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


2016 Academy for Division Heads
Patrick Bassett & Hadley Ferguson

February 4 - 5, 2016

Hotel Palomar
505 N. State Street
Chicago, IL

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

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 leaders for two days of conversation and interaction with experts who will extend your thinking while expanding your own leadership skills.  

The Academy will begin at 9:00 am on Thursday, February 4 and will end at 2:45 pm on Friday, February 5. Click here for the agenda.

Featured Presenters

  • Patrick F. Bassett
  • Hadley Ferguson
  • Daniel Streicher
  • Dave Fript

Click here for speaker bios.

Thursday, February 4 Day One: A Day with Patrick F. Bassett
Schools of the Future: The Big Shifts 
This presentation addresses how education in the 21st C. is changing dramatically, influenced by the rapid adoption of technologies that now facilitate teaching and learning and access to information and knowledge. The central strategic and generative question addressed is, "Where is the school now positioned on the continuum of traditional vs. progressive/innovative education, and where does it want to be?"

Principled Decision-Making for School Leaders 
This presentation begins by examining how leaders make decisions via the lenses of two models: 1.) The “Z-model of Decision Making” (based on the Myers-Briggs rubric on process and logic proclivities related to one’s personality profile; and 2.) The Institute for Global Education’s “Four Lenses” approach (gut instinct; public opinion; legal; and moral, the latter filtered by which moral system one uses). We will also explore Patrick Lencioni's highly dysfunctional vs. functional teams.

Participants are asked to bring with them a complicated school dilemma (fictional or real) for the group to process and provide a solution for as well as their Myers-Briggs profile. Participants without a Myers-Briggs profile or can’t remember it, are asked to take the brief online quiz. ISACS will send this information to attendees prior to the Academy about the Myers-Briggs profile and additional materials to bring for this session.

Heads Up for Those Wishing to Be Heads: A Conversation with Division Heads Who are Considering Headship
This session will explore the pathway to headship. How do you produce a resume that provokes interest by Search Committees?  What's your leadership style and how will it work in a different culture than the one you are succeeding in now?  What's your compelling story? Educational philosophy?  What new jobs should you be volunteering for now to expand your portfolio? What's the difference between being a stellar manager and a stellar leader?  What are boards looking for?  How many searches might you have to be in before landing a headship? Should you take a headship in a fixer-upper school? How do you break the ice in the first interview with the Search Committee? What work/life balance? And whatever else is on your mind.  

Patrick Bassett served for 12 years as the president of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) and from 1993-2001, Bassett was the president of the ISACS.  He is now a senior consultant to schools and organizations on issues such as leadership, governance and strategy.  Bassett began his career in independent schools in 1970 as an English teacher, lacrosse coach, and dorm parent at Woodberry Forest School (VA), an all-boys boarding school. In 1980, he became headmaster of an all-girls school, Stuart Hall (VA), where he remained until 1989, when he was appointed head of school at Pomfret School (CT). He has served on numerous board including Williams College (MA) and he is also an adjunct faculty member of Teachers College, Columbia University.

Evening Activity - Thursday, February 4
Dinner and an Interactive Experiential Leadership Simulation with React Learning, Daniel Streicher and Dave Fript at the Hotel Palomar
All registrants are invited to attend dinner and join the group for an engaging and interactive leadership simulation at the Hotel Palomar – dinner and the leadership simulation are included in the Academy for Division Heads registration fee.

Role playing simulations can be used in the classroom to deliver powerful cognitive and emotional learning and assessment. Participants will use React Learning’s simulation platform to role play a school leadership crisis (or opportunity) from a new perspective. Leave with new ideas about their roles and the challenges they face and gain an experiential understanding of the power of role playing for learners of all ages.

  • 6:00 pm Introduction to the simulation
  • 6:45 pm Dinner and simulation conversation
  • 8:45 pm The simulation concludes

During online registration you will be prompted to RSVP for the evening activity. You can select to join the group for dinner and the leadership simulation or you may select to not participate in the dinner or the evening activity. Pre-registration is required. Registration deadline for the Thursday evening activity is Friday, January 23. We appreciate your response so we can make appropriate plans for dinner and the simulation.  Please indicate in your registration if you will or will not participate in the evening activities. Pre-registration is required.

