ISACS Heads Conference 2016



I spent Thursday and half of Friday last week in Chicago at the annual ISACS Heads of School Conference. To spend this amount of time with such intelligent and experienced independent school leaders is valuable to my leadership practice and a boost to my already rather consistently high morale for the work of leading Crossroads College Preparatory School.

Last year, I attended as many sessions as I could which was very helpful in my first year. This conference, I attended only the sessions facilitated by the keynote speakers which gave me more time with two topics that are really interesting to me and one that is very important to my work.

  • Greg Bamford, Head of Watershed School in Boulder, CO, presented on Leadership Through Design. Design thinking and its application to leadership and pedagogy is an interest I brought to my work at Crossroads from Hixson. Design as an organizing method for leadership is in line with our Primary Tenet and two values we practice and to which we aspire at Crossroads: empathy and listening. Time with Greg was very helpful as I think about our Makerspace and how we might leverage its possibilities.
  • Eboo Patel, founder and president of Interfaith Youth Core and a member of President Obama’s inaugural faith council, gave the lunch keynote and facilitated a post-lunch conversation. He is a Rhodes Scholar and has interesting quotes and poems that he readily recites from memory. Eboo spoke about diversity, inclusivity, and equity as an educational rather than administrative issue. I’m reading his book Sacred Ground: Pluralism, Prejudice, and the Promise of America and am eager to share what I learned from him and am learning from his book. Eboo asks good questions:
    • How do people with different values and views engage, learn, and build community together?
    • What do we have in common that we can work on together?
  • Tim Calkins is clinical professor of marketing at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. I learned a great deal in a short time about ways we might better market Crossroads in our community. He talked a lot about customer advantage: what is the value of the benefit of attending Crossroads? What do people see us as the best at providing? 

A Head of School wears multiple hats. This conference and what I learned there was supportive of my work as a leader in terms of the academic and business aspects of Crossroads. I am grateful for this time away and returned to St. Louis feeling very confident about all we do at Crossroads.

With great expectations,