The New School Head

Chase Center on the Riverfront • Wilmington, DE




Status: OPEN
Certification Credits: 40 IACP

$4,130 Non-Member

Travel and accommodations not included

[$3,511.00 Gold Member]

This was the most valuable, practical and enjoyable professional development sessions I have ever attended.

Ken Cotrone, Head of School
Soundview Prep, NY
Workshop participant 2017

Move beyond the daily “tyranny of the immediate”—and into sustained and strategic growth for your school. Learn how to operate with intentional purpose in all areas, using your mission as a guide to align your stakeholders behind a singular shared vision and direction.

Count on this workshop to strengthen your leadership skills, train you in building a powerful team of administrators and faculty, help you prioritize your responsibilities, and make the most of every minute—and every dollar.

Topics Include:

  • Discovering the primacy of the School Head’s role to provide vision and direction for the school where it stands now—and where it could be in the future
  • Learning how to build and educate your Board of Trustees to focus on the school’s needs, rather than becoming distracted by mission-inappropriate alternatives
  • Developing your Leadership Team and a growth-oriented faculty culture through mission-based hiring, training, evaluation, and retention policies
  • Returning home with an action plan outlining your first 200 days on the job, establishing the foundation for future years of mission-driven growth and progress

Who Should Attend:

New School Heads or those with fewer than three years of experience should attend.

staff photo susan lair

Susan B. Lair, Ph.D.

ISM Summer Institute Faculty | Interim Head of School at Alexandria Country Day School


Susan’s background spans 43 years in education as a teacher and administrator in both private and public schools. She has notably improved faculty and student retention, presided over record annual giving, spearheaded the addition of a much-needed 24-acre second campus, and drove a capital campaign to allow St. Francis to realize its longstanding dream of a high school.

Current Role

Susan has recently taken on the role of Interim Head of School for Alexandria Country Day School in Louisiana, after leaving her position as Head of School at St. Francis Episcopal Day School in 2017.

Prior Experience

With a background spanning 43 years in education, Susan earned her stripes as a high school math teacher, math specialist, and district administrator in the Fort Worth and Bryan Independent School Districts. She later worked as Upper School Dean of Students and curriculum coordinator at Fort Worth Country Day School.

She served as Head of Upper School at Saint Mary’s Hall in San Antonio for six years before joining St. Francis Episcopal.


Dr. Lair holds a Ph.D. with a concentration in education administration and school finance from the University of Texas and a master’s degree in education administration and math education from Texas Christian University.

staff photo bill shelnutt

Bill Shelnutt

ISM Summer Institute Faculty | Head of School at St. Luke School


Bill Shelnutt has held senior leadership positions at several Atlanta-area independent schools, including Holy Spirit Preparatory School, Brandon Hall School, and Mount Pisgah Christian School. Bill’s first tenure as a Head of School was at Wildwood Christian Academy, north of Atlanta, GA.

Current Role

Bill is currently the Head of School at St. Luke School, a K-8 school with an enrollment of 600 students, in Columbus, GA. He has also served as a teacher of various subjects including history, literature, and Latin, and as a varsity baseball and varsity basketball coach.

Prior Experience

Bill has over twenty years experience in education including eight years as Head of the Preparatory School at Mount Pisgah Christian School in Johns Creek, Georgia. He also held positions as Assistant Headmaster at Brandon Hall School and Dean of Students at Holy Spirit Preparatory Schools, both in Atlanta, GA. Bill comes to St. Luke after serving as Head of School at Wildwood Christian Academy in Marble Hill, Georgia.


Bill holds a bachelor’s degree in history from State University of New York and a master’s degree in Middle Grades Education from Oglethorpe University in Atlanta. He also holds an Educational Leadership Certificate from Georgia State University, and an MBA from Reinhardt University.


7:00–8:30 Registration and Breakfast

8:30–10:15 Session One

10:15–10:30 Break

10:30–12:15 Session Two

12:15-1:15 Lunch with ISM

1:15-3:00 Session Three

3:00-3:15 Break

3:15-5:00 Session Four

5:00-5:30 General Session

5:30-6:00 Reception with ISM

6:00 Dinner with ISM


7:00–8:30 Continental Breakfast

8:30–10:15 Session Five

10:15-10:30 Break

10:30-12:15 Session Six

12:15-1:15 Lunch with ISM

1:15-3:00 Session Seven

3:00-3:15 Break

3:15-5:00 Session Eight

5:00–6:00 Reception with ISM


7:00–8:30 Continental Breakfast

8:30–10:15 Session Nine

10:15-10:30 Break

10:30-12:15 Session Ten

12:15-1:15 Lunch with ISM

1:15-3:00 Session Eleven

3:00-3:15 Break

3:15-5:00 Session Twelve

5:00–6:00 Reception with ISM


7:00–8:30 Continental Breakfast

8:30-10:15 Session Thirteen

10:15-10:30 Break

10:30-12:15 Session Fourteen

12:15-1:15 Lunch with ISM

1:15-3:00 Session Fifteen

3:00-3:15 Break

3:15-5:00 Session Sixteen

5:00–6:00 Reception with ISM


7:00–8:30 Continental Breakfast

8:30-10:15 Session Seventeen

10:15-10:30 Break

10:30-12:00 Session Eighteen/Action Planning

Workshop Location
Chase Center on the Riverfront
815 Justison St.
Wilmington, DE 19801

Hotel Location
Westin Wilmington
815 Shipyard Dr.
Wilmington, DE 19801

Group hotel reservation rate of $169 is available until May 25, 2018. Subject to availability. Please wait until the workshop status is 'confirmed' before making your travel and hotel arrangements.

