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


Academy for Division Heads

February 6 - 7, 2020

Hotel Palomar
Chicago, IL


Thursday, February 6 - Friday, February 7, 2020

Hotel Palomar, Chicago, IL

Registration will open in November.

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 2020 Academy will begin at 9:00 am on Thursday, February 6 and will end at 2:30 pm on Friday, February 7.

Check back soon for the agenda.

Day One – Thursday, February 6, 2020 – A Day with Deborah Helsing

Leading Change: Diagnosing and Overturning the Immunity-to-Change
Why is change so difficult, even when we are genuinely committed to it? What can we do to increase our ability to overcome our current challenges? Many, if not most, of the biggest challenges individuals and organizations face are what is known as adaptive challenges. We can’t solve adaptive challenges just by learning new skills or information. Instead, these challenges require us to find new means of learning. They require shifts in our mindsets.

In this highly interactive, experiential workshop, participants will engage in a personal learning process for addressing their own high priority improvement goals. They will uncover the adaptive dimensions of their challenges and explore strategies for how to develop new capacities and mindset shifts that will prepare them to address their challenges, and those of their organization, more effectively.

Participants will:

  • gain a powerful picture of the psychological forces that undermine efforts to change
  • identify assumptions that interfere with the ability to address challenges
  • learn how to disrupt the immunity to change and create new possibilities for making progress on the goal
  • explore the implications for leading others through major change initiatives

Thursday early evening: Conversation with Current Heads of School – For Divisional Leaders: Thursday, February 6, 3:45 – 5:15 pm
As a part of the Academy for Division Heads, a team of successful Heads of School will form a panel to share the challenges and rewards of headship. This session will also provide the opportunity to ask questions about all aspects of work and life as a Head of School. Participants of the Academy for Division Heads are invited to participate in this optional session which will begin immediately following the formal program on Thursday, February 6 at the Hotel Palomar from 3:45-5:15 pm. Whether you are an aspiring Head of School or are just interested in knowing more about headship, we invite you to join us for this spirited and informative panel discussion.

Thursday Evening Networking and Happy Hour: Thursday, February 6, 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Participants gather in the Hotel Palomar lobby at 5:25 pm for a short five-minute walk to Osteria Via Stato, 620 N. State Street. Network with your ISACS colleagues and enjoy drinks and light appetizers.

Day Two, Friday, February 7, 2020 morning: A Morning at Google!
To broaden thinking and visions about how teams function, how physical space is designed, used and shared, and the impact of technology and the environment has on the culture of the organization, we will be taking all Academy participants to the amazing Google Chicago offices. Google representatives will share the essential aspects of the Google culture while also allowing us to tour the physical space. Be prepared to be inspired by what you see and hear. ISACS will provide transportation to/from Google.

Day Two, Friday, February 7, 2020 afternoon: Choose Your Own Adventure
Participants will enjoy the opportunity to select shorter, smaller sessions that are of interest to them. During online registration, please select one of the following:

  • Sharing Your Diversity Initiatives: What Has Worked, What Has Not
    An interactive sharing session facilitated by Roeper School Middle School Director, Brian Corley
  • The Trends & Changing Landscape of Technology
    An interactive conversation facilitated by University of Chicago Laboratory School Lower School Principal, Sylvie Anglin & colleague Brian Hewlett
  • Cross-divisional Professional Development Using Google Forms & Slides
    A sharing session facilitated by Canterbury School Upper School Director Ben Ottenweller & Middle School Director, Fraser Coffeen


Deb Helsing is co-director of Minds at Work, where she coaches, consults and provides training on the Immunity to Change approach. Helsing designs leadership development programs and learning experiences that are “deliberately developmental,” going beyond technical or informational approaches to engage transformational or adaptive learning and change. She also holds a faculty position at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education, teaching courses in Adult Development, Immunity to Change, and co-teaching a course in personal mastery for leaders. She provides executive coaching to high potential educational leaders as part of the Doctor of Educational Leadership program. She has co-authored several articles and books, including: An Everyone Culture: Becoming a Deliberately Developmental Organization (2016, with Robert Kegan, Lisa Lahey, Andy Fleming, and Matt Miller)  winner of an 800-CEO-Read Business Book Award; Right Weight, Right Mind: The ITC Approach to Permanent Weight Loss (2014, with Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey); The Immunity to Change Coach’s Guide (2011, with Lisa Lahey and Robert Kegan) and “Unlocking Leadership Potential: Overcoming Immunities to Change” (2010, with Lisa Lahey) in Extraordinary Leadership: Addressing the Gaps in Senior Executive Development.

