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


2017 New Heads Network - A Year Long Program
Thomas R. Hoerr and Claudia Daggett

Monday, September 18, 2017
9:30 am - 3:30 pm

Chicago, IL

Registration for the 2017-18 New Heads Network (NHN) is now open. Brochures will be sent to new heads at ISACS schools. Click here for a digital copy of the NHN Brochure. Please call the ISACS office at 312-750-1190 if you have any questions. 

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

  • Monday, September 18, 2017 in Chicago, IL
  • Wednesday, January 24, 2018 in Chicago, IL
  • Monday, June 11 - Tuesday, June 12, 2018 in St. Louis, MO
  • Additional video conference calls may be added throughout the year, as needed.

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 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 seeks 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!

New Heads Network Faculty

Thomas R. Hoerr, PhD is the emeritus head of the New City School in St. Louis, MO, and 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. He is the author of five books, his newest being The Formative Five: Fostering Grit, Empathy, and Other Success Skills Students Need. He has written over 120 articles and has written the “Principal Connection” column in Educational Leadership since 2004. Tom has led the ISACS New Heads Network for seven years, since its founding, and served on the ISACS Board of Directors. He facilitates the ASCD Multiple Intelligences Professional Interest Community and is a Scholar In Residence, teaching in the principal preparation program, at UM-St. Louis. Tom is an enthusiastic, but poor, basketball player.

Claudia Daggett, MSEd joined ISACS as president in 2014. She began her independent school career as a teacher at The Prairie School (WI) and has served in a variety of leadership roles including 11 years as head of school at Friends Academy (MA). Following her departure from headship in 2006, Claudia served as executive director of the Elementary School Heads Association and independent school consultant with Gregory Floyd and Associates. She serves on the boards of the National Network of Schools in Partnership and the Independent School Association Network (ISANet) and is a member of the NAIS Commission on Accreditation. She's a frequent presenter at national and regional conferences on the topics of independent school leadership, governance, and school civic engagement.

Claudia and Tom will provide experienced advice throughout the year while the group develops 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. Additional video conference calls may be added throughout the year, as needed.

Monday, September 18, 2017
ISACS Classroom, 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 24, 2018
Swissôtel Chicago • Chicago, IL
Time: 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm

  • Reception and dinner with mentors on the eve of the start of the heads conference—Wednesday, January 25

Monday, June 11 - Tuesday, June 12, 2018
New City School • St. Louis, MO
Time: 9:30 am start on June 11 & 1:00 pm end on June 12

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

ISACS & NAIS Partnership
The ISACS New Heads Network is a complement to the NAIS Institute for New Heads (INH). INH provides a week-long intensive seminar in July of the heads’ first year. NHN supports that head throughout the year through discussion of application of skills and concepts with NHN colleagues and faculty and a carefully matched mentor relationship. Dual registration is encouraged and offered at a discounted rate.

Hotel Accommodations
Attendees must make their own hotel accommodations

  • September hotel accommodations
    ISACS has secured discounted hotel accommodations at The Godfrey Hotel Chicago: a luxury boutique hotel with commanding southern views of the city skyline. To make a reservation, please contact The Godfrey Hotel Chicago at 312-649-2000 and make sure to identify yourself as a member with the Independent Schools Association of Central States (ISACS) and provide them with the Group Code: ISACS New Heads Network. Credit cards are required to book all room reservations. If you would prefer to book online please click here to make your reservation. For directions to The Godfrey Hotel Chicago, which also includes walking directions to the ISACS classroom, click here

    If you are looking for another option or the room block is full, please take a moment to check out the other hotels which ISACS has partnered with in the Chicago area. The hotels are within walking distance of the ISACS classroom and, as a member of ISACS, you have access to the discounted rates all year long for your professional and personal travel. Click here to find out how to make a reservation at any of the hotels and select the option that meets your travel needs. We recommend booking your hotel room early. 

    If you have any difficulties booking a room at The Godfrey Hotel Chicago or any other property, please contact the ISACS office at 312-750-1190.

    Please note that you should make your reservations early. September is a busy month in Chicago.

  • January hotel accommodations
    Swissôtel Chicago  
    323 East Wacker Drive • Chicago, IL

    ISACS has secured a discounted rate of $157/night. To reserve a room, call (312) 565-0565 and request the group code: “ISACS 2018 Heads of School Conference” by Tuesday, January 2. Plan to stay for at least two nights and attend the Heads Conference. 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.

Registration Fees

ISACS New Heads Network
$1,500 for September, January and June meetings for ISACS members. The fee includes:

  • programming on 9/18, 1/24 and 6/11-12;
  • continental breakfast and lunch – 9/18;
  • reception and dinner – 1/24; and
  • two breakfasts/two lunches/two dinners – 6/11-12.

ISACS New Heads Network & NAIS Institute for New Heads
For those new heads who plan to register for both the ISACS New Heads Network and the NAIS Institute for New Heads, a discount of 25% off both programs will be provided. Click here for more information including a discounted fee structure and complete a dual registration for ISACS New Heads Network and NAIS Institute for New Heads. 

ISACS New Heads Network & ISACS Heads of School Conference
As part of the NHN, ISACS strongly encourages new heads to attend the ISACS Heads of School Conference in Chicago, January 25-26, 2018. 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 2018 Heads of School 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
For ISACS members who are planning to register for the NHN only, financial assistance is available for under-resourced schools. Please contact the ISACS office at ISACS, 312-750-1190.

Cancellation Policy
Cancellations for the New Heads Network must be submitted 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.

Please contact NAIS regarding their policy for refunds regarding the NAIS INH.

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
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