Once you have registered for a workshop, please make your hotel reservation by clicking on the RESERVE YOUR ROOM link above or calling 302-654-2900 and letting them know you are with ISM. Follow the hotel link on your workshop page for room rates and reservations.

The riverfront has a lot to offer you to occupy your downtime after an intense day of professional development training. Follow the river walk for restaurants, the Russell Peterson Wildlife Refuge and the DuPont Environmental Education Center, the Delaware Children's Museum, and Stratosphere Trampoline Park, to name a few.

Take in a movie at the new Penn River Cinema, with not only comfortable stadium seating but also an IMAX theatre. At various times during Summer Institute, the Class A Wilmington Blue Rocks will take to the diamond at the next-door Frawley Stadium. For Planet Fitness members, there is a large facility across from the Westin.

The outstanding River Rock Kitchen is right inside the Westin, but you are also walking distance to the first-class Iron Hill Brewery, Delaware's Big Fish Grill, Timothy's on the Riverfront, Joe's Crab Shack, and Firestone; Udon Thai Cuisine and Del Pez for Mexican; Molly's Ice Cream (sandwiches too!), the Riverfront Market and Harry's Seafood Grill just a little further down the Riverwalk. If you need your fix, yes, there is a Starbucks too...and a Subway.

You can also hop one of the Dart First State Route 12 Riverfront buses to go to LOMA, or Lower Market Street, for more excellent restaurants we well as the Queen Theatre.

Getting There

Please do not make any non-refundable travel arrangements until you receive an e-mail from ISM informing you the workshop is confirmed to run.

By plane and shuttle: Philadelphia International is the closest airport. A shuttle to Wilmington —a 45–60 minute ride, depending on traffic—costs about $33 each way. Visit the del reservation page and enter 207866 at the bottom under FREQUENT USER ID.You can reach Delaware Express at 800.648.5466.

Flights to Baltimore (BWI) can be less expensive, but it is an 80-mile trip to Wilmington. A shuttle costs about $125 each way, or you can rent a car at the airport.

By train: There is an Amtrak station in downtown Wilmington. You can request the hotel shuttle for transportation.

By car: Click here for directions from the Philadelphia Airport to the Westin Wilmington.

How will ISM communicate workshop information with me?

It is essential that your school approves the following e-mail addresses from ISM:

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

What does my registration fee include?

All workshop materials, breakfasts, lunch or dinner daily, and social hours are included.

What is not included in my registration fee?

Hotel accommodations and travel expenses, other meals not noted.

What should I wear?

Meetings rooms are generally cold, as temperature control in meeting spaces and large convention centers is difficult. Please bring a sweater, jacket, or sweatshirt.

Summer temperatures average mid-80s to a low of 65. It can get quite hot—into the 90s—and humid. The classrooms and guest rooms are usually comfortable, but you may want to dress in layers in case the rooms are too warm or too cool for you. Dress is casual. Wear whatever is comfortable—jeans, sweat shirts, sweaters, etc. For current weather conditions, we recommend checking

What should I bring?

You’ll receive a letter from your workshop instructor letting you know what to bring. However, please bring a laptop or tablet for online access.

Where can I work out?

The Westin has a state-of-the-art fitness room and an exercise pool. Planet Fitness members can walk across the hotel parking lot to the expansive Riverfront Planet Fitness facility. The Riverwalk provides an excellent running and walking path as well.

Can my special dietary requirements be met?

Absolutely. Just give the Workshops Department a call at 302-656-4944, and we'll make sure your needs are accommodated.

How much free time will I have?

There are periods before, between, and after workshop sessions for relaxation, recreation, and socializing.

Should I need medical or dental attention, where should I go?

Should you need medical attention in a non-emergency, notify ISM staff and the hotel staff. The hotel can recommend what facilities are available, and may be able to supply transportation. In an emergency, call 911.

Confirmation Policy

We will correspond with you through e-mail as soon as your workshop is confirmed, no later than two weeks prior to its beginning. 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.)

Cancellation Policy

If circumstances change and you cannot attend the workshop, you must confirm your cancellation in writing via fax (302-656-0647) or email ( If you do so at least 10 business days prior to the start of the workshop, you can request a full refund of monies paid. Thereafter, but prior to the first day of the course, we will refund you all but $600. If you do not cancel in writing prior to the start date of the course, you will forfeit the entire workshop fee.

If you enroll using Consortium Credits, and cancel your attendance in writing at least 10 days prior to the start date of the workshop, all Credits will be returned to your school. Thereafter, but prior to the first day of the course, if you cancel, all but two of the Credits will be returned to your school. (You have the option of buying back those two Credits for $600.)

If you do not cancel in writing prior to the start date of the course, your school loses all the Consortium Credits used for payment.

Please note that non-payment of tuition does not constitute a cancellation. Failure to appear does not constitute a cancellation.

*We DO NOT accept enrollments from consultants.

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