Conference Presentations

Governance as Leadership
Richard Chait, Sociologist, Author & Professor, Harvard University

Keynote Address, Saturday, January 27, 2007

Putting Governance as Leadership into Practice
Richard Chait, Sociologist, Author & Professor, Harvard University

The purpose of this session was to consider how the concepts and framework of Governance as Leadership can best be put into practice by governing boards and school heads. To do this work well, what needs to happen? Ample time was given for discussion and Q & A.

Legal Issues
Michael Blacher, Attorney & Donna Williamson, Attorney, Liebert Cassidy Whitmore

Education is a family affair. This workshop discussed a range of legal issues faced by trustees concerning students and their parents. For example, what should be included in enrollment contracts student/parent handbooks? When can a school discipline students for off-campus conduct? When does conduct by parents justify or require action by the school? When can schools be liable for the actions of students? Are schools obligated to accommodate students with disabilities? How should the school respond to unwanted media attention and to unforeseen disasters (are there any other kind)?

Head Search and Transition: Planning for Success
Buzz Heinrich, Head of School, Prospect Sierra School
Mimi Baer, Executive Director, California Association of Independent Schools
Lucinda Lee Katz, Head of School &
Irvenia Waters, Board Chair, Marin Country Day School

Heads of School Buzz Heinrich (whose school just completed a search for his successor) and Lucinda Lee Katz (who followed a long term head), Trustee Irvenia Waters and CAIS Executive Director Mimi Baer discussed the issues that arise in head transition and planned for a change in leadership. Theoretical framework, actual anecdotes and controversial options and thoughts on the subject were included.

Positioning Your School for the 21st Century
Mike Connor, Principal, Connor Associates

The American Association of Colleges and Universities predicts that by 2025, half of all existing independent colleges in the United States will close, merge, or be forced to change their missions. Many independent residential and day schools are wrestling--or should be--with these scenarios.

How can trustees help their schools stand out amid an increasingly competitive field of less expensive educational options, many of which are co-opting the strengths of independent schools? How well is your school preparing its students for the world they will inherit twenty years out?

Participants explored and shared skills and attitudes that are expected to be valued in 2025 and beyond, and learned how marketing-savvy schools are applying these insights to enhance their schools competitive and communicate value.

It's Easy Being Green: School Sustainability Through Service Learning
Kathryn Lee, Service Learning Coordinator, Prospect Sierra School
Deborah Moore, Green Schools Initiative
Joanie Kibbey, Trustee, Prospect Sierra School

This presentation provided a step-by-step guide to help plan a green future for schools. This involves ways to: develop a long-term vision for environmental health and ecological sustainability at your school; create effective processes to inspire and engage the entire school community in greening efforts; and establish institutional structures to ensure progress. “Greening” efforts are enriched when students can take a leadership role in authentic work and service. The Service Learning Program at Prospect Sierra School is used as a case study. The workshop includes opportunities to: share ideas and solutions, address educational, community and environmental benefits of Service Learning and “greening,” and problem-solve budgetary and management challenges. Take home: 7-step approach for starting; 4 key pillars of a “green” school, sample school board resolution; lists of resources, curricula, and organizations; and examples of “green” schools.

Trusteeship 101: Workshop for New Trustees
Gretchen Milligan, Board President, Marlborough School and Principal, Board Focus

What have you gotten yourself into? This session helped participants understand how to be a more productive trustee and a positive advocate for for their schools by clarifying roles and responsibilities as an individual trustee as well as the roles and responsibilities of the board as a whole.

Highly Effective Boards: The Crucial Role on the Committee of Trustees
Anne-Marie Pierce, President, A.M.P. & Associates

The presentation focussed on the multi-faceted responsibilities of the Committee on Trustees and the significant impact it can make on developing a highly effectual board.

Topics included strategic nominations, effective board orientation, trustee development and retreats, various approaches to board assessment, essential board policies, thoughtful leadership succession and more.

Speaker Contact Sheet
Complete contact list for 2007 Trustee/School Head Conference presenters.