2018 Conference Speakers

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Opening Keynote: Teaching Children to Care

Alfie Kohn

We can’t blame “human nature” when children act aggressively or selfishly. Extensive research has shown that these qualities are no more natural than the impulse toward empathy or generosity. But how do we nourish those positive inclinations and help children to act on their capacity to care? Alfie Kohn, author of THE BRIGHTER SIDE OF HUMAN NATURE, discusses the roots of prosocial attitudes and actions, and invites educators to think about what promotes children’s concern about others’ well-being. He urges activities (and a curriculum) that enhance understanding of how others see the world, as well as a commitment to replace isolation and competition with a feeling of community in the classroom and school.

Alfie Kohn is the author of 14 books on education, parenting, and human behavior, including PUNISHED BY REWARDS(1993), BEYOND DISCIPLINE (1996), THE SCHOOLS OUR CHILDREN DESERVE (1999), UNCONDITIONAL PARENTING (2005), THE HOMEWORK MYTH (2006), THE MYTH OF THE SPOILED CHILD (2014), and, most recently,SCHOOLING BEYOND MEASURE (2015). He has written for most of the leading education periodicals and has appeared twice on “Oprah.” Time magazine described him as “perhaps the country’s most outspoken critic of education’s fixation on grades [and] test scores.” Kohn works with educators and parents across the country and speaks regularly at national conferences. He lives (actually) in the Boston area and (virtually) at www.alfiekohn.org, @alfiekohn on Twitter. 

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Closing Keynote Speaker

André Robert Lee

André Robert Lee has taken a very interesting path through the worlds of education and entertainment. Upon completion of undergrad at Connecticut College, André came to New York City on a fellowship to teach in Central Park East Secondary School’s Secondary Senior Institute. After teaching in East Harlem, and upon receiving his Master’s Degree, he went to work at The Ford Foundation, where he discovered the world of grant-based, independent filmmaking. 

Since then, he has become an acclaimed filmmaker, director, and producer. André wrote, directed and produced the autobiographical documentary, The Prep School Negro. André served as Producer on the documentary feature I’m Not Racist…Am I? The film falls under the banner of The Calhoun School’s Deconstructing Race Project. He has embarked on international outreach workshop tours and has held hundreds of workshops at high schools, colleges, gatherings and conferences around the world for both films.

In addition to serving on many boards and juries for art and education foundations and competitions, André is also developing two books right now. One is a memoir. The second is a collection of essays from the educators, administrators, and friends he has made along the journey with his film The Prep School Negro. Additionally, André has launched the Government Cheese Clothing line in 2016. It is an apparel line dedicated to his Grandmother who was in charge of distributing the government cheese product in his North Philadelphia neighborhood.  Find André at: ManyThingsManagement.com, ThePrepSchoolNegro.org, govcheesedre.com, PointMadeLearning.com; on social media @Andremanythings and @GovCheeseDre.


Featured Speaker: Preventing and Responding to Child Abuse: Building a Compliance Program in Small Schools

Leslie M. Gomez

Leslie Gomez, Vice Chair of Cozen O’Connor’s Institutional Response Group, focuses her practice on the institutional response to sexual and gender-based harassment and violence, child abuse, and other forms of harassment, discrimination, and criminal conduct. Leslie provides consulting, counseling, and legal advice on all aspects of the institutional response to misconduct. She assists institutions in designing effective institutional responses that integrate the complex federal and state regulatory framework with the unique dynamics of trauma and the impacts of interpersonal violence on individuals and communities. 

Leslie regularly advises presidents, boards, senior leadership, counsel, student affairs, human resources, campus law enforcement, Title IX Coordinators, and other campus partners in implementing trauma-informed, fair, and impartial processes. Leslie helps institutions develop comprehensive policies, procedures, systems, and training programs in compliance with Title IX, Title VII, the Clery Act, as amended by the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013, and state and local laws. Leslie conducts comprehensive policy audits; drafts policies, procedures, and internal operating protocols; develops and trains multi-disciplinary teams; serves as an expert adviser to campus task forces and working groups; consults and advises on Title IX investigation, adjudication and appeal proceedings; and assists educational institutions in meeting federal compliance obligations and responding to investigations by the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and the Clery Compliance Division. Prior to entering private practice, Leslie served as an assistant district attorney at the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office.


Session Presentors

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Liz Dover Baker

Head of School at The GreenMount School, Baltimore, MD

Session: 7 Deadly Words: Is Your Website Saying What You Think it Does?

As the Head of School of The GreenMount School since 2014, Liz Dover Baker has brought the school to a new level of success through a multi-level strategy that addressed curriculum, teacher training, board development, admissions practices, and major gift fundraising. She has led and served on multiple accreditation teams for the Association of Maryland and DC Schools, and understands how important is it for schools to do what they say they do.

