Strong Leaders, Successful Schools: Strategies to Build High-Performing Teams

Strong Leaders, Successful Schools: Strategies to Build High-Performing Teams
Strong Leaders, Successful Schools: Strategies to Build High-Performing Teams

Time: 11:00am ET -

A great Leadership Team communicates effectively, relates cohesively, has fun, and exceeds its goals. Through synchronous online classroom and asynchronous exciting and challenging projects, discover how to create team excellence when managing up, down, and sideways. After this course, you'll be able to reap the results of strong and healthy cultures, clear purpose, and powerful relationships.

This workshop is now virtual! What that means for you:

We're all in this together. 
Our professional development events offer guidance, support, and insight to help you lead from a position of strength during this unprecedented time. Let's work together to ensure you're equipped to enter the 2020–21 school year with the research and strategies you need to take on any challenge.

deposit iconLimited Time Offer: Deposit and Defer Option 
Attend any Summer Institute workshop with a $250 deposit paid by June 1, 2020. The remaining balance for your workshop is due by December 31, 2020. Email to get started.

team iconTeam savings have been expanded for our summer workshops!
Would more than one of your school leaders like to attend Summer Institute? After your school registers your first workshop participant at the General price, all other attendees qualify for Second Person Pricing for any workshop. Call to register: 302-656-4944.

Discover how successful and healthy administrative teams function and how to help your team grow. Using current research, active learning, and real-life examples, the course will include live, synchronous group meetings, small breakout rooms, and live one-on-one conversations, as well as asynchronous assignments.

We will examine strategies to increase the effectiveness of the relationships you have, hone your communication rhythms, and learn how to approach healthy conflict with confidence. We explore the benefits of powerful partnerships embedded in mission-appropriate strategies as you manage up, down, and sideways. Each participant will conclude the workshop with an active, results-oriented Action Plan, ready to begin implementing immediately, as you engage with others at your school.


  • Define your purpose and how it impacts your role in building high-performing teams.
  • Determine how to create powerful partnerships with colleagues to better support your students.
  • Explore how to embrace conflict and have difficult conversations from a place of calmness and clarity.
  • Learn about effective communication rhythms and how you can apply them to your everyday work.
  • Internalize tools to hold yourself accountable and to hold other team members accountable.
  • Return to work with an Action Plan of the key steps you will take away to strengthen your school's teams.

Who Should Attend:

Division Heads, Principals, Admission Directors, Advancement Directors, Marketing/Communications Directors, CFOs and School Heads should attend.

Kathy ChristophKathy Christoph

ISM Summer Institute Faculty


An ISM workshop instructor since 1995, Kathy provides leadership insight at the middle school level. Her special expertise is in change initiatives around issues pertaining to adolescents.

Current Role

As former Head of Middle School at Dwight-Englewood School, NJ, Kathy oversaw the middle school program. She was instrumental in creating teams for teachers and students, implementing flexible block scheduling, instituting daily advisory, and bringing the entire middle school community together every day for announcements. The curriculum is delivered in a variety of ways, from traditional to interdisciplinary to integrated. Different learning styles were addressed, as were alternative assessment methods and multiple intelligences.

Prior Experience

Kathy formally served as the Head of Pen Ryn School, PA. She was also Head of the Middle School at Columbus School for Girls, OH, and The Tatnall School, DE. Under her direction, each school developed a mission and framework that reflects recommended strategies of exemplary middle schools.

Kathy also served as a teacher at Orchard Country Day School, IN, where she led the team that developed the school’s interdisciplinary approach to curriculum and the implementation of flexible block scheduling.

She has presented at the NMSA National Convention as well as the Nuts and Bolts Symposium in Boulder, CO.


Kathy has a master’s degree and a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University and has completed all coursework toward an Ed.D. degree from Indiana University.


Matthew StuartMatthew Stuart

ISM Summer Institute Faculty | Head of School at The Caedmon School


Matthew shares in expertise in overseeing middle school operations, including hiring and evaluating faculty, mentoring and professional development, and facilitating curriculums.

Current Role

Matthew has served as Head of School at The Caedmon School since 2012. He is responsible for ensuring all operations align with school’s mission and best serve its students.

Prior Experience

Matthew served as Head of Middle School at The Town School, NY, before joining Caedmon. He was also previously Director of the Middle School at the National Cathedral School, DC, and a Department Head at The Spence School, NY, directing a K–12 performing arts department. Prior to joining Spence, Matthew directed the middle school drama program at The Hewitt School, NY, and was a professional theatre director in New York City.

Selected as a Joseph Klingenstein Fellow in 1998–99 and a NAIS/E.E. Ford Fellow in 2004, Matthew has presented at a number of conferences, including NAIS, NYSAIS, AIMS, ACIS, and NAES, on curriculum and other topics.


Matthew holds a master’s degree in education administration from Columbia University, NY, and a bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University, NY.

Virtual Workshop Schedule (subject to adjustment)



  • Introduction of content and getting to know you


  • “Meet” each other
    • Norms
    • Setting goals/priorities for the week
    • Choose your round the clock partners


Belief in the Mission:

  • Managing up/down sideways
    • The power and need for a mission
    • Simon Sinek–Golden Circle–why/how/what 
    • Introduce ISM Circle Theory
    • What is your current “status?” Fill out ISM Circle Theory
    • What would your team mission look like? 
    • Is there a “de facto” mission?
  • Action plan reflection:
    • Your personal mission and the school’s mission 
    • The various team missions in your school



What is a Healthy, Well-Functioning, Results Oriented Team? What is a Well-led Organization? 

