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From the ED 4.10.14

Dear Colleagues,

MISBO partnered with Tennessee Association of Independent Schools (TAIS) last week to present the first joint Business Officer Conference in Nashville, TN. This gathering of nearly 50 people was a great opportunity for business officers (and one Head of School) to spend about 24 hours together exploring the questions about the future of education and our schools, the challenges that are inherent when there is a transition of the Head of School, as well as how to manage the risks our schools face with rapidly expanding international travel. Our three speakers: Grant Lichtman, Chip Broadway, and Eric Harley provided the attendees with much to contemplate as they went back to their schools.

One of the most interesting conversations was around the question of “Who is your customer?” This is a surprisingly difficult question to answer for independent schools. I would suggest that you consider asking this question of your leadership team and perhaps your entire faculty and staff and discuss the variety of answers that you receive. It may even provide for great generative discussion at a future board meeting. Clearly ‘students’ rise to the top of the answers from this discussion about customers. Are our students our customers? Or are they the product of our institutions? Or both? We could not come up with another industry which grappled with this type of question (if you know of one, please comment below). Another interesting anomaly is the relationship between our parents (customers?) and the fact that for most of our schools the governing body is primarily parents. Again, this is worthy of additional conversation when one considers that our customers (parents) are also the majority of our governing bodies. What challenges does this create? Perhaps this is another generative discussion for our boards.

For those of you that are interested in these questions and the work of Grant Lichtman, you can follow his blog at Take a look at the resource page and you will find two thought provoking lists: 1) Grant Lichtman’s What Ifs and 2) Bo Adam’s 60 Things ( If you are like me and wondering what a re-imagined educational environment may look like, these lists should provide some introspective discussion at your schools.

MISBO’s next conference is in partnership with the Florida Independent School Business Officers (FISBO) to be held May 4-6, 2014 in Stuart, FL. This conference, as with all MISBO events, is open to everyone. More information and a full program can be found here – Early registration and discounted hotel rates expire tomorrow – April 11th. I hope to see you there!


Marc Levinson
Executive Director, MISBO
Twitter: @MISBOconnects @Marcll

From → MISBO

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