Together in Our Independence

November 2019 Newsletter

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December 2019

3-4 New England Town Academy Conference, Westin Hotel & University of Southern Maine, Portland, ME 

January 2020

6-8 ISANNE Business Officers Conference, Portsmouth Sheraton, Portsmouth, NH

7 Corporate Partner Reception & Showcase, Portsmouth Sheraton, Portsmouth, NH

30 The Essential Partnership: Heads of School and Board Chairs, Portsmouth Sheraton, Portsmouth, NH

30-31 ISANNELEADS Reconnect, Berwick Academy, South Berwick, ME
November 20, 2019
Hello ISANNE Friends!
A few weeks ago, my husband and I, deep inside Red Sox territory, found ourselves up and celebrating until two in the morning after the Washington Nationals won the World Series. I have never considered myself a true sports fan, but I felt compelled to watch this spunky group of men who only six months ago were given a less than three percent chance of winning it all. Suddenly there they were, storming back out of nowhere, winning five elimination games and looking like they were having a ball. 

Shortly after the season ended, my son asked me to describe my values to him for a school writing project, and I found myself quoting a Washington Post op-ed from just after the Nats' win. Their secret sauce, the Post claimed, were three sustaining values: Never give up. Have fun. Everybody counts. While we laughed about the Nats and their "Baby Shark" song, I also had ISANNE in my mind, as I see these same values alive and well in our association's culture. This month I have been fortunate to be in conversation with many incredibly resourceful teachers and advisors. As we heard during our Academic and Student Leaders Conference, ISANNE faculty are constantly looking for ways to meet students along each step of their journeys as young learners-- they never give up on them. Over at Sharon Academy, I watched students demonstrating their collective values of creativity and having fun as they were working hard on their 100% student-led production of Seussical . And what better evidence of everybody counts than the fact that over sixty faculty from thirteen different ISANNE schools attended AISNE's recent conference on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Inspiring!  

Below you will find many updates, reminders and important upcoming ISANNE events. I have loved the continuing stream of invites to visit your campuses- please keep them coming!

Sincerely Yours,


Eliza Alexander
Interim Executive Director,  ISANNE
Together in Our Independence

ISANNE unites, supports and promotes its diverse member schools in a changing world.
ISANNE Cost and Compensation Survey Reminder
ISANNE is once again working with Jim Godfrey at Tyler, Simms & St. Sauveur for our annual Cost and Compensation Survey. The deadline for data submission is Friday, December 13th, 2019. The results of these surveys are only available to those schools submitting data. We encourage you to participate and benefit from the collaborative effort of many ISANNE member schools. Please note that only one person from each of our member schools should fill out the survey. If you would like clarification on our process or would like to confirm the point person in your school, please email

Merger Update
ISANNE's Board of Directors is committed to ensuring that ISANNE is bringing maximum value to its members. This requires ongoing awareness of the conditions and market forces that could impact independent schools and their communities over the course of time. To this end, the Board is making a dedicated effort to understand - and share with members - the factors it is considering as it plans for the future. These include:
  • Learning the ins and outs of what is included in a robust merger exploration.
  • Doing scenario planning and financial modeling with the following overarching questions and related data in mind - 
    • What will the Northern New England independent school environment look like ten years from now? 
    • Which variables are most likely to shape this future and therefore, ISANNE member needs? 
    • How can we most effectively design ISANNE with these considerations in mind? 
  • Tracking local, national and global independent school trends and practices.
Over the past month, the Board has contracted with Carole Martin and Michael LeVert to lead us in our analysis and discussions, and we were also fortunate to tap Seth Linfield, Head of the Long Trail School, to share his deep expertise in mergers and acquisitions during a Board webinar session.

ISANNE will continue to share out with our members as we move along on this learning journey so that any recommendations and outcomes are not a surprise and how they were reached is evident. As always, I welcome any questions about these important considerations for our future.

Upcoming Events
We are anticipating a great crowd for our Town Academy Conference on December 3-4, where we will welcome Bob Weston from CSS Fundraising and Paul Gorski, author of Reaching and Teaching Students in Poverty: An Equity Literacy Framework . Our Business Officers Conference  January 6-8th will once again meet in Portsmouth and will include sessions on enrollment, wellness, and crisis management, just to name a few!

January 30th ISANNE is hosting a special half-day workshop entitled The Essential Partnership: Heads of School and their Board Chairs . All ISANNE Heads and their Board Chairs are invited for this 4-hour mini-retreat to review NAIS best practices for Board Leaders of Independent Schools and engage with one another in discussion about case studies.

Finally, the winter will be a little less cold thanks to the warmth generated by our ISANNELEADS Reconnect event January 30-31! We are inviting all alumni from ISANNELEADS programs over the years to join together with Jim Mooney, Laurie Hurd, Cynthia Howe and Doug Cummings. This overnight in Portsmouth with programming Friday at Berwick Academy will not only rekindle relationships but also offer a focus on wellness and self-care for school leaders. We hope you will join us!

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