These workshops have been developed for the use of NJAIS members only and are not to be downloaded, copied, used, or distributed without permission.


2024-25 program to be announced by August 31, 2024



Seminars for Ongoing Learning in School Governance 

For: Board of Trustee Members of Independent Schools and School Leadership Teams


Hosted via:


School governance is complex, demanding, and incredibly rewarding work.  This series of workshops serves to continue your growth as a Trustee, Head of School, or School Leader in order to support your school in an ongoing and informed manner.  


Each individual session is listed below:
**Dates, times, and titles are subject to change**



Tuesday, February 6, 2024; 4:30 - 6:00 p.m.
Reputation Management: A New Lens for Independent School Trustees and Heads

The reputation of an independent school constitutes its single most valuable asset! Yet, there is still a genuine lack of robust evidence and coordinated responsibility in schools to build, manage and evaluate reputation. All too often we see in schools that interest to shape reputation only comes formally onto the radar when a crisis occurs! This interactive session gives a school wide framework for reputation development. It will provide a robust and proven approach to shape reputation and build word of mouth. A reputation self-assessment and recent case studies on school reputation globally. A schools’ reputation constitutes its most valuable asset – nothing is more important than building, managing and evaluating reputation. Yet, there is a genuine lack of robust measurement and coordinated responsibility in schools to build reputation. A precondition for a strong school reputation is alignment between what a school says about itself (desired identity) and actually does (education reality).

Presented by: Dr. Stephen Holmes B Ed, MBA, M Ed, PhD) is the Founder and Principal of The 5Rs Partnership, established in 2004 based in Singapore, with offices internationally including London, UK.  He leads an expert team specializing in identity, reputation development, strategic planning, marketing, and culture supporting independent and international schools in every continent with an unmatched client list. Stephen brings a unique background and perspective to schools. In the late 1990s, Stephen developed the 5Rs framework (recruitment, retention, referral, relationships, reputation) in his seminal PhD study to establish a working framework for schools to become responsive and market oriented. Dr. Holmes has since long been a sought-after speaker, trainer and consultant with major international school agencies across the world. In 2023 alone, Dr. Holmes was commissioned for major independent and international school projects and conference keynotes extensively across the US, UK, Asia, Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Europe. Dr. Holmes also undertakes substantive published research, program development training and teaching with school audiences globally – he therefore gains the respect of Heads and Trustees of Schools who might otherwise view consultants in a different light. After formally entering the USA independent school market during 2023, his unique blend of education and market perspective and expertise quickly caught the attention of leading independent schools and their associations nationally, with recent and current commissioning right across the USA.



Tuesday, February 13, 2024; 4:30 - 6:00 p.m.
Challenges and Opportunities for Independent Schools

Helping a generation of young people find their purpose has always been a tall order, but never before have so many schools been tasked with doing more for their students with less capacity and support than they are now. More students are struggling, with fewer adults in the teaching profession to help guide them forward. Inflation has left many families unable to pay tuition and many schools unable to pay for programming. Meanwhile, political polarization and societal divisions have led to schools being placed under a microscope. Through it all, schools are expected to offer more options and services or lose traction in the face of competitors. To better understand the nuances of the myriad, interrelated issues independent schools are currently facing, the National Association of Independent Schools surveyed heads of school about their own experiences. Though the challenges (and triumphs) they shared were as diverse and varied as independent schools themselves, five main themes emerged. Join this program to hear NAIS researchers Margaret Anne Rowe and Joseph Corbett highlight their findings, offer key questions to help schools navigate the challenges, and provide valuable resources for our leaders.

Presented by:
Joe Corbett is a Senior Analyst at NAIS. His work is currently focused on helping schools understand their markets, and how changing demographics, economics, and parent values are affecting independent schools across the country. Joe has helped develop tools such as NAIS’s Market View, and has been a key part of the organization’s Jobs-to-be-Done research for independent schools. Joe has also authored magazine articles and chapters for NAIS’s Trendbook, focusing on enrollment and economic issues relevant to schools. Joe earned his BA in Economics from The Catholic University of America.

Margaret Anne Rowe is a research analyst at NAIS, where she focuses on using data to help schools understand key issues facing them, where they fit into the independent school industry, and what they can do next. She has worked on topics including governance, leadership turnover, community polarization, and student and adult well-being. Margaret Anne has led development on multiple NAIS research surveys and regularly writes about her findings for NAIS publications, including Independent School magazine, the Trendbook, and the online Research Advisory series. Margaret Anne earned her BA and MA in linguistics from Georgetown University.


Thursday, February 15 2024; 5:15 - 6:45 p.m.
Board Committees: You Mean We Can Actually Get More Work Done and Do it in an Effective Manner?

