January 23 – 25 | Wentworth by the Sea Resort

Join us for our 2024 Heads of School Retreat and Annual Association Meeting. We are excited to come together for days of community, laughter, learning, and growth. Engage in thought-provoking discussions, hear from world-class speakers, share experiences, and connect with fellow school leaders. Whether you are new to the AISNE community, or an old friend, you will find this in-person gathering stimulating and reinvigorating.

Pricing and Hotel:


This event is exclusively for AISNE Members.


Hotel Information
Wentworth by the Sea
588 Wentworth Rd
New Castle, NH 03854

Group rate: $169/nt + taxes, based on availability
Rooms must be reserved by December 15

Reserve Your Hotel Room

Agenda at a Glance

Tuesday, January 23

  • 5:00 – 6:00 PM | Welcome Cocktails & Registration, Courtesy of Blackbaud
  • 6:00 – 8:30 PM | Dine on Your Own
  • 8:30 –  | Cocktails & Conversation

Wednesday, January 24

  • 7:45 – 8:45 AM | Breakfast
  • 9:00 AM – 10:15 AM | Collaboration Café: New Heads of School (Years 1 – 3)
  • 9:00 AM – 10:15 AM | Collaboration Café: Veteran Heads of School (Years 4+)
  • 10:45 AM – 12:00 PM | “What Calls You to Leadership?” with Dr. Gene Batiste 
  • 12:00 – 1:00 PM | Lunch 
  • 1:15 – 2:45 PM | “How You Call Others Into Leadership” with Wanda Holland Greene
  • 3:00 – 4:30 PM | “The Power of Words: Your Voice in Leadership”
  • 4:45 – 5:30 PM | AISNE Annual Meeting 
  • 5:30 – 6:30 PM | Cocktails, courtesy of Rockland Trust
  • 6:30 – 8:30 PM | Dinner, courtesy of TIAA
  • 8:30 –  | Cocktails & Conversation 

Thursday, January 25

  • 7:45 – 8:45 AM | Breakfast
  • 9:00 – 10:00 AM | Topic Sessions 1
  • 10:15 – 11:15 AM | Topic Sessions 2
  • 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM | Closing Keynote with Pandit Dasa
  • 12:30 PM – 1:00 PM | Lunch & Farewell

Conference Agenda

Tuesday, January 23

Welcome Cocktails & Registration, Courtesy of Blackbaud | 5:00 – 6:00 PM
Our friends at Blackbaud are happy to welcome you to the 2024 AISNE Heads of School Retreat.

Dine on Your Own | 6:00 – 8:30 PM
Explore the local area and restaurants independently, or sign up for a small, informal dinner with Heads from programs and backgrounds similar to your own. If you would like to dine with fellow attendees, sign up for a casual group experience here.

Cocktails & Conversation | 8:30 – 10:30 PM
Join us in the Salt Bar, located in the hotel lobby, for a nightcap.

Wednesday, January 24

Breakfast | 7:45 – 8:45 AM

Collaboration Café: New Heads of School (Years 1 – 3) | 9:00 AM – 10:15 AM
As a new head of school, you have either joined a new school community or transitioned into headship—and AISNE is here to offer you a space to share generously and openly with your peers. We have designed the time to focus on you and your leadership. We will help set you up for long-term success by discussing how to balance the many roles and challenges of headship. Join us for this time, and let’s ‘press pause’ to celebrate, reflect, converse, and share tools to bring back to your day-to-day work.

Collaboration Café: Veteran Heads of School (Years 4+) | 9:00 AM – 10:15 AM
Come together for an open discussion of the challenges facing you and your peers today. As a group, we share resources, best practices, and solutions that you can bring back to your school.

What Calls You to Leadership?” | 10:45 AM – 12:00 PM
Dr. Gene Batiste
Leading a school comes with a unique blend of hope and optimism, grit and determination, and savvy and skill. During this self-reflection exercise, you will have the opportunity to rekindle your original motivation for becoming an education leader, and by proxy, a leader of your community writ large. We’ll spend time focusing on your purpose as a leader, and how this can be a ongoing wellspring of motivation over the years of your Headship… and beyond. This session is led by Dr. Gene Batiste, facilitator of AISNE DEIB Practitioner Cohort.

Drawing on 30 years of experience and expertise in helping leaders and groups create value, Dr. Gene Batiste’s consulting practice focuses on supporting the visualization and realization of building and sustaining diverse, inclusive, and equitable independent school communities. Gene most recently served as the Assistant Head of School for Engagement at The Dwight-Englewood School (New Jersey). From  2017 to 2021, Dr. Batiste served as the Chief Diversity Officer at St. John’s School (Texas). Prior to that, Gene served as Executive Director at Independent Education (IE), now the Association of Independent Schools of Greater Washington (AISGW). He was Vice President for Professional Development and School Field Services & Equity and Justice  Initiatives at the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) for more than a decade. Today, his consulting firm aids schools in research, DEI work, and leadership development and coaching.

