Professional Development > Conferences and Workshops

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


2015 New Heads Network - A Year Long Program
Tom Hoerr and Claudia Daggett

Friday, September 18, 2015
9:30 am - 3:30 pm

ISACS classroom
55 West Wacker Drive, Suite 702
Chicago, IL

Registration for the 2015-16 New Heads Network is now open. Brochures will be sent to new heads at ISACS schools in early July. Please call the ISACS office at 312-750-1190 if you have any questions. Click here for the New Heads Network brochure.

This is a year-long opportunity and support system for new heads of school. Events will take place:

  • Friday, September 18, 2015 in Chicago, IL
  • Wednesday, January 27, 2016 in Chicago, IL
  • Monday, June 13 - Tuesday, June 14, 2016 in St. Louis, MO

Who Should Attend
Heads of school in their first two years of headship at an ISACS school. Experienced heads new to an ISACS school have participated and found the program beneficial.

Why Attend
Being a head of school is never easy, and it’s particularly challenging at the start of one’s career. The New Heads Network (NHN) will provide content, skills and perspective on the headship as the first (or second) year unfolds. A mentor will be assigned and there will be opportunities to learn from colleagues and to build relationships with other heads. The NHN will seek to:

  • assist new heads in practicing and learning the craft of heading a school;
  • provide a cohort group so new heads can learn with and from one another; and
  • be fun! We will laugh with and enjoy one another!

This program is meant to supplement the NAIS Institute for New Heads, not to replace it.

New Heads Network Faculty
Thomas Hoerr, PhD  is the emeritus head of the New City School in St. Louis, MO, and just retired after 34 years leading the school. Previously he worked as a teacher and principal, and led The Washington University program in non-profit management. Hoerr is the author of four books: School Leadership for the Future (NAIS Press), and Becoming A Multiple Intelligences School, The Art of School Leadership, and Fostering Grit (all published by ASCD Press). He has written over 100 articles and writes the “Principal Connection” column in Educational Leadership. He is working on a new book on non-cognitive skills. Tom has led the ISACS New Heads Network for five years and is a member of the ISACS Board of Directors. He facilitates the ASCD Multiple Intelligences Professional Interest Community, and teaches in the New Leaders principal preparation program at UM-St. Louis. Tom is an enthusiastic, but poor, basketball player.

Claudia Daggett, MSEd joined ISACS as its president In 2014. She began her independent school career as a teacher at The Prairie School and has served in a variety of leadership roles, including 11 years as head of school at Friends Academy in Massachusetts. Following her departure from headship in 2006, Claudia has served as executive director of the Elementary School Heads Association and independent consultant with Gregory Floyd & Associates. She has been a frequent presenter at national and regional conferences on the top of independent school leadership.

Claudia and Tom will provide experienced advice throughout the year while the group provides the beginnings of the peer network important to every head.

Other faculty will be added.

Benefits to the School
New heads face common problems, such as building relationships with administrative teams, the board, faculty, parents and students. Meeting with each other three times during the year—under the guidance of two experienced heads—can help avoid pitfalls and enhance the chances of a strong first year and beyond.

Mentoring Component
Each new head will be paired with an experienced ISACS head. Mentoring opportunities will be provided during the year through telephone calls, emails, and in-person opportunities at the January annual heads conference in Chicago. 

Program Outline
The program will span the course of one year and have three opportunities for new heads to come together from September through June.

Friday, September 18, 2015
ISACS Office Conference Room, 55 West Wacker Drive • Chicago, IL
Time: 9:30 am – 3:30 pm

Click here for directions to the ISACS Office

  • How to survive your first year
  • Working with your board

​Wednesday, January 27, 2016
Swissôtel Chicago • Chicago, IL
Time: 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm

  • Reception and dinner with mentors on the eve of the start of the heads conference—Wednesday, January 27

Monday, June 13 - Tuesday, June 14, 2016
New City School • St. Louis, MO
Time: 9:30 am start on June 13 & 1:00 pm end on June 14

  • Sharing of first year experiences among the group
  • Sessions on the headship, business office, development and board relations
  • Planning for the future

Hotel Accommodations
Attendees must make their own hotel accommodations

  • September hotel accommodations
    ISACS has secured several options for your hotel accommodations needs within walking distance to the ISACS office.  Click here for a link to the neighborhood hotels and pick the one that best meets your needs. If you have any questions regarding the hotels, please call the ISACS office at 312-750-1190.
    • ​Update on September Chicago Hotels as of August 18: Due to a large event in Chicago, Farm Aid 2015, hotel rooms are limited. If possible we suggest you travel in/out in the same day. If you need assistance making hotel reservations, please call the ISACS office at 312-750-1190 as soon as possible for assistance. Click here to view a limited selection of hotels still offering rooms in downtown Chicago via the Farm Aid concert website. 
  • January hotel accommodations
    Swissôtel Chicago  
    323 East Wacker Drive • Chicago, IL

    ISACS has secured a discounted rate of $157/night. To reserve a room, please do so for at least two nights and stay for the heads conference, call (312) 565-0565 and request the group code: “ISACS 2016 Heads of School Conference” by Friday, January 8. Click here for directions to the Swissôtel.

  • June hotel accommodations
    The Chase Park Plaza - Saint Louis
    212 N. Kingshighway Blvd. • St. Louis, MO

    ISACS will obtain a block of rooms and provide participants with reservation information at a later date. Click here for directions to Chase Park Plaza Hotel. Click here for directions to New City School from the Chase Park Plaza Hotel.

$1,500 for September, January and June meetings.

The fee includes:

  • programming on 9/18, 1/27 and 6/13-14;
  • continental breakfast and lunch – 9/18;
  • reception and dinner –1/27; and
  • two breakfasts/two lunches/one dinner – 6/13-14.

As part of the NHN, ISACS strongly encourages new heads to attend the ISACS annual heads of school conference in Chicago, January 28 and January 29, 2016. New heads enrolled in the New Heads Network will pay a $300 registration fee instead of the $600 fee for the heads conference. (New heads must register for the heads conference separately). Registration for the 2016 Heads Conference will open in the fall and you will receive an email when registration opens along with a coupon code to receive the discounted registration fee.

Financial assistance available for small schools. Please contact the ISACS office at ISACS, (312) 750-1190

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.

Questions? Call the ISACS office at 312-750-1190.

Member Cost: $1500     Non-member Cost: $1750


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