Other Important Activities & Information

Pre-Conference Informal Conversations: Wednesday, February 5, 6:30 pm - 7:45 pm 

On Wednesday evening, February 5 from 6:30 pm - 7:45 pm, ISACS will host an optional conversation for division heads at the Hotel Palomar

If you arrive at the hotel on Wednesday evening, please join us for an informal and 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 making connections with others in the same role. Members of the Administrative Service Committee will facilitate the discussion and there is no charge for participation. Participants may choose to continue conversations over dinner at the restaurants of their choice.

Thursday Evening Networking and Happy Hour: Thursday, February 6, 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Although participation is included in registration fee, pre-registration for the happy hour is required. During online registration, you will be prompted to indicate if you are planning to attend. Spouses/partners are invited to attend at an additional cost of $20. Please call the ISACS office at 312-750-1190 to register your guest.

Academy Location & Hotel Accommodations
The Academy will take place at the Hotel Palomar, 505 N. State Street, Chicago.

Attendees must make their own hotel reservations. ISACS has secured special discounted room rates at the Hotel Palomar at the rate of $129/night plus tax (single or double occupancy) for the nights of February 5 – February 7. To make a reservation call 1-800-546-7866 and use group code: C7U or the ISACS Academy for Division Heads.  The discounted rate is available until 5:00 pm CST on Wednesday, January 15, 2020 If availability allows, the hotel will honor extended reservations three days before and three days after the Academy.

To make your reservations online, click on the following link: ISACS Academy for Division Heads February 2020

If you are interested in extending your stay, three days before or after the Academy, please contact Jake Forbes at the Hotel Palomar directly at and he will work with you on your reservation. If you need any assistance making your hotel reservations, please call the ISACS office at (312) 750-1190

Hotel Palomar is located in the River North area of Chicago 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 from 5:00 – 6:00 pm. ISACS overnight guests will receive complimentary Wi-Fi in your guest room. To become a member of the IHG Rewards Club, click here. For more details on the Hotel Palomar, visit

ALERT - Hotel Accommodations Scam
ISACS does not reach out to attendees and exhibitors directly to book hotel rooms. To book a room at the ISACS group rate, only use the discounted group rates posted above or communicated with you via emails from If you receive calls or emails from third-party companies, we strongly advise that you do not provide these solicitors any personal information. Large conferences are targets for companies seeking to take advantage of attendees. We have received reports in the past that our conference attendees have been contacted by third-party companies with offers to provide hotel accommodations at a lower rate than the ISACS group rate. These solicitations are an attempt to confirm your email address and obtain your credit card information. Please do not provide any information to these third-party companies. These third-party companies create websites and/or use email and phone solicitations offering special discounted hotel rooms. Often, these discounted rooms do not exist. If you have any doubt about the information that you are receiving regarding any ISACS room blocks, please email or call us at or (312) 750-1190.

Valet parking at the Hotel Palomar is $24 for daily event parking (not overnight).

Current valet overnight parking is $62/night fo hotel guests with full in-and-out privileges, rates are subject to change. Typically, additional charges to overnight parking get added at 2:00 pm. However, overnight guests for the Academy for Division Heads can park their cars with the valet until 4:00 pm on Friday without additional fees.

Note: Hybrid vehicles receive a 25% discount. There are other parking garages in the area that may offer less expensive rates. Parking fees are subject to change.

Click here for directions, public transportation, 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 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 networking/happy hour
  • 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:

  • 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 Academy, 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 the Academy, 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 the Academy must be received in writing to ISACS by emailing 10 business days prior to the Academy to receive a refund. ISACS will determine the refund amount, if any. Refunds amounts may be determined at the Academy’s conclusion. At any time, registration may be transferred to another member from the same school.

If you have any questions, please contact the ISACS office at (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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