Lunch | 12:00 – 1:00 PM

General Session
Inheritors and Benefactors: How Heads of School Develop and Distribute Talent | 1:15 – 2:45 PM
Dr. Wanda Holland Greene
Heads of School “inherit” a predecessor’s administrative team and middle managers. A critical task of headship in the entry years at a school is to assess, define, and harness the talents of individual leaders. Over time, effective Heads not only develop inherited talent and new hires; they also begin to assume the role of “benefactor,” as they prepare excellent leaders who aspire to higher levels of responsibility and impact. These professionals are eventually “distributed” into the pipeline—either advancing in their current schools or departing for roles in other institutions. Together, we will focus on the Head in the dual roles of inheritor and benefactor. Wanda will offer concrete strategies and action steps for vigorously measuring and growing talent and selflessly distributing talent for the benefit of our profession.

Wanda Holland Greene is Head of School at The Hamlin School in San Francisco, a mission-driven institution dedicated to best practices and innovation in the education of girls and young women, as well the Vice Chair of Columbia University’s Board of Trustees. She serves as the leading facilitator of AISNE’s Heads of Color Cohort, where she coaches Heads in their leadership work. Wanda is originally from Brooklyn, NY and attended The Chapin School. She received her EdM from Columbia University’s Teachers College. She served as a senior leader at The Park School in Brookline, MA, and is no widely recognized as a mentor, advocate, and executive coach for Heads of School nationwide.

“The Power of Words: Your Voice in Leadership” | 3:00 – 4:30 PM
This time will be devoted to playful hands-on activities that illustrate the power your voice and words have on your school leadership. We’ll center on gratitude, creativity, and introspection as drivers of your personal leadership brand. You will move freely through the space and focus on the activities that most resonate with you as you hone your unique communication style.

AISNE Annual Meeting | 4:45 – 5:30 PM
Our Annual Meeting is a time to reflect on the successes of the past year and look to upcoming initiatives for the future. We will celebrate our community and share in the progress we have collectively made. Join AISNE’s Executive Director, Claire Leheny, and our association’s Board President, Sarah Pelmas.

Cocktails | 5:30 – 6:30 PM
Cocktails provided by Rockland Trust.

Dinner | 6:30 – 8:30 PM

Cocktails & Conversation | 8:30 PM & onward
Join us in the Salt Bar, located in the hotel lobby, for a nightcap.

Thursday, January 25

Breakfast | 7:45 – 8:45 AM

Topic Sessions 1 | 9:00 – 10:00 AM

Discovering The Why, The What, and The How of Your School Community

Chris Doktor & John Harden, Partners, Olson Lewis + Architects
Use this time during this Retreat to step back and take a balcony-level look at the driving “why” behind your school community. Drawing from a proven process developed over years of master planning and independent school projects, this workshop is designed to efficiently guide you through the crucial steps of the Immersion process. In a series of engaging exercises, you will identify what makes your school and its community unique and how to leverage that to build consensus among stakeholders and envision future-looking possibilities. Through insightful discussions, we will distill common themes and aspirations, providing you with actionable ideas for fostering belonging, community, and impactful school projects.

Confidently Managing Challenging Employees and Families

Brian Garrett, Of Counsel, Litigation Department and Chair, Education Law Practice Group, McLane Middleton
Perhaps now more than ever, independent schools are facing complex and protracted dealings with employees and families that undermine a school’s mission and stated values. While separating these individuals from the community may become an inevitable goal, getting to that point while managing potential legal and community relations obstacles can seem like an insurmountable task. This session will focus on the frameworks schools should consider implementing to help guide and support them through these trying moments. In addition, this session will heavily incorporate real-life scenarios, requiring attendees to collaborate and share various approaches that can be used to navigate these situations with one another successfully.

How to Leverage Word-of-Mouth to Drive Enrollment

Maria Kadison, CEO and President of EdwardsCo
Word-of-mouth marketing is the most effective and least expensive source of prospective families, yet it feels outside of our control. It is not. This interactive workshop will share the essential elements and best practices of a successful brand ambassador program, one that is specifically geared to increase enrollment demand at your school. You will learn why word-of-mouth is so important and who should participate. 