Ultimately all Trustees are equally liable for the governance of their school and for their schools’ current and future success. An effective Board will be organized to generate strategic thinking; oversee critical functions; make informed decisions; identify, recruit, elect, orient/train Trustees; and assess the Board and Head of School’s performance. An effective board is organized to carry out these responsibilities through its committees and task forces – all of this while being mindful of Trustees’ precious time. This session will focus on: the fundamentals of board organization; Task Forces and other Ad Hoc Committees; Advisory Committees; Committees that should be disbanded; Committee Chairs/Members role and responsibilities. There will be ample time for questions and comments will be welcomed.

Presented by: Mary DeKuyper, a graduate of The Bryn Mawr School and Wellesley College, is a self-employed consultant, facilitator, and trainer for non-profits in areas such as general governance; Board development; Board/staff relations; organizational structure; planning; fund raising; volunteer management; and advocacy. She taught a course on independent school governance for the Johns Hopkins University School of Education for a number of years. Mary DeKuyper was formerly associated with the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges and BoardSource (formerly the National Center for Nonprofit Boards). She is a past National Chair of Volunteers of the American Red Cross, during the period of 9/11 and afterwards. This was a full-time, volunteer position at the highest level of the Organization. Ms. DeKuyper combines her vocation with her avocation – service on boards. She has served on 31 non- profit Boards and chaired 13 of those Boards, and she currently is a Trustee emerita of the Enoch Pratt Free Library of Baltimore and of The Bryn Mawr School in Baltimore, Maryland. She served as Chair of Bryn Mawr’s Board of Trustees for four years and President of the Alumnae Association for two years. She is a Trustee of the Sheridan Foundation, which funds Baltimore-area independent schools and cultural institutions and she is a former Trustee of the Far Hills Country Day School in Far Hills, NJ. Mary DeKuyper is the author of numerous articles and three editions of The Trustee Handbook – A Guide to Effective Governance for Independent School Boards, Doing More with Less – How Committees and Task Forces Can Strengthen Your Board, and The Committee Handbook, published by the National Association of Independent School (NAIS). Mary received the American Red Cross’ national Harriman Award for Distinguished Volunteer Service, the highest volunteer award given by the Red Cross. Upon her “retirement” as National Chair of Volunteers, she received the National Call to Service Award from the President of the United States. She was the first recipient of the Bryn Mawr School’s Mary H. DeKuyper Award for Trusteeship – an award given in her honor. In 2006, she also received Bryn Mawr’s Distinguished Alumna Award. She received the Top 100 Maryland Women in the first year of the award and again in 2002. Mary DeKuyper lives in Baltimore, Maryland and has two grown children, two perfect grandsons, a cat, and dog.


Tuesday, March 5, 2024; 4:30 - 5:30 p.m.
Surprises Happen! Critical Communication for Crisis Management


The session includes tools for identifying a crisis and managing the victim dimension of that crisis, keys to good crisis and reputation management. We will discuss the Buy-Time Statement, as well as how it can be modified for a variety of audiences. We also discuss common mistakes organizations make in a crisis: failing to identify with the victim dimension, failing to communicate, avoiding audiences, saying “no comment” and wishing the crisis away. Rockford Gray training provides alternatives to these common missteps. The session also includes a discussion on Agenda Setting. A clear and relevant agenda is critical to achieving success with the important audiences as well as the media. We conclude with tools for anticipating the public’s response to a crisis and the order in which many audiences will process your crisis until resolution is achieved.

Presented by: Jennifer Miller, Managing Partners at Rockford Gray, has more than 15 years of news reporting, including seven years at CBS News. Jennifer shares her understanding of the news media and crisis management as a published author, a noted commentator and speaker. She knows how reporters think, how they act, and the questions they will ask next. She paid her dues working in local TV markets from Maine to the Rocky Mountains and earned her stripes as a national correspondent for CBS News.

Please REGISTER HERE for this experience



Wednesday, March 6, 2024; 4:30 - 6:00 p.m.
It Couldn't Have Been an Email: Exciting and Streamlined Agendas

It could not have been an email - and it is not a recitation of the Board report.  This session will provide participants with a framework and guiding principles for engaging, purposeful, and mission-driven Board meetings.  With time to workshop existing Board agendas, participants will leave the session with fresh ideas for future Board meetings that are generative, strategic, and productive.

Presented by:

Ivy Brown is the Chief Marketing Officer of WorkMoney, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to raising incomes and lowering costs for all Americans. Prior to WorkMoney, Ivy led marketing and business delivery for iconic brands at Johnson & Johnson (Johnson’s Baby, Splenda No Calorie Sweetener, Acuvue Contact Lenses). Her previous work at TIAA Financial Services and TD Bank led to business and brand growth, and garnered industry recognition.  Ivy has been an influential voice driving thought leadership in the advertising and marketing industries through her service on the National Advertising Review Board and the Association of National Advertisers Working Committees for Content, Agency Relations, and Media. As an executive leader, Ivy’s involvement in the broader community comes from a desire to give back at the local and national level.  She currently serves on three nonprofit Boards: LUCY Outreach (Lifting Up Camden’s Youth), National Runaway Safeline (NRS) and Moorestown Friends School, an independent pre-school through 12th grade day school.   Ivy is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis and holds an MBA degree from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. 

