24th Annual Heads Retreat

Heads Retreat Campaign Image
Heads Retreat Campaign Image

Launch your legacy.

Date(s): -
Location: Tucson, AZ

With all you’re expected to manage, it can be difficult to step back and ask yourself the tough questions. What’s working at my school? What could be done to better support the mission? How can I strengthen my efforts to be an exceptional school leader?

The Heads Retreat is designed to help you refocus and recharge to ensure you’re supporting your mission and launching your legacy. Immerse yourself in the latest research concerning private-independent schools, engage in deep conversation, and network with your peers to discover new perspectives.

Recession-Proof Your School: Cautionary Tales & Successful Strategies

Join us at the 24th Annual Heads Retreat to review and analyze various strategies schools employed during the 2008 recession—the approaches that were successful, those that worked then but were never corrected, and those that should not be repeated.

We’ll discuss how to identify where your school is positioned and what you can do now, during our strong economy, to be ready when we eventually encounter our next economic downturn.



Seats for this intimate retreat, limited to 24 School Heads, are in high demand each year. Gather with fellow school leaders to examine the latest research to support your decision-making, engage in deep conversation, and network with other Heads to discover new perspectives.

Bryan Smyth

Bryan Smyth, Ph.D.

ISM Consultant | Director of Research


Bryan’s central purpose is to help students flourish. He believes that the enhancement of school environments and cultures is the best way to facilitate growth in children and adults.

Current Role

As a Consultant and ISM’s Director of Research, Bryan:

  • Oversees ISM’s research initiatives designing studies, conducting statistical analyses and advancing our knowledge in areas important to independent school leadership
  • Conducts onsite scheduling consultations, having had extensive experience creating and implementing unique daily schedules and annual calendars for both boarding and day schools
  • Helps schools analyze and strategies their strategic operations conducting Strategic Performance Analyses, Strategic Planning/Strategic Financial Planning, and Strategic Academic Planning consultations
  • Writes frequently for Ideas & Perspectives and co-authors books in the areas of scheduling, student-centered policies, faculty growth and evaluation, finance, social-emotional well-being, and research
  • Leads ISM’s Student-Centered Scheduling workshop and The Assistant Headship workshop

Bryan joined ISM as a Consultant in 2013, following 13 years in independent school administration.

Prior Experience

Bryan came to ISM from Mount Pisgah Christian School, GA, where he served as the Vice President, Head of the Upper School, Guidance and College Advisement Director, varsity head coach, and psychology teacher over the course of his tenure. Prior to that, he was the Associate Head of School at Brandon Hall, GA.

He is also a licensed clinical psychologist whose practice specialized in the psychological assessment and treatment of adolescents and their families. This varied background and set of experiences affords him the ability to view a school’s form and function from multiple viewpoints, leading to solutions that take into account all perspectives.


Bryan holds a Ph.D. and master’s degree in clinical psychology from Marquette University, WI, and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Illinois. He also earned an MBA from Reinhardt University, GA, that focused on the application of business principles to the management of independent schools.


Andrew Taylor

Andrew Taylor, Ed.D.

ISM Consultant


Andrew shares his expertise in school management, professional growth and development, project-based learning, faculty evaluation, and more. He worked in private-independent schools for 22 years before joining ISM in 2017.

Current Role

As an ISM Consultant, Andrew:

  • Writes for ISM’s advisory letter Ideas & Perspectives, distributed to school leaders in almost 1,000 schools
  • Leads and co-leads of ISM workshops in student-centered scheduling, leading effective lower schools, executive leadership, and summer program development
  • Co-facilitates ISM’s annual Heads Retreat
  • Hosts webinars in the areas of leadership, change management, and learning theory
  • Presents at association conferences
  • Conducts national and international on-site consultations
  • Facilitates Board and school leadership retreats.

Prior Experience

Andrew previously served as Head of Tower School, MA, where he was charged with rationalizing the operating budget, right-sizing the staffing model, and reconfiguring the school schedule to facilitate interdisciplinary instruction and project-based learning.

Before that, he was Head of Lower School at St. Paul’s, MD, where he oversaw the school’s adoption of the International Primary Curriculum. He also facilitated the creation of a project-based learning initiative, implemented a re-defined teacher observation process, and supported asynchronous, online professional development.

Andrew began his career as an undergraduate instructor in Human Genetics, Human Social Biology, and Anatomy & Physiology at Edith Cowan University in Western Australia. He also taught Biology at the high school level.

After immigrating to the United States, he taught science at Brentwood School, CA, where he developed its Lower School Summer Program. Later, he was Director of Admission and Assistant Head of School at St. James’ School, CA, with significant involvement in fundraising and growing enrollment. Andrew was also the Assistant Headmaster and Director of Summer Programs at the John Thomas Dye School, CA.

Andrew has presented at CAIS, SAIS and NAIS Conferences.