Caring for Yourself & Others During a Capital Campaign

Kate Villa, Executive Vice President, CCS Fundraising
Transformational campaigns require an enormous time commitment from leaders in an era of high Advancement and Head turnover. In this session, we will examine how you can ensure both a foundation of success from Day One and a culture of care for yourself and your senior leadership team—even in the face of setbacks and challenges. We will offer tactics, tips, and learnings from peer schools about how they overcame obstacles and created the conditions for success. You will be presented with examples of the resources, time, and care required to ultimately allow a Head of School to focus on high-level responsibilities such as visioning and campaigning.

Topic Sessions 2 | 10:15 – 11:15 AM

Dilemmas of Leadership: Wisdom and Counsel of the Group

Allison Gaines Pell, Head of School, Wheeler School
It is often the case that we come to conferences and retreats with ongoing, in-the-moment dilemmas that are weighing on us. This session is for you if you have something you want to process with other Heads. Using a structured dialogue, Heads will come together to process those real-time dilemmas and get real-time feedback from other Heads of School in a confidential environment using a Dilemma Consultancy Protocol. The protocol includes a presenter, clarifying and probing questions, and then a session for listening to others process your issues. Learn how this protocol has changed Allison’s own professional development trajectory and is now used weekly with Wheeler’s leadership team.

Impactful Strategic Planning: How to Stand Out in a Competitive Independent School Market

Stephen Holmes, Principal and Founder, The 5Rs Partnership
The outcome of your strategic plan needs to provide compelling and cogent reasons for parents, students and staff to choose your school. How do you build plans that do this? We will discuss the need for wider perspectives, systems, and supports create enthusiastic constituents. You will dive into characteristics and objectives of strategic plans that help build market success for your school in a highly competitive region of independent education. Dr. Stephen Holmes will present a five-part framework for your strategic thinking and encourage you to create compelling and ambitious big-picture understandings that come to life across your school’s pedagogy and curriculum and within your school’s marketing and communications. You will come away with a trajectory for success that you can share with your board and senior leadership. 

Leading From the Inside Out

Wanda Holland Greene, Head of School at The Hamlin School
Leadership development frameworks tend to focus on the acquisition and strengthening of particular skills and habits – knowing the right thing, doing the right thing, saying the right thing. Consequently, much of our success as leaders is measured by our visible traits and by external assessments conducted by other people. What if we dared to redirect our focus as leaders from the outer world to our very real inner landscape? Could it be that a deeper understanding of ourselves was the key to unlocking our full potential as leaders? What if our effectiveness was viewed through a lens of inner mastery – a sense of knowing who we are and what fuels our energy? Wanda will introduce and explore the concept of personal leadership, using the powerful research and ideas found in Columbia University Business School professor Hitendra Wadhwa’s book “Inner Mastery, Outer Impact.”

Closing Keynote
The Future of Work: Leading to Create a Positive and Mindful Workplace Culture | 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM
Pandit Dasa
The Great Resignation and the rise in mental health struggles are demanding a transformation in workplace culture. To attract, engage, and retain top talent, leaders need to create a more human and employee-centered workplace. We must lead by example and create a workplace environment that not only encourages but also supports our mental, physical, and emotional well-being so we can perform at a high level while taking care of ourselves and our families. This presentation will address the importance of creating an environment where ego battles aren’t driving the organization down and where individuals are willing to put aside their self-interest for the sake of the greater good. It encourages an environment where individuals are willing to appreciate the contributions of their coworkers instead of feeling threatened by them.

Pandit Dasa is an author and former monk who immigrated to the United States from India in 1980. His writings include Mindfulness for the Wandering Mind: Life-Changing Tools for Managing Stress and Improving Mental Health at Work and in Life and Urban Monk: Exploring Karma, Consciousness, and the Divine. He speaks to associations and Fortune 500s about workplace culture, the future of work, mental health, and mindfulness. He has worked with teams at Google, NASA, JP Morgan Chase, IBM, the London Stock Exchange, AT&T, and many more.

