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From the ED 3.2.17

Dear Colleagues,

As with most of your schools, the success of the organization depends upon a board of directors (trustees) to lead and govern the organization. The board for a non-profit has some key responsibilities:

  • Focus on the strategic direction of the organization, reviewing the mission and vision to ensure the organization continues to move forward in the appropriate direction.
  • Hire and support the leader (executive director, head of school, etc.). MISBO has recently been through the hiring process and I am certainly confident in the support piece.
  • Overall fiduciary responsibility.

A number of years ago MISBO revised its bylaws to be more consistent with its mission to serve independent schools and a part of that was opening board participation to a much wider group of leaders. The current board includes business officers, heads of schools, human resources professionals, technology leaders, and facilities leaders. We also strive to ensure geographic, school size and type, gender, and ethnic diversity. A year ago, the MISBO board determined that adding an independent school association executive would bring great value as well. We accomplished that goal by asking Damian Kavanagh, VP, Accreditation & Membership, SAIS to join the board. Damian was such a great addition that the search committee ultimately offered Damian the Executive Director position beginning July 1, 2017. Beginning next week, MISBO will again be interested in nominations for open positions beginning with the 2017-2018 school year. You may self-nominate or be nominated by a colleague.

MISBO is hoping to receive nominations which include: independent school association executives, technology leaders, operations leaders, and heads of schools. The board’s governance committee will start receiving nominations, spend the next couple of months interviewing candidates, and present a recommended slate of candidates to the full board at the scheduled April board meeting.

We encourage anyone who is interested and wishes to serve to read all about the process and requirements when they are released next week. Please be sure to contact me or any of the current MISBO board members if you have questions.

I was so fortunate to spend a day last week with the team at IDEO in their San Francisco offices to plan the first convening (workshop) for the 12 cohort schools that are participating in the MISBO + IDEO project. Click here to learn more and see which schools are part of this ground-breaking work.

At one point we moved to a brainstorming session about the business model for independent schools (the premise for this work) and in addition to the five IDEO team members, three additional business designers joined the session. We discussed the fact that “business design” is not something that can be learned in school. Many of us in the room have MBAs but no one had learned business design in school, yet this is a critical element for business innovation and growth. I encourage you to read this short article about business designers. Here is a brief description from IDEO:

But fewer know about business design, a discipline at IDEO that has formed over the past decade. There are a few dozen of us across the company, and our role is to balance the needs of users with the needs of our clients. In IDEO’s Venn diagram, innovative solutions hit the sweet spot where viability, desirability, and feasibility overlap. Business designers, to put it simply, design for viability.

This article – How Can Design Advance Education? – will provide you with one example of the power of business design. Look for more information and stories after our first workshop this Saturday.

I also hope you will join me, the MISBO board leadership, and incoming Executive Director Damian Kavanagh for the MISBO Forum on Wednesday, March 8th at 2:00 pm ET. This is an online “state of the association” meeting and registration is required. Please plan on joining us by registering at

The next MISBO On the Road will be held at St. Catherine’s School, Richmond, VA on Tuesday, March 14th starting at 10:00 am. The speaker for the day is Aaron Lundberg, Praesidium. You can find more information and registration by clicking here. Our next On the Road will be in Tampa, FL on April 25th – all the details can be found at MISBO On the Road events are open to both member and non-member schools.

We recently opened registration for the 2017 MISBO Human Resources Intensive and you can see the full schedule and register at MISBO last offered this program in 2015 and we sold out, and we expect the same for 2017. This is a unique program focused specifically on the needs of human resources professionals in independent schools. The sessions are presented by a mix of your colleagues and industry experts as well as a keynote presentation by Dr. Marc Brackett, Director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and a Senior Research Scientist in Psychology at Yale University. This will be an exciting, interactive session. I hope to see you in Atlanta, June 11-13, 2017 for this event.


Marc Levinson
Executive Director, MISBO

We power independent schools.™

From → MISBO

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