from 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm, ISACS will host an optional forum discussion at the Hotel Palomar:

“Division Head Forum” - A spirited conversation for new and veteran division heads who are looking to share experience, perspective, and expertise. Members of the Administrative Service Committee will facilitate the discussion.

There is no additional fee for this optional discussion. If you plan to attend the panel discussion, please select it during the online registration process. Pre-registration is required.

Thursday Evening Activity – February 7, 2013
All registrants are invited to attend a dinner at the Grand Lux Cafe. It will be an opportunity to enjoy Chicago while mingling with your peers in a social setting.

• Dinner: 7:00 pm at Grand Lux Cafe

• Grand Lux Cafe is just a few blocks from the Hotel Palomar. ISACS will provide walking directions/maps at the Academy.

The cost is included in your registration fee for the Academy for Division Heads. If you plan to register a spouse/guest, please call the ISACS office at 312-255-1244 as there will be an additional charge.

The Academy for Division Heads will take place at the Hotel Palomar, 505 North State Street in Chicago. Located in the River North area of Chicago, the Hotel Palomar is located near the Chicago River and North Michigan Avenue. Complimentary highlights of the Hotel Palomar include: a 24-hour fitness center, indoor pool, pet friendly policies, and complimentary coffee and tea and evening wine reception in the living room. Guests must join the Kimpton InTouch program (which is free of charge) to receive wireless internet access in guest rooms and common areas.

For more details on the Hotel Palomar, visit

Click here for directions to the Hotel Palomar.

Hotel Reservations
Attendees must make their own hotel reservations. ISACS has secured special discounted room rates at the Hotel Palomar: $149/night plus tax (single or double occupancy) for the nights of February 6 – February 7. To make a reservation call 1-800-KIMPTON and use Group Code: "ISACS Academy for Division Heads." An online link for reservations will be forthcoming. The discounted rate is available until Wednesday, January 16, 2013.

Valet parking at the Hotel Palomar is $18 for daily event parking (not overnight) and $50 for overnight parking for hotel guests with full in-and-out privileges. ISACS has negotiated that those using overnight parking can depart by 3:00 pm with no additional charges. (Typically, additional charges to overnight parking get added at 2 pm.)  Note: Hybrid vehicles receive a 25% discount. There are other parking garages in the area that may offer less expensive rates.

Registration Fee
• $550 Member
• $625 Non Member
• First registrant pays full fee, each additional registrant receives a $50 discount.
• Registration fee includes 2 continental breakfasts, 2 lunches and dinner on Thursday, February 7th.

• Please call the ISACS office at 312-255-1244 if you would like to attend only one day of the Academy

Cancellation Policy
Cancellations must be received in writing to ISACS by emailing 10 business days prior to the event to receive a 50% refund. Cancellations received within 10 days of the event will not receive a refund. Registration may be transferred to another member from the same school. ISACS reserves the right to cancel the Academy for insufficient enrollment. In this case, participants will be notified and given a full refund.

Questions? Please call 312-255-1244.


Member Cost: $550     Non-member Cost: $625


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