Lunch & Farewell | 12:30 PM – 1:00 PM

Join Your Peers

  • Martina Albright, Apple Orchard School
  • Sue Angelides, Cambridge Montessori School
  • David Armistead, John Bapst Memorial High School
  • Steve Armstrong, The Fessenden School
  • Cady Audette, Charlestown Nursery School
  • Timothy Bakland, Waring School
  • Eric Barber, Walnut Hill School for the Arts
  • Jonathan Bartlett, Brookwood School
  • Brad Bates, Dublin School
  • Danielle Beale, Nantucket New School
  • Deanne Benson, Lesley Ellis School
  • Beth Black, Wellan Montessori School
  • Derek Boonisar, The Fenn School
  • Jennifer Borman, Common School
  • Katherine Bradley, Dana Hall School
  • Carrie Brennan, Thetford Academy
  • Gabe Burnstein, Charles River School
  • Jeffrey Burroughs, Lincoln Academy
  • Joanne Carruthers, Stanstead College
  • Marshall Carter, Atrium School
  • Charles Carter Jr., Beacon Academy
  • Andy Chappell, The Derryfield School
  • Lise Charlier, The Cambridge School of Weston
  • Kelley Collins, Bay Farm Montessori Academy
  • Lance Conrad, Chapel Hill-Chauncy Hall
  • Will Crissman, Tenacre Country Day School
  • Jon Deveaux, Campus School of Smith College
  • Marcia Diamond, The Bay School
  • Courtney Dickinson, Acera School
  • Margaret Douglass, Odyssey Day School
  • Nicole DuFauchard, The Advent School
  • Todd Eveleth, Tower School
  • Henry Fairfax, Concord Academy
  • Steve Farley, Kingsley Montessori School
  • Adam Fischer, The Rashi School
  • Gretchen Forsyth, Glen Urquhart School
  • Chris Fortunato, Thayer Academy
  • Allison Gaines Pell, The Wheeler School
  • Diana Gleeson, Bridgton Academy
  • Renee Greenfield, Carroll School
  • Judy Guild, Brimmer and May School
  • Thomas Haferd, St. Paul’s Choir School
  • Danielle Heard, Nashoba Brooks School
  • Dalia Hochman, Gann Academy
  • Brooke Hopkins, Riverbend School
  • Sharon Howell, St. Johnsbury Academy
  • Colin Igoe, Long Trail School
  • Ben Jackson, North Yarmouth Academy
  • Moira Kelly, EXPLO
  • Laurie Lambert, Stoneleigh-Burnham School
  • Walter Landberg, St. Michael’s Country Day School
  • Brendan Largay, Belmont Day School
  • Gretchen Larkin, Eagle Hill School (Greenwich, CT)
  • Sophie Lau, Lincoln School
  • Marie Leary, The Sage School
  • Tyler Lewis, Kimball Union Academy
  • Stephanie Luebbers, Bancroft School
  • Roderick MacNeal, The Chestnut Hill School
  • Alex Magay, The Woodward School
  • Joseph Manning, Fryeburg Academy
  • Judson McBrine, Washington Academy
  • Tom McKenney, Nativity School of Worcester
  • John McVeigh, Holderness School
  • Rene Menard, Thornton Academy
  • Dona Milani Luther, Inly School
  • Emily Miller, Nantucket Lighthouse School
  • Timothy Newbold, Village School of North Bennington
  • Mary Newman, Sharon Academy
  • Kathleen Nicholson, Wolfeboro Camp School
  • Daniel O’Brien, The Putney School
  • Garine Palandjian, St. Stephen’s Armenian Elementary School
  • Kelly Pellagrini, Charlestown Nursery School
  • Sarah Pelmas, The Winsor School
  • Nick Perry, The Grammar School
  • Timothy Powers, Pinkerton Academy
  • Jen Price, Buckingham Browne & Nichols School
  • Annmarie Quezada, Mother Caroline Academy
  • Colleen Ramsden, Derby Academy
  • Grace Regan, Boston College High School
  • Diane Rich, Rocky Hill Country Day School
  • Rebekah Riley, Cambridge-Ellis School
  • Kim Samson, Beaver Country Day School
  • Kate Saunders, Tilton School
  • Margaret Schlachter, The Mountain School at Winhall
  • Mike Schloat, The Bement School
  • Arnold Shorey, Foxcroft Academy
  • Daniel Skoglund, Maple Street School
  • Tao Smith, Gould Academy
  • Jamie Soule, Erskine Academy
  • Elizabeth Speers, Middlesex School
  • CJ Spirito, Rock Point School
  • Mark Tashjian, Burr and Burton Academy
  • Karen Thomson, Red Fox Community School
  • Katherine Titus, Moses Brown School
  • Thomas Trigg, The Waldorf School of Lexington
  • John Turner, Heronfield Academy
  • Jessie Vogel, North Shore Nursery School
  • Amy Vorenberg, Shore Country Day School
  • Geoff Wagg, Waynflete School
  • Mary Warner, Berkshire Country Day School
  • Allison Webster, Dedham Country Day School
  • Serena Wilkie Gifford, Tower School
  • Scott Young, The Park School
  • Jennifer Zaccara, Vermont Academy

Thank You to Our Sponsors

The AISNE 2024 Heads of School Retreat would not be possible without their generous support.

Cancellation Policy

Cancellations and transfer requests must be sent via email to info@aisne.org. Cancellations received up to 10 days before the start of the event will receive a 100% refund, less a $150 administrative 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 3 business days before the start of the event.

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