National Small Schools Conference

7th Annual National Small Schools Conference
The Nora School, Silver Spring, MD
June 19 – June 21, 2014

Download the Conference Registration

Thursday, June 19

12:00 pm Registration begins at The Nora School

1:00 pm Welcome, introductions and housekeeping

2 – 4 pm Margaret Treadwell, LCSW. Editor of A Failure of Nerve: Leadership in the Age of the Quick Fix, by Edwin Friedman. Peggy will discuss the late Edwin Friedman’s insights about our regressed, seatbelt society, oriented toward safety rather than adventure, and help explain the sabotage that leaders constantly face. Suspicious of the quick fixes and instant solutions that sweep through our culture only to give way to the next fad, Friedman and Treadwell argue for strength and self-differentiation as the marks of true leadership. Their formula for success is more maturity, not more data; stamina, not technique; and personal responsibility, not empathy.

6:30pm Reception at The Nora School with beer, wine, and hors d’oeuvre.

7:30 – 9 pm Dinner: Jackie’s Restaurant (across the street from Nora)

Friday, June 20

8:00 am Light breakfast and Networking at The Nora School.

8:30 – 10:25am  Choose two of the three sessions, one hour each.

Starr Snead, Principal, Advancement Connections. Competing for the Big Bucks: Of Course We Can! What does it take to reel in capital and/or major gifts? Can schools with small staffs and modest budgets compete with their bigger cousins for the time, attention and philanthropic largesse of major donors? Absolutely. Whether or not your school is on the capital campaign or major gifts superhighway, join this session to learn how to cultivate and steward donors for maximum return on investment. Drawing on anecdotal information, trend data and examples from recent case studies, participants will examine what motivates donors to give BIG to small schools and how to develop strategies that tap those transforming gifts.


Ann Bevans, Marketing the Small School Story, How to use stories to attracts your ideal admissions candidates. Ann is the Principal and Chief Smarty Pants of Ann Bevans Collective, a marketing and web development company. Her clients have included Johns Hopkins University, the University of Maryland, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Booz Alen Hamilton.


Washington Small Schools Association Heads. Starting a Local Small School Support Group. Val Wise, The Harbor School; Ron McClain, Parkmont School; Brooke Carroll, Seneca Academy.

10:00-11:45am Dr. William Stixrud, Ph.D. and David Mullen, Head of School, The Nora School. Tools for Reducing Stress. Bill will discuss the research behind meditation in schools, stress reduction, and academic performance. Dave will present an overview of the Mindfulness in Schools Project which was just instituted at The Nora School.

12:00 – 1:30 pm Affinity Groups TBD. A working lunch and affinity groups discussions are based on your interests and could include groups such as: Heads of school, Heads of K-8 or Montessori schools; Division Heads; Heads who teach; Business Managers; Directors of Admissions; or subjects such as marketing, supervision of Internet usage, use of cell phones, flipped classrooms, or group assessment. We will send a list of possibilities ahead of time and ask for suggestions when we convene on Thursday afternoon.

1:30 – 6 pm Tour of Washington DC. Four choices, guided by Nora faculty or on your own. Lincoln’s Washington, Photo Safari, The Monumental Core, National Gallery of Art.

Dinner on your own (list provided).

Saturday, June 21

8:30 am Coffee, bagels, yogurt and fruit available at The Nora School.

9:00 – 10:30 am Lynn Friedman, Ph.D. Heads and Staff: Dealing with Boards of Directors, What the Research Says. Dr. Friedman is a Clinical Psychologist and Psychoanalyst in private practice and a Faculty Associate at Johns Hopkins University. She presented her research on what school heads would like trustees to know at the 2013 NAIS conference.

10:45-11:45 am Group discussion on the nature of small schools work and ideas for the 2015 Conference.

If any schools wish to hold a retreat on Saturday afternoon, The Nora School building can remain open through dinner. Please contact Dave if you are interested.

All sessions will be held at

The Nora School
955 Sligo Avenue
Silver Spring, MD 20910

Hotel: Courtyard Marriott
8506 Fenton Street
Silver Spring, MD 20910

Dulles International
Baltimore Washington International
Reagan National (accessible via public transportation)

Questions? Please email Dave Mullen at

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