Friday, February 5 Day Two: A Day with Hadley Ferguson
What is the Edcamp Model of Professional Development and How Can It Revolutionize Your PD Days!
The first Edcamp was held in May, 2010 in Philadelphia and has led to over 750 Edcamps being held in every state of the US and in 24 countries around the world. Edcamps are participant-driven professional development, based on the unconference model. They provide teachers with opportunities to learn and grow together, based on what they identify as their needs. Learn about how and why the movement has grown and been so successful and then discuss ways that this model might be used in your school. After an overview of the process, we will host a mini-Edcamp and experience the energy and passion of this style of learning and collaboration. 

Hadley Ferguson (@hadleyjf)  is one of the founding members of Edcamp Philly and is now the first executive director of the Edcamp Foundation, a 501(c)3 formed to support the growth of this grassroots movement. She has spent decades in the classroom, mostly recently as a middle school history teacher at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, an independent school in Philadelphia. She is co-author of Unleashing Student Superpowers: Practical Teaching Strategies for 21st Century Students. She is a mentor for the Library of Congress' "Teaching with Primary Sources.

Wednesday, February 3 - Division Head Discussion
On Wednesday evening February 3 from 6:30-7:30 pm, ISACS will host an optional discussion for division heads at the Hotel Palomar.

If you arrive on Wednesday evening, please join us for engaging conversation among division heads. This is a great opportunity to connect new and experienced division heads to ask questions, share resources, and discuss challenges and successes while make connections with others in the same role. Members of the Administrative Service Committee will facilitate the discussion. There is no charge for participation.  Participants may choose to continue the conversations over dinner at the restaurants of their choice.

Location & Hotel Accommodations
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

Attendees must make their own hotel reservations. ISACS has secured special discounted room rates at the Hotel Palomar: $159/night plus tax (single or double occupancy) for the nights of February 3 – February 4. To make a reservation call 877-731-0505 and use Group Code: "ISACS Academy for Division Heads."  The discounted rate is available and has been extended until Tuesday January 19, 2016. If availability allows, the hotel will honor extended reservations three days before and three days after the Academy.

For online reservations please click here: ISACS Academy for Division Heads Online Booking Link

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

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, rates are subject to change.  Typically, overnight parking guests must leave by 2:00 pm to avoid additional fees at the garage. However, ISACS' overnight 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.

​GO Airport Express (Share-a-Ride) Shuttle Service
ISACS has negotiated a special rate with GO Airport Express for ISACS members – 15% off standard rates. Reservations MUST be made in advance and online to receive the discounted rate.  The standard rate per person to/from O’Hare is approximately $28 one-way; $49 round-trip. The standard rate per person to/from Midway is approximately $24 one-way; $40 round-trip. To receive the 15% discount off the standard rates, please click here for the Go Airport Express website to make a reservation in advance. A credit card is required and charged at the time of reservation. Airport walk-ups are not be eligible for the discounted rate, standard rates apply. Parties of two or more reserving at the same time receive a discount.  Please visit the website for more information.

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 Thursday evening activity (dinner and simulation)
  • Please review the Registration Confirmation information below

Registration Confirmation Communications from ISACS
Once registration for the Academy has been completed the following communications will be sent from ISACS:

  • Once registration is complete, an email will automatically be sent to the contact person on the registration confirming that registration has been completed.
  • Approximately three weeks prior to the Academy, ISACS will send a confirmation email to the registrant with details for the Academy.
  • Approximately one week prior to the workshop, ISACS will send a final confirmation email to the registrant with details for the Academy.

If you do not receive these emails prior to arriving at a workshop, please call the ISACS office at 312-750-1190. It is possible your email address was entered incorrectly OR your registration was not completed.

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.

Questions? Please call 312-750-1190.

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


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