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Conferences and Workshops
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Academy for Division Heads

Thursday, February 5, 2015 9:00 am - Friday, February 6, 2015 3:00 pm

Hotel Palomar
Chicago, IL

Registration for the Academy for Division Heads is now open.

The Academy will begin at 9:00 am on Thursday, February 5 and will end at 2:45 pm on Friday, February 6. An agenda will be posted shortly. 

The role of division head is both rewarding and challenging and ISACS is committed to supporting division heads serving in this essential leadership role.  Please make plans to gather with other division heads for two days of conversation with experts who will extend your thinking while expanding your leadership skills.  

Featured Presenters

  • Greg Bamford
  • Lucy Gray
  • Performers from the world famous Second City School of Improvisation 

Join your ISACS Division Head colleagues for two powerful days with presentations from engaging and thought-stretching presenters.

Thursday, February 5 Day 1: Leading Innovation in Schools with Greg Bamford

Today, schools are challenged to prepare students for a rapidly changing world which requires rethinking and re-imagining school – from instruction, to physical space, to time, and spirit. To meet this challenge, school leaders must adapt ahead of the curve. They must be innovative.

As a school leader, are you prepared to meet the changing needs of your school and your students? What does it mean to be innovative? What conditions must exist to foster a culture of innovation your school community? And how can you foster the human environment required to sustain a healthy and humane culture in a period of change?

Learning Goals:

In a hands-on session, participants will:

  • Adopt a mental model for how innovation works in an organization
  • Identify key success factors in leading innovation
  • Gain concrete tactics for leading more creative team meetings
  • Gain a vocabulary for discussing group dynamics and specific tools for fostering collaboration
  • Practice some of the personal (and interpersonal) skills required to lead innovation

Drawing from organizational research as well as case studies of independent schools, we will discuss:

  • The dynamics of sustaining and disruptive innovation in independent schools;
  • The personal qualities of innovative school leaders;
  • The cultural forces that lead to the successful adoption of innovative practices in schools;
  • Strategies and tactics for accelerating the rate of innovation in your schools;
  • Fostering creativity on your teams;
  • Frameworks for fostering collaboration and healthy group dynamics.

Greg Bamford (@gregbamford) is the head of school at Watershed School in Boulder, Colorado. Watershed is an innovative independent school that engages students through rigorous, real world challenges, an approach for which it has been recognized by the New York Times and CWRA learning gains that greatly exceed peer schools. Greg is also a co-founder of Leadership+Design, a non-profit organization that works with educators to foster a new culture of school leadership. Through Leadership+Design, he has worked with independent schools across the country on emerging pedagogies, strategic challenges, and leadership development. Greg holds an Ed.M. in Educational Leadership from Columbia University.

Friday, February 6 Day 2 (Morning): Social Media Basics for School Leaders with Lucy Gray

Education consultant Lucy Gray will guide administrators through the basics of utilizing a core set of Web 2.0 tools with the goals of boosting productivity, collaboration, and professional learning. You'll find time to consider your own digital personal citizenship and will consider implications for fostering digital citizenship in your students. This workshop will include hands-on experiences that will show you how to curate and organize resources. These experiences will also demonstrate the power of connecting to peers and highlight the benefits of developing personal learning networks. Come learn about how other schools and school leaders are thoughtfully embracing new and emerging technologies in their schools.

Participants will be able to:

  • Become familiar with commonly used Web 2.0 tools
  • Add other professionals to your PLN
  • Understand the value of social currency and serendipity
  • Develop your own digital footprint and persona
  • Practice content curation
  • Contemplate implications for students and staff

Lucy Gray, is an education consultant with a focus on 21st century learning initiatives. Previously, she served in various capacities related to educational technology at the University of Chicago's Laboratory Schools, Urban Education Institute and Center for Elementary Mathematics and Science Education. In 2007, Lucy founded the Global Education Collaborative, a network for educators interested in project-based learning which has been expanded into the Global Education Conference. She has also been awarded the Google Certified Teacher and Apple Distinguished Educator distinctions and is an Education Fast Forward Fellow. For further information, visit

Day 2 (Afternoon): Learning to Think on Your Feet!

Second City performers will use improv tenants to engage Division Heads within their own learning process, open more dialogue with colleagues and practice skills before experiencing them on the job.

Wednesday, February 4 - Optional Division Head Forum
On Wednesday evening February 4 from 6:30-8:00 pm, ISACS will host an optional discussion for division heads at the Hotel Palomar.

You are invited to participate in a spirited conversation for new and veteran division heads who are looking to make connections with others in the same role.  Members of the Administrative Service Committee will facilitate the discussion. There is no charge for participation but we ask that you register so we may plan for the appropriate group size.  

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.

Evening Activity - Thursday, February 5 - Dinner and Second City
All registrants are invited to attend dinner at Adobo Grill followed by an evening of comedy at Second City. It will be an opportunity to enjoy Chicago while mingling with your peers in a social setting. 

  • Dinner: 5:30 pm at Adobo Grill
  • Second City: 8:00 pm (Must arrive at Second City at 7:30 pm)
  • Transportation will be provided to and from hotel to dinner/theatre. Transportation departs from the Hotel Palomar promptly at 5:00 pm.

All registrants are invited to attend the evening event; the cost is included in your registration fee for the Academy for Division Heads. 


During online registration you will be prompted to RSVP for the evening activity. You can select to attend Dinner and Second City, Dinner Only, Second City Only, or not attend the evening activity. Pre-registration is required. Registration deadline for the Thursday evening activity is Friday, January 23 or until the event reaches capacity. We appreciate your response so we can guarantee dinner reservations, Second City tickets and transportation.  If you plan to register a spouse/guest, please call the ISACS office at 312-750-1190 as there will be an additional charge of $60 for the Dinner/Second City and $30 for Dinner only or Second City only.

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

Valet parking at the Hotel Palomar is $18 for daily event parking (not overnight).

Valet overnight parking is $58/night for hotel guests with full in-and-out privileges.  Typically, overnight parking guests must leave by 2:00 pm to avoid additional fees at the garage. However, ISACS guests are able to park their cars with the valet until 4:00 pm without additional fees.

Note: Hybrid vehicles receive a 25% discount. There are other parking garages in the area that may offer less expensive rates.

Click here for directions and parking information for the Hotel Palomar.

Hotel Reservations
Attendees must make their own hotel reservations. ISACS has secured special discounted room rates at the Hotel Palomar: $155/night plus tax (single or double occupancy) for the nights of February 4 – February 5. To make a reservation call 1-800-KIMPTON and use Group Code: "ISACS Academy for Division Heads."  The discounted rate is available and has been extended until Thursday, January 15, 2015. 

For online reservations please click on this link: ISACS Academy for Division Heads

If you need any assistance making your hotel reservations, please call the ISACS office at 312-750-1190.

Registration Fee

  • $550 Member
  • $650 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 5th.

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 312-750-1190.

Member Cost: $550     Non-member Cost: $650
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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