Together in Our Independence

May 2019
North Yarmouth Academy students ready to sail off to prom.
ISANNE Quick Links
June 2019

14 Assistants & Registrars Conference, Portsmouth Sheraton, Portsmouth, NH

18-19 ISANNE Retreat, Hurricane Island Outward Bound School, Newry, ME

20  Health Center Roundtable , Berwick Academy, Berwick, ME

26 ISANNE Golf Scramble, Sunday River Golf Club, Newry, ME

July 2019

9-10 Difficult Conversations Workshop, Tilton School, Tilton, NH
May 31, 2019
Hello ISANNE friends,

It's my pleasure to introduce our new interim Executive Director, Eliza Alexander. Eliza brings tremendous experience in independent schools as well as first hand knowledge of northern New England. Eliza, a Maine native, has spent many years in schools including the Maret School in Washington, DC as the Director of Community Engagement and Partnerships and this past year as Chair of Modern and Classical Languages at North Yarmouth Academy. Eliza joined us for the Spring Heads conference in VT and below is a narrative of the comments she made at the event. ISANNE will be in capable hands with Eliza's leadership as the organization assesses and plans for the future. 

Also, our guest blogger this month is Jini Rae Sparkman, Director of Equity & Inclusion at Holderness School. Jini and Melissa Lawlor of Brewster Academy created NISE, Network for Independent School Equity and shared the information with the Heads at their Spring conference. Jini's blog is "Why NISE? Why now?" As she writes, "NISE  is an organization working to create a network of support, community, mentorship, and opportunities for professional development for faculty of color, international faculty, and LGBTQ+ faculty in Independent Schools in Northern New England (Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont)." Please spread the word and watch for postings of events through ISANNE.

The social media accounts of ISANNE schools tell the story of the season: numerous pictures and postings highlighting proms, championships and graduations. As we engage in these celebrations and highlight student accomplishments and milestones, we want to recognize the teachers, administrators and staff at our schools. Your belief in the students and your commitment to helping them pursue their potential is the special ingredient that makes your community unique. Thank you.

More great things ahead,


Laurie Hurd
Executive Director,  ISANNE
Together in Our Independence

ISANNE unites, supports and promotes its diverse member schools in a changing world.
A Letter from ISANNE's Incoming Interim Executive Director
Eliza Alexander, Incoming Interim Executive Director, ISANNE
Hello! I am so grateful and honored to begin working with our membership when I become ISANNE's Interim Executive Director in July. Despite the late Maine spring, much is blooming in our organization. A collaborative spirit has been pervasive as ISANNE's leadership works hard to ensure a smooth transition for the coming year. I would like to thank ISANNE's Board of Directors, and especially Geoff Wagg, Laurie Hurd and Tedda LaChance for all of their guidance and welcoming energy over the past month.
Geoff asked me to share a little bit about myself with you, and I thought I'd start with a quick memory from my childhood. My family members tell this story with an undertone of "This is why we love her, this is why she annoys us." When I was three years old, my family was celebrating a family birthday at Larson's restaurant in Winthrop, Maine. Although at first I agreed to being seated with my parents, I quickly departed my family's table to begin making rounds throughout the restaurant, sitting myself down at other tables to enjoy meeting and talking with other diners. My mother says that I even scored a dessert with one table. Read More.

ISANNE Member Views -  "The Network for Independent School Equity (NISE) Story: Why NISE? Why now?"
Jini Rae Sparkman, Director of Equity and Inclusion & English Faculty at Holderness School
This month's Member View comes to us from Jini Rae Sparkman, Director of Equity and Inclusion and English faculty member at Holderness School in Holderness, NH.

"The Network for Independent School Equity (NISE) Story: Why NISE? Why now?"

I don't quite remember the conversation that started the brainstorm. But somehow, Melissa Lawlor and I ended up in a cafe in Wolfeboro, NH scratching out notes on a napkin last summer. Those doodles were hope. They were the imaginings of how we might just make our communities a little bigger, our schools a little better, and our connections a little stronger. In part, because we needed each other and because we both understood that we also needed things that the other would never understand.

Five years ago, my partner and I became the first gay married couple hired by Holderness School. We live on campus and are dorm parents who care for 26 high school girls. My presence here matters. Our presence here matters.  Read More.

Student Life - Campus and Student Health Survey
ISANNE has partnered with consultant Brooklyn Raney and Professor Kathleen Norris at Plymouth State University to offer our schools a unique opportunity to evaluate your student body in a way that will provide you with meaningful data about the health of your students and your campus. In addition, Professor Norris's PhD students will analyze the data, and create a methodology and toolkit for us to build on the data gathered this spring. Each school will receive their student survey answers, as well as a comparative analysis with the average of the other data received from participating schools.  

The students who will be analyzing the data are Certified in Human Subjects Protection. The data will not be used for any other research and will remain private. The aggregated results will only be shared with participating schools.

Fore more information or to have your campus participate in the survey - please contact Tedda (

Thank you to our conference sponsors!
Thank you to our generous sponsors of the 
2019 Advancement, Communications, Marketing & Admissions Conference

The conference, held May 5-7, 2019, was a successful new ISANNE event. That success is made possible by the support of our corporate partners. Thank you!

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