Julia de la Torre is the first female Head of School in Moorestown Friends School history. Previously, she was Head of Upper School at Greenhills School (MI). Prior to assuming these roles in school leadership, Julia was the Executive Director of Primary Source, a Boston-area non-profit that provides global learning opportunities and study travel for K-12 teachers on a variety of world regions and global issues. She also served as Program Director at Primary Source, where she developed and implemented professional development programs for teachers.  A graduate of Haverford College, Julia taught French and chaired the Foreign Language Department at Kent Denver School in Englewood, CO, before serving in the Peace Corps in Moldova. Subsequently, she completed a master’s degree at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in International Educational Policy and a certificate in Non-Profit Management and Leadership at the Boston University Questrom School of Business.  In her free time, Julia enjoys spending time with her husband and son. Julia and her family enjoy travel, cooking, and anything outdoors — hiking, cycling, and running to name a few.

Jennifer C. Galambos is Head of School at Kent Place School, an all-girls nonsectarian K - 12 school. She understands the need for an approachable, innovative, and creative leader who is dedicated to advancing Kent Place School’s mission and to preparing girls and young women for a global future. She earned her doctorate in education from Teachers College, Columbia University; her master’s degree in education with a concentration in private school leadership from Loyola University; and her bachelor’s degree in sociology from Franklin and Marshall College. Early in her independent school career, Jennifer was the Middle School principal at the Bullis School (MD); Director of Admission at Green Farms Academy (CT); Director of Admission and Financial Aid at Saddle River Day School (NJ); and a history teacher, dorm parent, and coach at the Perkiomen School (PA). More recently, she spent nine years at Bryn Mawr School, in Baltimore, as the Assistant Head of School and Upper School Director. Before that, she was its Middle School Director. In addition, Jennifer has served on numerous Boards, presented at annual conferences, and been a nationally ranked tennis player.

Anne Grissinger is the Chair of the Board of Trustees for Kent Place School and The Visual Arts Center of New Jersey and a member of the Advisory Board for The Children’s Health Fund.  Anne began a career on Wall Street as an equity analyst for both Oppenheimer Capital and Banker’s Trust, earning her Chartered Financial Analyst designation during that time.  After earning her MBA, she joined McKinsey and Company as a consultant, working in their New York, New Jersey and London offices before taking a leave to write a book on entertaining with her sister.  Cocktail Parties Straight Up! was published by John Wiley & Sons in the fall of 2005.  Anne then returned to work at JP Morgan as an internal consultant for their Private Bank and Investment Management businesses until retiring in the fall of 2007.  Anne received a BS in Finance from Florida State University and an MBA from Duke University.

Please REGISTER HERE for this experience


Tuesday, April 9, 2024; 4:30 - 6:00 p.m.
Training Your Board to Think Like Futurists

This session will highlight tools and frameworks needed to anticipate and adapt to an ever-changing world. Participants will engage with key global trends, from technology to social issues, while deciphering the signals that forecast future scenarios. The session will inspire Boards to embrace a futurist mindset in order to make more strategic decisions, to better understand the implications of emerging trends, and to prepare for the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead throughout the independent school landscape.

Presented by: Antonio Viva is a Partner at Leadership+Design. Previously, he served as the Executive Director of Artisans Asylum, one of the oldest and largest makerspaces in the United States. Prior to his role at Artisans, Antonio spent 12 years as the Head of School at Walnut Hill School for the Arts in Natick, MA. During his tenure, he implemented transformative programs and oversaw the expansion of artistic facilities. Antonio's most recent achievement includes co-designing and founding The Boston Ballet School Professional Division at Walnut Hill, the nation's leading all-inclusive professional ballet academy. A child of immigrants and a first-generation college student, Antonio has dedicated his life to promoting diversity and inclusion. He holds undergraduate and graduate  degrees from Union College in English and Teaching  respectively. He is a sought-after speaker where he addresses topics such as understanding global risks, fostering creativity, design, and effective leadership. Antonio has been featured by numerous regional independent school associations across the United States and works as an executive coach and advisor. Antonio resides in the Boston suburbs with his family and two cats and maintains his personal art studio at Artisans Asylum.

Please REGISTER HERE for this experience




Individual Session Fees:

$50 per registrant, Member Schools that Attended Trustee Enrichment Day on Sunday, January 28, 2024

$75 per registrant, all other Member Schools

$150 per registrant, Non-Member Schools