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Jeri Bond Whatley

Teacher at The Miquon School, Conshohocken, PA

Session: Small Schools Collaborating for Big Change: The Greater Philadelphia Diversity Collaborative

Jeri is the co-founder of the Greater Philadelphia Diversity Collaborative (GPDC). Issues of equity and social justice, both historical and current, are of great concern and intrigue to her. She has taught at The Miquon School for 22 years, primarily 5th & 6th grades.



Principal Consultant and Coach at Acies Strategies

Session: The Board-Head Partnership: Articulating Roles and Responsibilities in a Small School

Brooke Carroll, Ph.D. is Principal Consultant and Coach at Acies Strategies where she supports small and mid-sized schools and nonprofits through Leadership Coaching, Board Development, and Strategic Goal Setting. Dr. Carroll holds a doctorate in educational psychology and has over 20 years of experience leading schools and nonprofits. She has served on several Boards in various roles. Prior to consulting and coaching, Dr. Carroll was Head of School for 9 years at Seneca Academy, an International Baccalaureate World School. 

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Carissa Casey

Director of MS Learning Support at Malvern Prep, Malvern, PA

Session: Initiating Institutional Change through SCDL and DEI work

Carissa Casey is a leading member of the Middle School Support Team and one of the founding SEED (Seeking Educational Equity & Diversity) facilitators at Malvern Preparatory School, an all-boys 6th through 12th Catholic, Augustinian independent school dedicated to developing leaders who are (1) Augustinian; (2) Globally Literate; and (3) Entrepreneurial. She is fully dedicated to utilizing the student-centered deeper learning model as a platform for DEI work.


Jen Cort

Jen Cort Educational Consulting

Session: Gender Identity Inclusive Athletic Programs

Returning to NSSC, Jen Cort's career blends her experience as a clinical social worker and educator.  Her educational administrative experiences are as an assistant head of lower school, head of a middle school and senior administrator.  Jen consults with schools to live out their missions regarding diversity and inclusion such that students can be seen and heard while learning to be visible and use their voices in productive ways.  Her goal is to build school capacity such that there is not a need for a consultant.  


Katie Culver, PhD

College of Education, Department of Teaching & Learning at Temple University, Philadelphia, PA

Session: Initiating Institutional Change through SCDL and DEI work

Katie Culver teaches at Temple University in the College of Education and coordinates the newly formed Philadelphia SCDL  (Student-Centered Deeper Learning) Collaborative, a cross-sector network of schools that engage students through student-centered deeper learning pedagogy. Additionally, Katie facilitates teacher trainings and workshops on DEI and helped to establish parent/community conversations about diversity at the Shipley School.


Kevin Gailey

Head of School at Midwest Academy, Carmel, IN

Session: Strategic Planning through Community Involvement

Kevin Gailey has been the Head of School at Midwest Academy in Carmel, Indiana for the last six years and has worked as an educator and administrator for the last 25 years.  Kevin has a background in non-profit business management, fundraising, and organizational consulting.  He employs an inclusive, progressive methodology as an administrator as well as an educator.

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Jill Goodman

Jill Goodman Consulting, Baltimore, MD

Session: 7 Deadly Words: Is Your Website Saying What You Think it Does?

Jill served as the Development Director and Marketing Manager for The GreenMount School for 9 years, growing the annual fund by 4-fold, establishing a major gifts program, completing two capital campaigns, and creating a complete branding and marketing strategy for the school. She launched Jill Goodman Consulting in 2017 that focuses on meeting the development, branding, and corporate culture needs of young or small schools and non-profits.


Jason Heisserer, EdD

Head of School at Crossroads College Prepatory School, St. Louis, MO

Session: Identity Awareness for Advocacy in Action

Jason Heisserer is the Head of School for Crossroads College Preparatory School in St. Louis, Missouri. Jason's school and regional leadership centers just and equitable learning and school exepriences for all students.

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Lisa Howell

Director of Marketing & Communications at Delaware Valley Friends School, Paoli, PA

Session: Strategies for Developing Content for your School’s Marketing Programs

Lisa has been the Director of Marketing & Communications at Delaware Valley Friends since 2010. In addition to her work in marketing, Lisa is the faculty advisor for the school’s vocal ensembles and co-directs the spring musicals, which are all student original productions from the story to the script to the music and lyrics. Prior to coming to DVFS, Lisa was a Senior Consultant with a marketing and business strategy firm in Malvern, Pennsylvania, where she spent 10+ years working with corporate and nonprofit clients in the areas of branding and marketing strategies, succession planning, and critical communications. She is a graduate of The Agnes Irwin School, Trinity College in Hartford, CT, and has a Master’s in American History from Villanova University. 

