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Trusted Advisor Services

A trusted adviser supports organizational leaders and governing boards 

Assessing the Health of the School Culture

Our trusted advisor assignments often begin with the administration of our proprietary Engagement Surveys. Strong evidence supports how the presence of positive engagement of employees and ‘customers’ contributes to the financial sustainability of an organization.

Our Engagement Surveys have been developed for and tested in independent schools and provide invaluable insights to leadership about the health of the school culture and strategies to eliminate barriers to growth and success.

The Board and Head receive a full report and analysis that provides objective data and reduces dependence on rumor or anecdotal information about the school culture.

Executive Leadership Coaching

Dr. George Conway’s active executive coaching career draws on decades of experience as a senior leader in independent schools, including 24 years as Head of St. Anne’s-Belfield School. He has successfully guided and advised leaders at schools all over the country. His coaching is focused on achieving goals, improving communication and making wise and timely decisions. He adds an experienced voice to the thorniest issues facing modern Heads of Schools.

Dr. Conway works confidentially with Heads to ensure discretion and provides 24-hour access to the strategic advice for leaders.

Governance Retreats for Boards of Trustees

Using case-study methods, we will explore real school issues and find effective ways for Boards to react, respond, and be supportive. Our focus is always on best-practices in school governance and Dr. Conway brings years of experience working with Boards to make sessions lively, entertaining and productive.

Campaign Counsel and Support

Our team provides guidance for every phase of the school's capital campaign. Our process begins with consultation on strategy and structure to ensure a successful start. Once underway, our team can assist with donor research and prospect identification, board and volunteer training, and campaign communication support.

Goal setting, Contracts, and Leadership Evaluation

The annual evaluation of the Head of School is often a requirement for school accreditation. Building an objective system with realistic and achievable goals for the Head and Board can benefit from an experienced third-party, objective assessment. Creating annual goals, assessment criteria and a timetable that fits both Head and Board are important parts of what IES offers boards. We can also advise Boards about current trends in employment contracts for Heads of Schools.

Leadership Team Assessment and Improvement

Forging a unified administrative team is vital to school leadership success. As new members of the team are on-boarded or when a new Head of School is hired, assessing individual administrator strengths as well as team strengths and weaknesses can be an enormous help in administrative team building. Without producing counterproductive anxieties or fears, the LEARNS method of assessment (Leadership, Engagement, Awareness, Results, New Initiatives and Sustainability) gives the entire team insights into how to work together with maximum trust and productivity. The LEARNS method has been specifically developed for independent school administrations and is often used with psycho-metric evaluative tools for maximum insights and specific guidance.

Strategic & Crisis Communications Support

There is no more important tool in a leader’s arsenal than the ability to craft clear and consistent messaging that is aligned with institutional goals and values. Whether designed to grow enrollment, augment private support, recruit and retain new leadership, or launch a new initiative, strategic communications are a vital component of the 21st century independent school. At IES, our network of experts have extensive experience helping educational institutions build messaging platforms that inform communities and advance critical conversations, including in complex crisis situations. IES connects schools and organizations with the help they need at critical moments.

On-going Counsel and Planning

Developing an organic strategic priorities plan that has the flexibility build in to meet the vicissitudes of school leadership is an essential part of best practices in school governance. Dr. Conway will partner with the Board during this time to develop a sustainable financial plan which supports the strategic priorities of the school. But most importantly, this is not “one-off” counsel. Over the course of several months, the implementation of a plan and the support of the work of the Head and Board leadership will ensure the planning is brought to life.

Let us help you make the right moves.

Washington, DC | Charlottesville, Virginia

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