Professional Development > Conferences and Workshops

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


The Innovator's Journey: Climbing the Mountain to a School-wide Big Idea
Tim Fish & Kawai Lai

Friday, October 20, 2017
9:30 am - 3:00 pm

ISACS Classroom
Chicago, IL

Innovation is thriving in our schools. Teachers are alive with ideas and actively experimenting with new learning models. Yet, many schools are struggling to find ways to tie these exciting “day hike" innovations together to advance a larger purpose at the school. In this one-day session Tim Fish and Kawai Lai will serve as mountain guides on an expedition up the Magnetic Mountain. They will deconstruct case-studies from schools that have “summited” and will help participant schools map their journey to their own differentiated idea. Put your pack on and join us for an exciting day of exploration and discovery.  

This session is designed for teams of teachers and administrators who are interested in creating a school-wide disposition for innovation. Attending as a team will maximize the impact but all are welcome. Participants will leave with a deep understanding of the Magnetic Mountain innovation framework and a "mountain pack" full of resources that they can utilize to embark on an innovation journey in their school.


Tim Fish is the first chief innovation officer at the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS). He has deep roots in the independent school community and a long history at McDonogh School in Maryland. Most recently, he was the school’s associate headmaster and served as interim CFO. At McDonogh, he also oversaw the K-12 admissions and financial aid process, the academic program, facility development,  faculty development, technology, diversity, and strategic planning. Fish was also the founding president and CEO of the FolioCollaborative, a nonprofit community of more than 125 schools around the world focused on working to build a flexible faculty/staff development process that is grounded in strong relationships and meaningful conversations. In his role at NAIS, Fish is leading the information technology team and monitoring research and development in the field to spot trends in innovation and supplement research findings in the education landscape. He is the co-author of the book Leadership and Technology at Independent Schools.

Kawai Lai is the vice president of innovation initiatives at the NAIS. In her role she helps schools re-imagine education, build capacity to innovate, and share stories of the authentically new. Prior to a career in education, Lai spent over a decade in consulting and technology, implementing large scale technology systems with Deloitte, working in different industries including healthcare, biotech, and aerospace.  After Deloitte, she joined the founding team of an ed tech start-up, Education Elements, where she worked with the most forward-thinking district and charter schools across the country. She has an MBA from Haas, UC Berkeley and a BS in mechanical engineering from Southern Methodist University.


Location of Workshop
The workshop will take place at the ISACS classroom at 55 West Wacker Drive, Suite 702, Chicago, IL. 

Directions, Parking & Public Transportation
The location is located in the heart of Chicago, with easy access to public transportation.

Click here for directions to the ISACS classroom including driving, parking and public transportation directions. Parking is available at several area garages. To secure discounted rates prior to your arrival in Chicago, visit If possible, we suggest taking public transportation.

Air Travel
Both Midway and O'Hare airports are easily accessible to the ISACS classroom. Fly into Midway (on Southwest Airlines) or into O'Hare and take the "L" (Chicago's public transportation) and be at the ISACS classroom in less than an hour.  

‚ÄčGO Airport Express (Share-a-Ride) Shuttle Service
ISACS has negotiated a special rate with GO Airport Express for ISACS members – 15% off the 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 eligible for the discounted rate. Parties of two more reserving at the same time receive a discount. Please visit their website for more information.  

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 Tim Fish and Kawai Lai Workshop. 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.

Registration Fee

  • $175 member fee 
  • $155 non-member fee 
  • The first person pays the full fee, each additional registrant receives a $20 discount
  • Workshop includes coffee/tea, light breakfast, lunch and refreshments
  • Please review the Registration Confirmation information below

Registration Confirmation Communications from ISACS
Once registration for the workshop 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 workshop, ISACS will send a confirmation email to the registrant with details for the workshop.
  • Approximately one week prior to the workshop, ISACS will send a final confirmation email to the registrant with details for the workshop.

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 for workshops held at the ISACS classroom must be received in writing to ISACS by emailing 10 business days prior to the event to receive a refund. ISACS will determine the refund amount, if any, on a per workshop basis and may be unable to determine the refund amount until the workshop’s conclusion. At any time, registration may be transferred to another member from the same school. If a workshop has a waitlist and ISACS can identify a replacement, a full refund will be provided. ISACS reserves the right to cancel the workshop for insufficient enrollment. In this case, participants will be notified and given a full refund. 

Member Cost: $175     Non-member Cost: $225


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