  • “It’s Not Who, It Is How”
    • Brainstorm “What does this mean to you?
    • Introduce The Performance Curve–Sir John Whitmore (The Ideal)


Four Elements of a Team (The practical way to maximize your school’s mission)

  • Trust
  • Healthy Conflict
  • Goals And Objectives
  • Accountability
  • Action plan reflection:
    • Map out the four quadrants of the Bullseye–self analysis of what you want to work on


Building Relationships and Trust

  • Introduce and tools to build
    • Who am I?
  • Deep dive
    • What are the characteristics of great leadership? 
    • How/why is emotional intelligence important? 
    • What is my emotional intelligence?
    • Relationships
      • What do you need to know about the School Head? What would you like your relationship with the School head to be? 
      • What do you need to know about the top B ring folks? Bottom B ring folks? C folks who might be on my team?
      • What would you like your relationship with the Top B folks to be? What the bottom B folks? With any of your specific team members
  • Action plan reflection:
    • What makes these exercises work?
    • Why does this build “trust”?
    • How can this help you get closer to your bullseye?
    • How can you use this with your team, to get closer to their bullseye?


Healthy Conflict

  • Introduce and tools to build 
    • Handling conflicts 
  • Deep dive
    • Getting back to earth
      • “Recipe”–the  coaching questions to ask 
      • Film Clip–“40 Year Old Virgin”
      • Fishbowl–demonstration
  • Action plan reflection:
    • What makes these exercises work?
    • Why does this build “healthy” conflict?
    • How can this help you get closer to your bullseye?
    • How can you use this with your team?


Setting Goals and Objectives:

  • Introduce and tools to build 
  • Deep dive
  • Action plan reflection:
    • What makes these exercises work?
    • What is a strong, effective “goal/objective”?
    • How can this help you get closer to your bullseye?
    • How can you use this with your team?


Holding Myself and Other Accountable:

  • Introduce and tools to build 
  • Deep dive
    • Admin, staff, Head of School evaluation
      • ISM growth and evaluation for School Head, leadership team and staff
      • How can the team hold itself accountable and assess itself?
      • ISM Predictability and Support School Culture Survey
      • ISM Predictability and Support Matrix
  • Action Plan Reflection:
    • Self-goal setting for ISM evaluation tool
    • What makes these exercises work?
    • Why do you need accountability?
    • How can this help you get closer to your bullseye?
    • How can you use this with your team?


Peer Mentoring Exercise:

  • What is the first action you need to take when you got back? What are you concerned about? What might get in your way? What do you need to make the first step successful?

This workshop will be held virtually. You'll receive information after you register.

How will ISM communicate workshop information with me?

It is essential that your school approves the following email addresses from ISM:


You will be receiving all communication—including your confirmation email and access to your workshop's Google Drive account—from these e-mails.

What does my registration fee include?

All workshop materials are included.

Event Confirmation and Cancellation Policy

We take the health and safety of our school leaders seriously.

In an abundance of caution and to protect the health of all participants, ISM will hold its 2020 Summer Institute and Advancement Academy as distance learning events.

Should ISM cancel an event, we ensure a 100% money-back guarantee for all registrants—so you can buy with confidence. You can feel free to direct any questions to

Confirmation and Cancellation Policy

Tuition Payment and Cancellation Policy for ISM’s Professional Development Events

Tuition must be paid in full 10 business days prior to the start date of the event. An attendee with a balance due on the start date will be denied entrance to the program until the balance is paid in full.

Cancellation requests must be made in writing by emailing, faxing to 302-656-0647, or mailing to: Event Experience Manager, ISM, 1316 N. Union St., Wilmington, DE, 19806.

  • Cancellations received more than 15 business days prior to the start date of the program will be fully refunded. Gold Dollars will also be fully refunded.
  • Cancellations received less than 15 business days prior to the start date of the program will not be refunded.
  • Non-payment of tuition or no-show to the event does not constitute a cancellation. Full tuition will be due and payable.

The Substitution Option and Wallet Option

If a member of your team can no longer attend a workshop for which they have registered and it is past the cancellation window, your school has two options to avoid penalty. Schools may also exercise these options at any time for cancellations. 

  1. The school may substitute another employee.
  2. The school may bank the funds for a future ISM registration. These funds must be applied to a professional development event within one year from the start date of the original workshop. After one year, the funds will be forfeited. To use banked funds, please call the Event Experience Manager at 302-656-4944 x152.

*We DO NOT accept enrollments from consultants.


Our Guarantee

ISM believes in providing quality and excellence in all of our events and in ensuring the satisfaction of everyone who attends. Nearly 100% of our participants say they would recommend our events to their colleagues. If you are not satisfied with your event for any reason, ISM will credit the fee you paid toward another similarly priced workshop or will refund it.

If you have any questions, click below to send us an email. 

Workshop Registration

Register for your workshop online by filling out the form below. If you'd prefer to register by PDF, download our registration form. It can be returned via email to or faxed to 302-656-0647.


If two or more team members from your school are registering for this workshop, fill out the form below for the first registrant. Click "add to cart" and select Add Another Attendee from the cart menu.


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