Thirty-three Membership Orgs Collaborate to Help “Independent Schools on the Brink”

Ari Betof
Ari Betof
Apr 16, 2020 · 4 min read

Updated Tuesday, April 28, 2020 at 6:00pm:
Thirty-three member organizations came together to collaboratively host “Independent Schools on the Brink” on April 21, 2020 with 1,943 trustees, heads of school, and leadership teams attending the program.

Recording of the “Independent Schools on the Brink” on April 21, 2020 with panelists Debra Wilson, Ari Betof, John Gulla, Jim Hulbert, and Kristen Power.

To be the change you want to see in the world, sometimes you need help from your friends. That is certainly true for leaders and trustees of independent schools struggling with viability in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thirty-three state, regional, and national independent school membership organizations are coming together on Tuesday, April 21 to support these institutional stewards in their time of need. As of April 15, more than 980 participants had registered for the webinar.

Thirty-three state, regional, and national independent school membership organizations are coming together on Tuesday, April 21 to host Independent Schools on the Brink:
A Confidential Webinar for Schools Struggling to Survive the COVID-19 Pandemic

Independent Schools on the Brink
A Confidential Webinar for Schools Struggling to Survive the COVID-19 Pandemic

For heads of school, leadership teams, and board members
Tuesday, April 21
4pm Eastern / 3pm Central / 2pm Mountain / 1pm Pacific

Numerous independent schools across the nation entered the COVID-19 global pandemic on thin ice and struggling with issues of viability. Like a plane headed for a mountain, the only possibilities are to dramatically alter course and pull up before it is too late or realize a crash is inevitable and soften the landing as much as possible. No leadership team or board wants to acknowledge that their school may not (or will not) survive. True stewardship involves being honest and forthright about the universe of possible and impossible futures for the school both as a nonprofit organization and as an educational community.

Independent school associations around the country invite heads of school, leadership teams, and board members to a confidential discussion about these challenging issues. The expert panel will discuss tangible steps schools should consider in this moment of extreme challenge. Please note that participants will be able to take part and ask questions anonymously during the webinar.

Panelists:

Debra Wilson is president of the Southern Association of Independent Schools (SAIS). She previously served as general counsel for NAIS for 19 years. In addition to her role as chief legal officer, she presented to school leaders around the country and fielded inquiries from schools facing legal or governance issues.

Ari Betof, President, Organizational Sustainability Consulting
Ari Betof, President, Organizational Sustainability Consulting

Ari Betof is president of Organizational Sustainability Consulting. He is a nationally recognized expert in organizational stewardship and financial sustainability. Betof has served as an independent school trustee, head, administrator, and faculty member as well as a lecturer in University of Pennsylvania’s PennGSE mid-career doctoral program in educational leadership.

John Gulla, President, Edward E. Ford Foundation
John Gulla, President, Edward E. Ford Foundation

John Gulla became president of The Edward E. Ford Foundation in July 2013. From 1998–2012, he was head of The Blake School and previously held administrative positions at Riverdale Country School, Isidore Newman, and Saint Ann’s. John earned an undergraduate degree from Amherst College and an M.A. from Teacher’s College, Columbia University.

Jim Hulbert, Partner, The Jane Group
Jim Hulbert, Partner, The Jane Group

Jim Hulbert, partner at The Jane Group, is a labor and employment lawyer by training. He is the lead consultant on governance, board, and legal matters and advises boards on complex issues involving leadership challenges and best practices. Jim also assists international school leaders and boards in implementing crisis plans.

Kristen Power is the senior director of membership and business development of The Enrollment Management Association. She is also the former general manager of SSS (School and Student Services). A longtime industry expert on financial aid and the marketplace, Kristen has traveled the country presenting on the financial aid market to independent schools, associations, and trustees.

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