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


2018 New Heads Network - A Year Long Program
Tom Hoerr, Donna Harris & Claudia Daggett

Monday, September 17, 2018
9:30 am - 3:30 pm

ISACS Classroom
Chicago, IL

Registration for the 2018-19 New Heads Network (NHN) is now open. Click here for the brochure. Brochures will be sent to new heads at ISACS schools. Please call the ISACS office at (312) 750-1190 if you have any questions. 

This is a year-long program supporting new heads of school. Events will take place:

  • Monday, September 17, 2018 in Chicago, IL
  • Wednesday, January 30, 2019 in Chicago, IL
  • NEW DATES - Monday, June 17 - Tuesday, June 18, 2019 in St. Louis, MO

Who Should Attend
Heads of school in either of 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 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 (MO) and retired after 34 years leading the school. Previously he worked as a teacher and principal and created and led the Washington University program in non-profit management. He is a Scholar In Residence at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, working in the Educational Leadership program, teaching prospective principals. Tom 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 140 articles, including the “Principal Connection” column in Educational Leadership since 2004. Tom has led the ISACS New Heads Network for eight years, since its founding, and served on the ISACS board of trustees. He is a board member of the North Side Community Charter School and facilitates the ASCD Multiple Intelligences Professional Interest Community. Tom is an enthusiastic, but poor, basketball player.

Donna Harris, EdD has served as president of Minnehaha Academy (MN), a PK-12 Christian school, since 2009. Previously Donna served as the assistant superintendent and chief academic officer at Valley Christian Schools, a K-12 school. Prior to her work in independent schools, Donna taught in public schools, twice receiving Intel Corporation’s prestigious Innovation in Teaching award. Donna has presented on topics such as project-based learning, integration of technology, governance, strategic planning, and school improvement. She authored Diversity in the Christian School, a chapter in the book Building a Better School. Donna has served on the board of trustees at North Park University and the Minnesota Independent School Forum. She currently serves on the  board of trustees for ISACS and the Ordway Center of Performing Arts.

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 currently 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 is a frequent presenter at national and regional conferences on the topics of independent school leadership, governance, and school civic engagement. She has contributed articles to the The Trustees' Letter and The Heads' Letter and a chapter to the latest edition of the NAIS Head Search Handbook.

Benefits to the School
New heads face common challenges, 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 three 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 one in-person meeting at the January 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. 

Monday, September 17, 2018
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
  • Independent school finance

​Wednesday, January 30, 2019
Swissôtel Chicago • Chicago, IL
Time: 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm

  • Reception, dinner, and discussion with mentors on the eve of the start of the Heads Conference

Monday, June 17 - Tuesday, June 18, 2019 (New Dates)
New City School • St. Louis, MO
Time: 9:30 am start on June 17 & 1:00 pm end on June 18

  • Sharing of first year experiences among the group
  • Sessions on the headship, development, 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. 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 a discounted rate of $204/night at The Godfrey Hotel Chicago, 127 West Huron Street, Chicago for the night of Sunday, September 16. To make a reservation, please contact The Godfrey Hotel Chicago at 312-649-2000 and 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. The discounted rate is available until August 25, so book your room today. Credit cards are required to book all room reservations. To make your hotel reservation online, please click here

    Please note that you should make your reservations early. September is a busy month in Chicago. If you have any difficulties booking a room at The Godfrey Hotel Chicago, please contact the ISACS office at 312-750-1190.

    For directions to The Godfrey Hotel Chicago, which also includes walking directions to the ISACS classroom, click here.
  • 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 2019 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
$1,750 for September, January, and June meetings for ISACS members, which includes:

  • programming on 9/17, 1/30, and 6/10-11;
  • continental breakfast and lunch – 9/17;
  • reception and dinner – 1/30; and
  • two breakfasts/two lunches/two dinners – 6/17-18.

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. Please call the ISACS office at (312) 750-1190 to request the coupon code for the ISACs discount and instructions on how to receive the NAIS discount.

ISACS New Heads Network & ISACS Heads Conference
As part of the NHN, ISACS strongly encourages new heads to attend the ISACS Heads Conference in Chicago, January 31-February 1, 2019. 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 2019 Heads Conference will open in the fall, and NHN participants 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: $1750     Non-member Cost: $2000


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