Andrew earned his Doctorate of Education at UCLA, and his master’s degree in Educational Administration from California State University, Northridge. Andrew’s two bachelor’s degrees are in Human Biology and Science Education.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

5-9 p.m.      Reception, dinner (your guest is welcome), and opening session


Thursday, November 7, 2019


7:30-8:30 a.m. Continental breakfast (your guest is welcome)
8:30-10 a.m. Morning session
10-10:15 a.m. Morning Break
10:15 a.m.-11:45 a.m. Morning session
Noon-1:15 p.m. Lunch (your guest is welcome)
1:30-3 p.m. Afternoon session
3–5 p.m Free time
5-6 p.m. Evening reception (your guest is welcome)


Friday, November 8, 2019

7:30-8:30 a.m. Continental breakfast (your guest is welcome)
8:30-10 a.m. Morning session
10:15 a.m.–noon Morning session
Noon-5 p.m. Free time


Saturday, November 9, 2019

7:30-8:30 a.m. Continental breakfast (your guest is welcome)
8:30-Noon Potpourri—topics of interest


Your spouse or guest is welcome at all meals and receptions. Gold members may bring a guest free of charge; non-members pay $150.


Workshop location

Westward Look Wyndham Grand Resort and Spa
245 E. Ina Rd.
Tucson, Arizona
(520) 297-1151

Heads Retreat attendees can take advantage of a special $179 nightly rate plus taxes. Reserve your room online or call the hotel at 520-297-1151 and say you are with the ISM Heads Retreat.

Reserve Your Room

Upscale Tucson Accommodations

Westward Look Wyndham Grand Resort and Spa hotel rooms and suites are spacious and serene, each with its own balcony or patio, offering spectacular views of the mountains, desert, sunset, or city lights.

The 241 guest rooms, including 200 suite-sized Tucson accommodations, are situated throughout the 80-acre property with outside entrances surrounded by the natural environment of the Tucson desert. The resort's natural Southwestern setting is reflected in earth-tone furnishings, glassed tile, and regional art. All guest rooms are non-smoking.

ISM Heads Retreat attendees will receive Casita Junior Suite accommodations, including:

  • 650 sq. ft, with sofa and arm chair
  • In-room safe
  • Bathrobes
  • Mini-fridge and coffee maker
  • Three heated pools and hot tubs
  • 8 tennis courts, 5 lit for night play
  • Sonora Spa
  • 24-hour fitness center
  • Horseback riding, mountain bike trails, rentals
  • Meditation Labyrinth
  • Complimentary WIFI

On-site dining includes the award-winning GOLD restaurant featuring contemporary cuisine accented with ingredients from the Chef's garden. Lookout features casual dining and specialty beverages, while the Oasis Poolside Bar provides food and beverage service. Visit the Monsoon Café for your Starbucks® fix!

How should I travel to Tucson?

BY PLANE: Only 17 miles and 25 minutes away, the closest airport is Tucson International Airport (TUS) with non-stops from points in California, Texas, and Utah, as well as Minneapolis, Chicago, Atlanta, Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver (WA). Connecting flights from Phoenix are less than one hour. More than 50 flights take off every day on 9 airlines.

Uber is approximately $28 one way from the airport; taxis are approximately $50.

BY CAR: For information and directions, visit maps.google.com. Parking is complimentary for attendees.

SHUTTLE AND RENTALS: Westward Look Wyndham Grand Resort and Spa offers a complimentary resort van shuttle service within a 3-miles radius of the resort. Enterprise Rent-a-Car is available onsite; Discount code is L50H096

Confirmation and Cancellation Policy

We will correspond with you through email as soon as your workshop is confirmed, no later than two weeks prior to its start date. Occasionally, we may be forced to cancel an unconfirmed, scheduled workshop due to insufficient registration. So we ask that you do not make non-refundable travel arrangements until you receive notice that your workshop is confirmed. (ISM will not be responsible for any change/cancellation charges assessed by your airline or travel agent.)

Tuition Payment and Cancellation Policy for In-Person, Group-based Programs

Tuition must be paid in full 10 business days prior to the start date of the in-person, group-based program. 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 workshops@isminc.com, faxing to 302-656-0647, or mailing to: Professional Development Coordinator, 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.
  • There will be no refunds for cancellations made less than 15 business days before the start of the program. For registrations paid for with membership Gold Dollars, the member school will receive a 50% refund of Gold Dollars.
  • 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

Should an attendee need to cancel less than 15 days prior to the start date of the workshop, the school has two options to avoid penalty. Schools may also exercise these options at anytime 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 Professional Development Coordinator at 302-656-4944 x152.

*We DO NOT accept enrollments from consultants.



Image of a teacher and students in class
Image of a teacher and students in class

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. 

Image of a teacher and students in class
Image of a teacher and students in class

Upcoming Workshops and Events

10/20/2019 — 10/23/2019


Summer Program: An Asset to Your School

Status: ConfirmedLocation: San Diego, CA


10/20/2019 — 10/23/2019


Mastering Enrollment Management

Status: ConfirmedLocation: San Diego, CA


More Offerings

  • workshop 10/20/2019 — 10/23/2019

    The New Admission Director

  • workshop 10/19/2019 — 10/20/2019

    The Board Presidency

  • workshop 10/20/2019 — 10/22/2019

    How to Build and Implement an Extraordinary Major Gifts Program