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From the ED 6.2.16

Dear Colleagues,

As I travel and visit schools and speak at various conferences, I meet people along the way and when they ask what I do, I talk about serving independent schools. This generally leads to a puzzled look and the next question – “is that the same as private schools?” I have a fairly well-rehearsed answer to this. I say that private schools charge tuition, so independent schools by that definition are private. The next part is most important – independent schools each have a unique mission and they are governed by an independent board of trustees.

In the most recent Independent School Magazine published by NAIS I read their definition, which is similar to mine. I thought it valuable to share with all of you:

Independent schools are non-profit private schools that are independent in philosophy: each is driven by a unique mission. They are also independent in the way they are managed and financed: each is governed by an independent board of trustees and each is primarily supported through tuition payments and charitable contributions. They are accountable to their communities and are accredited by state-approved accrediting bodies.

The overlap is very obvious. It may be time to take a closer look at some of this definition. The past decade has led to significant growth in ‘for-profit’ independent schools, such as Stratford Schools (CA), Alt Schools, and many more. These new entities are providing some new ways of looking at independent education as well as creating competition for many of our schools. I would agree that tuition is the financial driver for our schools. However, this is also clearly a cause for concern and possibly alarm as traditional independent schools continue to grapple with the concept of sustainability and, I would suggest, relevancy. Generative, strategic board leadership is essential for the future success of our schools.

Board leadership is also essential for the growth and success of MISBO. MISBO would like to welcome five new board members whose terms begin July 1, 2016. These new board members will bring valuable experience, insight, and knowledge to the MISBO board.

Additionally, we would like to thank the following people for their significant contributions to MISBO as their board terms expire:

Along with the returning board members, these four individuals have been instrumental in the transformation of MISBO and the MISBO board over the past five years. I am honored to have had the opportunity to work so closely with them.

In our continuing effort for MISBO to serve the whole school, we are offering a new program designed for all business office staff. We have just a couple open spaces for this conference which begins on Sunday, June 12th:

  • June 12-14 is a new program which we believe will be incredibly valuable for your business office staff and your school. The Not-Just-the-Business Officer Intensive will be hosted by Woodward Academy, Atlanta, GA. This unique opportunity for everyone in the business office will provide both serious learning and wonderful networking opportunities. Space is limited!

Congratulations! You have wrapped up another school year. While the work continues for the summer, this is also a time for reflection, and relaxation.


Marc Levinson
Executive Director, MISBO

We power independent schools.™

From → MISBO

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