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Conferences and Workshops
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ISACS Heads of School Conference: Through a Different Lens: New Views in School Leadership

January 29 - 30, 2015

Chicago, IL

As of January 19, registration for the Heads Conference is closed. If you have any questions, please contact the ISACS office at 312-750-1190. 

Dear Heads of School,

Plan to join us for the ISACS Annual Heads of School Conference, this year focused on the theme “Through a New Lens: New Views in School Leadership.” We’ve lined up a program to stimulate your thinking on a wide variety of school leadership topics with presentations and workshops aimed specifically at the unique needs of the head of school.

Keynoters are Ian Symmonds and Scott Barry Kaufman, both presenting new approaches – Symmonds on current trends and the implications for strategic direction; Kaufman on the role of engagement in intelligence and learning. 

You’ll see some gentle adjustments to the format this year: kicking off the first keynote at 9:30 AM in order to enjoy a breakout session with Symmonds later in the day; building each breakout session as a 75-minute workshop with plenty of interaction; and foregoing the conclave meetings in order to have that time for other sessions.

The breakout sessions will be wide-ranging, each with a new twist: delving deeper with Ian Symmonds, building public/private partnerships, leveraging benchmark data from DASL, cultivating international enrollment, understanding new legal issues including risk management for student trips and exchanges, seeking parent feedback using the Net Promoter System (NPS), assessing strategies for financial sustainability with new data from NBOA, gauging student engagement, and adjusting ISACS standards for equity relative to sexual orientation.

Hope to see you there,

Claudia Daggett
ISACS President

Through a New Lens: New Views in School Leadership
A conference brochure will be sent to each of head of school in mid-November. Click here for the conference brochure.

Dates and Time
The conference will begin at 9:30 am (registration at 8:30 am) on Thursday, January 29 and will conclude at 2:00 pm on Friday, January 30, 2015, with bonus sessions ending at 3:30 pm for those who can stay.

Keynote Speakers

  • Ian Symmonds, Symmonds & Associates
  • Scott Barry Kaufman, The Imagination Institute, University of Pennsylvania

Featured Speakers (listed in alphabetical order)

  • Rob Brisk, The Wellington School (OH)
  • Claudia Daggett, ISACS President, with John Farber, ISACS Board Chair and Old Trail School (OH)
  • Steve Hinds, Meadowbrook School (MA), and Arnie Zar-Kessler, Inspiring Educators
  • Sean Jiang, High Goal Consulting
  • Hilary LaMonte, Data Analysis for School Leadership (DASL), NAIS
  • Claire Leheney, National Network of Schools in Partnership, with Randall Dunn, Latin School of Chicago (IL), Dan Frank and Shanti Elliott, Francis W. Parker School (IL)
  • Jeff Shields, NBOA
  • Sara Schwartz, Schwartz Hannum PC

Click here for keynote and featured speaker bios.

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

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

Reception & Dinner: Thursday, January 29, 2015
All registrants and spouses/partners are invited to attend the conference reception and dinner. The reception (from 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm) will be at the ISACS new office at 55 West Wacker, Suite 701 followed by a dinner at Petterino’s, 150 N. Dearborn. The reception and dinner will be an opportunity to enjoy Chicago while mingling with your peers in a social setting. Transportation will be provided. Reception/dinner is included in your registration fee; pre-registration is required during online registration. You can select from reception only, dinner only or reception/dinner. If you are bringing a guest, an additional fee of $75 is required. Please call the ISACS office to register your guest. There is no onsite registration for the dinner.

Thank you to ERB, sponsor of the Thursday luncheon.

ERB is the only not-for-profit member educational services organization offering assessments for both admission and achievement for independent and public schools, PreK - Grade 12, as well as Pathways to Learning online supplemental programs in writing, vocabulary, and mathematics.

Thank you to Oswald Companies, sponsor of the Friday luncheon.

Oswald Companies is a national insurance brokerage and consulting firm that specializes in employee benefit solutions for niche markets, and specifically for independent schools.

Thank you to Flik Independent School Dining, sponsor of the Thursday reception at the ISACS office.

Flik is a diverse family of food and nutrition specialists dedicated to providing the academic community with fun, healthy on-site dining options. As the only dining services company specializing exclusively in private and independent school education, we understand your community's needs and what it takes to meet them. Our chefs use fresh local ingredients and world-class culinary techniques to provide students with innovative, diverse menus. From expansive, colorful salad bars to soups made from scratch, we work closely with each client to transform their school's dining hall into a source of pride and values.

Thank you to Assurance Agency, sponsor of the Thursday night dinner at Petterino's.

Assurance is among the largest and most awarded independent insurance brokerages in the U.S. Assurance creates value by minimizing risk and maximizing health for 6,000 businesses and individuals across the country. Assurance’s Education Practice is focused on meeting the changing needs of educational institutions across the nation by addressing emerging risk management issues and developing competitive and comprehensive insurance solutions to reduce overall cost of risk.

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 2015 Heads of School Conference". The discounted rooms are available and have been extended until Thursday, January 15, 2015.

For online hotel reservations: click here and select the red “Make a Reservation” box.

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 $20 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 $49 per night. If you drive a hybrid car, the Swissotel provides a discount.

Ground Transportation
A special rate has been negotiated on your behalf for GO Airport Express. Reservations MUST be made online to receive the discounted rate.  Walk-ups will not be eligible for convention rate, standard rates will apply. Please click here to go to their website and begin your reservation to reserve a seat. It will provide a 15% discount. Credit cards are required and charged at the time of reservation. 

Registration Fee

  • $600 Member
  • $700 Non Member
  • 50% discount for those new heads registered for the ISACS year-long New Heads Network program 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, 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 26, 2015


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