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Rebekah Jordan

Head of Lower School at Indian Mountain School, Lakeville, CT

Session: Embracing Difficult Conversations in the Classroom

Rebekah Jordan is the Head of Lower School at Indian Mountain School.  She also serves on the teaching faculty of the New England New Teacher's Institute.  A progressive educator, she was the founding head of The Peak School in Frisco, Colorado and has worked as a classroom teacher, consultant, family advocate, and experiential educator.  

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Kelly Adams Keller

Assistant Director of Marketing & Communications at Delaware Valley Friends School, Paoli, PA

Session: Strategies for Developing Content for your School’s Marketing Programs

Kelly has been the Assistant Director of Marketing & Communications at Delaware Valley Friends since 2013. Prior to coming to DVFS, Kelly worked independently for 18+ years with local nonprofits in the areas of education, the environment, and women’s issues, and published her own monthly newsletter for English-speaking mothers in Switzerland. Her early marketing experiences included work at Ogilvy and Mather Direct and DOW Chemical Europe. She is a graduate of the Zurich International School, and the University of Arizona, with a BSBA in Marketing Communication. Kelly is a board member of both the Swiss Benevolent Society of Philadelphia, and Open Connections, a learning center for ages 3-18.

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Ashely Inman Krug

Admissions Director at The GreenMount School, Baltimore, MD

Session: 7 Deadly Words: Is Your Website Saying What You Think it Does?

Ashley has been the Admissions Director at The GreenMount School for two years and in those years, she assessed the admissions procedure and completely overhauled the program to better serve prospective parents, students and faculty, and attract best fit families to the school. Ashley’s perspective is unique: she holds a master’s degree in psychology and is the owner of Twinkle Toes Dance Academy, both of which help inform her understanding of GreenMount’s current and prospective families.

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Bryan Pannill

English Teacher at Salisbury School, Salisbury, CT

Session: Embracing Difficult Conversations in the Classroom

Bryan teaches English at Salisbury School in Northwest Connecticut. He has taught at a boys’ boarding school in Sherborne, England, and was born and raised in Woodbridge, CT. A graduate of Princeton University, he seeks to create a rich culture in his classrooms that combines rigorous intellectual inquiry, personal engagement, real-world relevance, and simple fun. On his free time, he writes poetry and essays, thinks deep thoughts about culture and religion, and cooks up new things to try in the classroom while running in the woods.

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Carl Parke

Head of School at The Gooden School, Sierra Madre, CA

Session: Evergreen Enrollment Contracts

Carl Parke is in his first year as head of school at The Gooden School and previously served for five years as head of school at LaGrange Academy. He began his independent school career as a history teacher at Tampa Preparatory School with a newly minted Masters in US History and later worked for eight years as a teacher and administrator at The Altamont School in Birmingham, AL. He also has extensive experience in adolescent community mental health advocacy and holds an undergraduate degree in English. He and his wife Christie have a seven-year old daughter, Sophie, and in his spare time he enjoys bicycling and fly fishing.

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Claire Price

Dean of Students at The Advent School, Boston, MA

Session: Empowering Faculty to Support All Students

Claire Price is the Dean of Student Services at The Advent School in Boston, MA. Her fourteen years in education include serving as a Literacy Specialist and Instructional Coordinator before her current role. Her passion as an educator is to help students, families and fellow educators better understand student learning profiles to drive intentional, authentic and meaningful learning experiences.


Rod Stanton

Head of School at The School in Rose Valley, Rose Valley, PA

Session: Small Schools Collaborating for Big Change: The Greater Philadelphia Diversity Collaborative

Rod is the Head of School at The School in Rose Valley, a progressive school in Rose Valley, PA that serves students in preschool through sixth grade. Prior to working at SRV, Rod worked at The Crefeld School, where he taught history and was Assistant Head of School. Rod holds a B.S. in Education from Saint Joseph’s University and an M.A. in Educational Leadership from Immaculata University. Rod is also a member of the Greater Philadelphia Diversity Collaborative.  He lives in Malvern with his wife and two children. 

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Gretchen Vice

Dean of Faculty at The Advent School, Boston, MA

Session: Empowering Faculty to Support All Students

Gretchen Vice is the Dean of Faculty at The Advent School in Boston MA. Her eighteen years working in education include serving ten years as an elementary classroom teacher and seven years as an Instructional Coach/Coordinator within both public and private schools systems. Her passion as an educator is to guide, create learning opportunities for, and collaborate with faculty as they design and facilitate learning experiences for and with their students. 


Kristin Zappie

Teacher at Brocton Elementary School, Brocton, NY

Session: Building a Gifted and Talented Program With Little Money and Few Students

Kristin Zappie has taught in public school in Western New York since 2004.  Zappie is committed to the "bloom where you're planted" philosophy of generating large learning experiences for students in small districts with economic challenges.