In the past year, the Black Lives Matter movement elevated attention and initiatives in many independent schools around diversity, equity, and inclusion. This has resulted in numerous challenges for both school boards and and Heads of School in navigating change in this area. Why have some of these efforts resulted in significant backlash in school communities, while others are finding success? In this session we will hear about the unique DEI experiences from three schools and explore how moving forward, school leadership can find more success in implementing their DEI initiatives.
Panel Discussion Facilitator: Pascal Losambe, Ph.D., Organizational Culture and DEI Consultant, Synergy Consulting Company
Rika Yoshida, Board Chair, and Dan Frank, HOS, Francis W. Parker School, Chicago, IL
Gaither Deaton, Board Chair, and Gretchen Warner, HOS, The Madeira School, McLean, VA
Nava Fathi, Board Chair and Khadija Fredericks, HOS, St. Andrews Episcopal School, Saratoga, CA
School Leadership As We Emerge From the Pandemic: Leading and Managing Through Change and Transition
There’s immense pressure on school leaders this fall to accelerate initiatives and projects that were put on the backburner because of the global pandemic. Returning to normal from a perpetual state of emergency for 12-months will require patience, compassion, and reconciliation with the psychological and emotional state of school personnel, students, and families. The upcoming year will be one of transition, including shifts in the management and administrative ranks as many heads and senior admin are stepping down or moving on for various reasons, while many who have chosen to stay are now looking at other options, or indicated interest in doing so. Given this context, boards would do well to focus on head support and retention, and consider a more collaborative approach that again promotes a nimble and flexible approach to school affairs. Managing this year of transition requires a thorough understanding and application of change management theory, as well as tools to craft an intentional strategy founded upon school culture and values. Using clear frameworks, this session will help board chairs and trustees prioritize their 2021-22 roadmap and create a sustainable, community-based approach to their goals and objectives.
Presented by Nishant Mehta, Managing Director, Storbeck Search
Nishant Mehta heads the firm’s Independent Schools practice, recruiting transformational leadership for private, charter, and mission-driven schools across the country. In addition to his active role in executive-level searches, he offers consulting on strategy and DE&I, as well as leadership and governance coaching and training for education and nonprofit organizations.
Prior to joining Storbeck, Nishant served as Head of The Children’s School (TCS), an independent JK-8 school in Atlanta that was lauded in 2017 as a “model to follow” for innovation by NAIS’s Independent School magazine. In addition to his leadership of TCS, Nishant has twice co-chaired the NAIS People of Color Conference, served on the faculty of the Student Diversity Leadership Conference and the Diversity Leadership Institute, authored articles for NAIS publications, served on the NAIS and the National Business Officers Association (NBOA) boards; led workshops on topics such as equity and inclusion and governance and school leadership at national and regional conferences, and was the founder of The Children’s School’s Master Class in Inclusive Leadership, a summer leadership opportunity designed specifically for women and people of color. Since 2018 Nishant has served each summer as a faculty mentor of the NAIS Institute for New Heads, where he coaches new heads of school.
Based in Atlanta, he serves on the advisory boards of the Woodruff Arts Center’s Alliance Theatre and the Children’s Museum of Atlanta, and on the boards of NBOA and Asheville School. He is a former board chair of the Center for Spiritual and Ethical Education (CSEE).