Professional Development > Conferences and Workshops

2017-18 Professional Development

ISACS Leadership Academy: The Business of Leading Schools
in Partnership with the Kellogg School Center for Nonprofit Management

Tuesday, June 26, 2018 9:00 am - Thursday, June 28, 2018 3:30 pm

Northwestern University Downtown Chicago Campus
Chicago, IL

Registration is open for the Leadership Academy.  

Tuesday, June 26, 9:00 AM, to Thursday, June 28, 3:30 PM.

Please plan to attend the Academy in its entirety.

Who Should Attend
Leaders of independent schools

Leadership Academy Brochure 
Click here for the the 2018 Leadership Academy brochure.

Leadership Academy Topics

  • Culture as a Cornerstone of School Success, Gail Berger
    School leaders need to ensure that their school’s culture is aligned with its vision and mission because culture is a driver of engagement and a determinant of school performance. Using an interactive exercise as the springboard for discussion, Berger will engage school leaders in conversations to “unpack” their school culture and develop a clearer understanding of how culture is impacting school outcomes. Video and dialogue will be used to highlight the tools and strategies that school leaders can leverage to build and shape school culture.
  • Successful Financial Management for Today’s Nonprofit Organization, Jim Croft
    Numbers are, of course, essential to financial decision-making and good management. But creating and implementing a budget and establishing accounting procedures go beyond the realms of math. This session will cover the basic requirements of good financial management of nonprofits—but will move beyond the numbers to discuss the implicit ethical norms that guide the nonprofit world, and how they differ from for-profit institutions. Forms and methods of accountability, responsibility, and authority, as well as other realities involved in serving the nonprofit organization’s mission via its financial policies and practices, will be addressed.
  • Trends in School Fundraising, Liz Livingston Howard
    Each year brings new challenges to fundraisers, particularly in schools. Challenges from competitors, changes in the external environment, donor empowerment, donor fatigue, and the need to articulate impact are but a few of the key trends and opportunities we will discuss in this interactive session. Using lecture, dialogue, and examples of success stories, Howard will engage school leaders in conversation about the trends and challenges in raising funds from stakeholders.
  • Leading with Outcomes & Learning through Improvement, Pranav Kothari
    During this interactive session, participants will identify key trends impacting educational and social sector measurement, learn how to develop a clear set of measurable outcomes and indicators for their organization, and begin designing a continuous improvement project they can take back to their schools. The class content borrows from the private and nonprofit sectors, and helps participants apply performance measurement and continuous improvement to their work even when resources and technology are limited.
  • The Customer-Focused School: Applying Smart Marketing Strategy, Aparna Labroo
    In this session, we will explore some of the best practices of marketing strategy and how they can be applied to the challenges faced by school leaders. We will discuss how these strategies fit into an academic context. In addition, we will focus on market segmentation and how it can increase the effectiveness of the school’s marketing efforts and provide better positioning in an increasingly competitive landscape.
  • From Data to Decision, Joel Shapiro
    Successful school leaders must be laser focused on the fundamentals that allow them to effectively go from data to decision, with the ultimate goal of driving important and well-defined outcomes. In this session, we will discuss the different types of analytics that are available, identify common traps in the use of data analytics, and set school leaders on a path to success.

Leadership Academy Faculty (in alphabetical order)

  • Gail Berger
  • Jim Croft
  • Liz Livingston Howard 
  • Pranav Kothari 
  • Aparna Labroo
  • Joel Shapiro

Click here for featured speaker bios.

The Academy will take place at the Kellogg Center for Nonprofit Management at Northwestern University, Wieboldt Hall in downtown Chicago.

Tuesday, June 26 Dinner
As part of the Leadership Academy, ISACS invites participants to attend a dinner at Beatrix-Streeterville, 671 N. St. Clair, on Tuesday, June 26 at 6:30 pm. The cost of the dinner is included in registration. 

If you would like a spouse/partner to attend the dinner, there is an additional cost of $60. Please call the ISACS office at 312-750-1190 to confirm your guest’s attendance and provide payment.

Hotel Accommodations
ISACS has secured a block of discounted rooms at the following hotel, which is less than 2 blocks walking distance from the Leadership Academy location. We recommend making your reservations early.

Cambria Suites 
166 East Superior 
Chicago, IL 60611

To make reservations at the $209/night rate for the nights of June 25, June 26, and/or June 27, please call reservations at 312-523-0902 and mention the Group Name ISACS. In addition, you can send an email with your reservation request to at If you are booking online, please use the following link to reserve your room. Reservations may be made berfore 5:00 pm central time on Monday, June 4, 2018 or until the room block reaches capacity. 

Directions and Parking
Click here for directions, parking, and ground transportation information for the ISACS Leadership Academy.

Parking at Cambria Suites
The current overnight parking rate is $63 for valet. This rate may change. The hotel does not offer a self-parking option.  

Parking - Daily and Overnight Parking Special from Kellogg
Kellogg will be providing participants with additional details on complimentary daily and overnight parking at nearby garages via email as the Academy approaches.

Registration Fee

  • $2250 - ISACS member fee
  • $2500 - non-member fee
  • Academy includes: Three breakfasts, three lunches, and one dinner

Partial Scholarships Available
Thanks to a grant from Skilling and Andrews Foundation, registrants from schools with assets of less than $18 million are eligible for partial scholarships. To determine your school's assets, see the Statement of Financial Position from the most recent audit and find "Year-End Total Net Assets." These scholarships are available for member and non-member schools. For more details about the partial scholarship, please contact Karen Zeitlin at the ISACS office at 312-750-1190 or 

Team Discount
Registrations from the same school are at half the rate of the first registration. While the program was designed with heads in mind, we have found that it is a good fit for aspiring heads, CFOs, and other school leaders. We believe that taking the experience home with a school colleagues  can maximize the potential for applying the learning. For more details about the team member discount, please contact Karen Zeitlin at the ISACS office at 312-750-1190 or

Registration Confirmation Communications from ISACS
When registration for the Academy has been completed, the following communications will be sent from ISACS:

  • An automatic email will be sent to the contact person on the registration confirming that registration has been completed.
  • Approximately three weeks prior to the Academy, ISACS will send a confirmation email to the registrant with details for the Leadership Academy.
  • Additional communications also will come directly from Kellogg, including pre-readings.

If you do not receive these emails prior to arriving at the Academy, please call the ISACS office at 312-750-1190.

Cancellation Policy
Cancellations must be received by email at 10 business days prior to the event to receive a 50% refund. Cancellations received within 10 days of the event will not receive a refund. Registration may be transferred to another member from the same school. ISACS reserves the right to cancel the workshop for insufficient enrollment. In this case, participants will be notified and given a full refund. 

Member Cost: $2250     Non-member Cost: $2500


55 West Wacker, Suite 701 · Chicago, IL 60601 · Telephone 312-750-1190 · Fax 312-750-1193
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