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Conferences and Workshops
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2014 Heads of School Conference

January 30 - 31, 2014

Chicago, IL

Online registration for the Heads Conference is now closed. If you would like to register, please call the ISACS office at 312-750-1190.

Dear Heads of School,

Once again this year I urge you to attend the 2014 ISACS Heads Conference.  This conference is designed specifically for heads.  In my travels and conversations over the last five years I have become more and more aware of the uniqueness of the independent school headship. There just isn’t any other job like it in education or anywhere. That is why it is important to come to this conference where topics are geared to your perspective and where everyone there can provide support and useful information.

The topics for the conference, The Head’s Perspective II are: communicating the school’s value proposition, green schooling, change/tough personnel decisions, international opportunities, communications in a crisis, managing adults in our schools, blended learning, and independent school business operations. For each, we will bring in a speaker (or speakers) with significant experience with that particular topic, and ask them to address it from the perspective of the head of school.  There will be time in each session for heads to ask questions and join the conversation.  Heads will be able to select up to four of the topics.

John Chubb, the new president of NAIS will keynote on Thursday, speaking on the topic, Independent Schools: A Growth Industry.  That should be interesting.  During my tenure, the industry has been flat at best, so I am eager to hear Dr. Chubb’s ideas.

Conclave sessions for heads of similar schools have become an enjoyable and important part of every heads conference.  We also have a session for Michigan heads, Ohio heads, progressive school heads, training sessions for beginning and experienced visiting team heads, and a session for Indiana school heads to plan for the Annual Conference in Indianapolis November, 2014.  Informal breaks and meals, including a lovely dinner on Thursday night at The Mid-America Club high above Chicago in the AON Building, will provide plenty of time for networking and socializing. 

For the closing keynote on Friday, Rob Evans will present on the health of the head.  A fitting end to a conference meant for heads, Rob will share observations about the balance between personal life and professional life in the headship.  Rob is a clinical psychologist by training, and there is no one with greater wisdom about working in our schools. 

The conference will end after Rob’s speech at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, so make your travel plans accordingly.  We will have “bonus” workshops from 2:15 – 3:30 pm, however, for those who want to stay or have later flights. These bonus sessions will include Leo Athas, retained ISACS legal counsel, who will discuss current legal matters of importance to independent schools, and an open-ended Q&A discussion session with Rob Evans and me and the attendees on anything or everything you always wanted to know.

This conference should be a great professional learning experience as well as a good break to catch up with old colleagues and meet new ones.  I would love to see all of you there, as this will be my last head’s conference as ISACS president.

Keith Shahan
ISACS President

The Head’s Perspective, II
A conference brochure will be sent to each of head of school.  Click here to view the brochure.

Dates and Time
The conference will begin at 9:30 am (registration at 8:30 am) on Thursday, January 30 and will conclude at 2:00 pm on Friday, January 31, 2015, with bonus sessions ending at 3:30 pm for those who can stay.

Keynote Speakers

  • John Chubb, NAIS
  • Robert Evans, The Human Relations Service

Featured Speakers

  • Courtney Cavallier, Shattuck- St. Mary's School
  • Paul Chapman, Inverness Associates
  • Jane and Jim Hulbert, The Jane Group
  • Scott Looney, The Hawken School
  • Jeff Shields, National Business Officers Association (NBOA)
  • Nick Stoneman and Kathy Layendecker, Shattuck- St. Mary’s School

Click here for keynote and featured speaker bios.

Schedule and Session Descriptions
Click here to view the conference schedule.
Click here for session descriptions.

Thank you to ERB, sponsors of the Thursday luncheon.

ERB is the only educational member association offering online and paper/pencil achievement and admission services to schools, PreK - Grade 12, as well as additional Pathways to Learning online supplemental support programs.

Thank you to Independent School Benefits Consortium (ISBC) sponsors of the Friday luncheon.

Now more than ever, offering benefits to faculty & staff is a shifting landscape with complex questions. The ISBC has been helping schools navigate and stabilize their benefits decisions with comprehensive offerings for 10 years. Created by Oswald in conjunction with a steering committee of your peers, ISBC provides a predictable, high-service benefits alternative with the advantage of risk-reduction initiatives. During this health care evolution, evaluate ISBC as the solution for your independent school.

Reception and Dinner - Thursday, January 30, 2014
All registrants and spouses/partners are invited to attend the official conference dinner at the Mid-America Club, (on the 80th Floor of the Aon Center), 200 East Randolph Drive, Chicago, just two blocks from the Swissôtel. The Mid-America Club, provides a 360-degree panoramic view of the city's distinctive skyline and unparalleled vistas of Lake Michigan and Millennium Park. The reception and dinner will be an opportunity to enjoy Chicago while mingling with your peers in a social setting. The reception begins at 6:00 pm with dinner following at 7:00 pm.

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.

Transportation may be provided depending on the weather. More details to follow.

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 312-750-1190.

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

Hotel Accommodations
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:

  • $152/night for standard king single or double occupancy.
  • Unfortunately the hotel no longer offers an executive lounge.
  • 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 to reserve a room and use the group code "ISACS 2014 Heads of School Conference".  Discounted rooms are still available. 

If you are having problems booking a hotel room at the discounted rate, please call the ISACS office at 312-750-1190 and the ISACS staff will assist you.

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

Directions and Parking

  • 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. If you drive a hybrid car, the Swissotel provides a discount.

Registration Fee

  • $600 Member
  • $700 Non Member
  • 50% discount for those new heads registered for the New Heads Network. If you are enrolled in the New Heads Network, please call the ISACS office at 312-750-1190 to receive a coupon code before registering for the Head Conference.
  • Registration fee includes Thursday evening dinner, 2 lunches and 2 continental breakfasts.

Cancellation Policy
Cancellations must be received in writing to ISACS, 55 West Wacker Drive, Suite 311, Chicago, IL 60601 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. 

Questions, call the ISACS office at 312-750-1190.

Member Cost: $600     Non-member Cost: $700
Registration Deadline:  January 20, 2014


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