June 21 – 22 | In Person!

Join Heads of School and board leaders from Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont for an overnight symposium in the mountains of western Maine. Spend time focusing on the shared interests, challenges, and strategies for independent school leadership in northern New England.

Pricing and Hotel:

Member Rate Non-Member Rate
$250/pp $350/pp

Hotel Information

The Jordan Hotel at Sunday River
27 Grand Circle
Newry, ME 04261

Event Registration

Hotel Reservation

Agenda at a Glance

Wednesday, June 21

  • 1:00 – 4:00 PM | Optional Sunday River Activities
  • 4:00 – 4:30 PM | Registration
  • 4:30 – 5:30 PM | Governing Best Practices
  • 5:30 – 6:00 PM | Hotel Check-in & Break
  • 6:00 – 7:00 PM | Cocktails and Hors d’Oeuvres
  • 7:00 – 8:30 PM | Dinner
  • 8:30 PM | Cocktails & Conversations (Cash Bar)

Thursday, June 22

  • 8:00 – 9:00 AM | Breakfast
  • 8:00 – 9:00 AM | Breakfast Meeting with MAIS
  • 9:00 – 10:00 AM | Regional Keynote: “Our Shared Interests and Strategies” with Tom Lovett
  • 10:00 – 10:15 AM | Break
  • 10:15 – 11:15 AM | Topic Sessions
  • 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM | Leadership Case Studies
  • 12:30 PM | Lunch & Farewell


Wednesday, June 21

4:00 – 4:30 PM | Registration
We look forward to welcoming you!

4:30 – 5:30 PM
| Governing Best Practices: The Essential Partnership between Heads & Board
Rob Gustavson, Head of School at The Fay School
Jim Shay, Board President at The Fay School
Claire Leheny, AISNE Executive Director
Join us for this workshop, where we will look at the current landscape of independent schools in the region and identify the latest opportunities and challenges. We will cover the roles and responsibilities of Board members to support the school in addressing these moments of change and review the trinity of good governance: fiduciary, strategic, and generative leadership. You and your board members in attendance will hear real-world examples of how an adaptive board can mean a thriving school.

6:00 – 8:30 PM | Cocktails & Dinner
Join your fellow Northern New England leaders for cocktails, conversation, and a delicious dinner. This is a time to see old friends and make new ones. The conversations will continue after dinner at the Jordan Hotel bar (cash bar) for those interested. 

Thursday, June 22

8:00 – 9:00 AM | Breakfast & MAIS Meeting
Attendees from Vermont and New Hampshire will enjoy breakfast together. We welcome our friends from the Maine Association of Independent Schools (MAIS), as they convene with their member schools over breakfast.

9:00 – 10:00 AM | Keynote: Tom Lovett, “Our Shared Interests & Strategies as Northern New England Independent Schools”
Join us for this interactive and reflective session centered on our common goals as Northern New England independent schools. Facilitator Tom Lovett will make the case that Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont have long been drivers of innovation, inclusion, and educational excellence and illustrate ways we can continue this progress.

Whether you are from a boarding school, day school, or a town academy, independent schools have rich histories as responsive and dedicated partners to the communities they serve. Tom will also set the context for the current moment, touching on the recent Carson v. Makin ruling, the Covid-19 pandemic, and increasing polarization in our political system. Tom will then lead you through a series of structured conversations to help school leaders sharpen and share their own language for the legacy, promise, and importance of independent education. We will examine how by building a common language and working together for our shared interests and identity as independents, we will better ensure a vibrant future for our schools.

Tom Lovett was appointed to the Vermont State Board of Education in 2020, and is the Board Chair of the Northeast Kingdom Collaborative in Vermont. He served as Headmaster of the St. Johnsbury Academy from 2001 – 2020. Prior to that, he worked at the Academy in various capacities, including Academic Dean, Assistant Academic Dean, English Department Chair, Director of the Advanced Placement Institute, Tri-Chair of the capital campaign for the Center for the Arts, Advisor Team Leader, English Teacher, ESL Teacher, Football Coach, Baseball Coach, Public Speaking/Debate Coach, and Head Dorm Proctor. Tom received an AM in English Language and Literature from Brown University, a BA in English and Humanities from Providence College, and was named a Klingenstein Fellow.

After stepping down as headmaster in 2020, he became the Chair of the Good Shepherd Catholic School Board that same year. He was ordained a permanent deacon in the Catholic Church in 2022 and serves on other non-profit boards. He continues to teach English part-time and coach football at St. Johnsbury and is involved in youth sports.

10:15 – 11:15 AM | Choice of Two Topic Sessions

Communication Strategies for Crisis Management

Kai McGintee, Attorney & Shareholder, Bernstein Shur
David Farmer, Managing Director & Public Affairs Consultant, Bernstein Shur
In this session we will discuss the communications challenges related to sexual misconduct, bias incidents, and other crises at independent schools. Kai and David will explain how to manage these challenges by developing communications strategies for school administrators, Heads of School, and Boards of Trustees. This session will include an interactive portion where participants can share experiences and work through real-world examples with Kai and David’s assistance and input.

Building or Rebuilding a Healthy, Inclusive, and Active Board

Holly Hirst, Head of School at Andover School of Montessori
The onboarding and continuous development of Board members are crucial components of healthy, inclusive, and active school governance. However, in our busy roles as school leaders, we often skip this essential work due to a lack of time, talent, or funds. Come hear why this investment is so powerful for your school and come away understanding the value of Board development. We will discuss how to center inclusivity on your board, who on your team is responsible for the recruitment of Board members, timelines and structures for identifying and onboarding trustees, and how to get back on track when boards go astray.

11:30 AM – 12:30 PM | Choice of Two Topic Sessions

How Changing Your Tuition System Can Yield Stronger Family Relationships and Increased Belonging 
Tom Cicatiello, Chief Financial Officer at Gordon School
Caroline Mullaney, Admissions Director at Gordon School
Susie Horan, Director of Enrollment Management, Bancroft School

Dan Mercurio, Assistant Head of School and Director of Marketing and Communications, Bancroft School
In this session, school leaders from two AISNE member schools will share changes their schools made to the tuition and enrollment management strategies to better reflect the mission of their schools and their schools’ strategic goals.
Participants will come away from this session with:

  • Two schools’ stories of the why and how of implementing an innovative approach to tuition as well as lessons learned
  • An understanding of how Bancroft decided on a tuition reset
  • An understanding of how Gordon moved away from having a financial aid budget
  • An increased understanding of recent changes in the landscape of financial assistance and tuition systems
  • Tips, advice, and concrete strategies about how to make the admissions and tuition process (which may include financial aid) one that increases relationships and builds trust with families.

The Current International Recruitment, Onboarding, and Retention Landscape

Rick DaSilva, Director of Community & Equity Affairs, St. Mark’s School
Have your international recruitment efforts struggled over the last few years? You are not alone. With a rapidly shifting global landscape, your school needs to adapt its approach. Come hear from Rick DaSilva, who spent more than a decade recruiting abroad for Tabor Academy, about the current trends for admissions and enrollment management in the independent school space. Gain ideas for navigating the volatility and competition in the international student market. We will discuss how the changing market offers new opportunities—not just for achieving enrollment goals but also inclusion and belonging. Rick will share successes in recruitment, onboarding, and retention and discuss “the why” behind this work. 

Join Your Peers

Connect with the following peers from across the AISNE membership:

  • Eliza Alexander, AISNE
  • Becky Biggs, AISNE
  • Claire Leheny, AISNE
  • Holly Hirst, Andover School of Montessori
  • Susie Horan, Bancroft School
  • Dan Mercurio, Bancroft School
  • David Farmer, Bernstein Shur
  • Kai McGintee, Bernstein Shur
  • Diana Gleeson, Bridgton Academy
  • Andrew Chappell, The Derryfield School
  • Susan Rand King, The Derryfield School
  • Rob Gustavson, Fay School
  • Jim Shay, Fay School
  • Joseph Manning, Fryeburg Academy
  • Tom Cicatiello, Gordon School
  • Caroline Mullaney, Gordon School
  • Sam Adams, Gould Academy
  • Phyllis Gardiner, Gould Academy
  • Tao Smith, Gould Academy
  • Patrick Phillips, Hebron Academy
  • Christopher Cheney, Kents Hill School
  • Jeffrey Burroughs, Lincoln Academy
  • Colin Igoe, Long Trail School
  • David Pearson, Maine Central Institute
  • Dan Skoglund, Maple Street School
  • Tom Lovett, Northern New England Leadership Symposium
  • Brian Thomas, Proctor Academy
  • Rebecca Clapp, The Riley School
  • Rick DaSilva, St. Mark’s School
  • Joanne Carruthers, Stanstead College

Cancellation Policy

In-Person Events
Cancellations and transfer requests must be sent via email to info@aisne.org. Cancellations received up to 14 days before the start of the event will receive a 100% refund less a $25 administrative fee. Cancellations received within 14 days of the start of the event will receive a refund less a $100 fee. This fee covers the cost of our minimum commitments with our hotel partners; thank you for your understanding. Transfers of registrations from one person to another are permitted up to 24 hours before the start of the event.

Not an AISNE Member?

Become part of a network of more than 260 schools across New England. Enjoy opportunities for your entire school staff and faculty to connect with and learn from peers, and engage in high-quality professional development. AISNE is here to support your school’s excellence and continuous improvement.

Join today or renew your membership.