Presenters and Mentors
The common thread through the entire ISANNEleads experience is for each member of the cohort to come to understand their strengths and challenges as a leader and the strengths and challenges of those around them. The experience will provide the tools each will need to “stay inspired” as a school leader. All of this is built around the courage to lead with integrity.
Laurie G. Hurd
Laurie, the Executive Director of ISANNE, is energized by working with mission driven leaders and organizations. She grew up on New England boarding school campuses and she has spent her professional life working in independent and public schools.
Laurie began her career in education as a teacher, dorm parent, and student advisor and she also established an after-school program at Norfolk Academy in VA. When she returned to Hyde School, she led their Admissions department for 12 years. Laurie joined Hyde’s effort to bring character and family education programming into the public schools and she was the first director of Hyde’s New Haven, CT public magnet high school. She was a member of the founding team of Hyde School’s Woodstock, CT boarding campus and she served as Head of School for 8 years at Hyde School’s Bath campus, her alma mater.
Prior to being named the Executive Director of ISANNE, Laurie served as the Director of Development of the Oldfields School in Glencoe, MD. While living outside New England, Laurie maintained her connection with ISANNE and the Association’s focus on leadership development and she has served with the ISANNELEADS faculty team since the program began in 2012.
Douglas C. Cummings
Doug joined Educators’ Collaborative as a Partner in 2014 after a decade of leading the Independent Schools Association of Northern New England. During Doug’s time with ISANNE a great deal of the Association’s energy has entailed extensive research relative to the characteristics of successful heads, their personal leadership development and the role of the board, board chair and leadership team in their success.
Cummings has fostered the development of executive coaching and mentoring programs for ISANNE’s new heads and co-founded its ISANNELEADS Seminar. Cummings has provided onsite work as it relates to strategic planning, board training, and the overall administrative function at schools.
Before joining ISANNE, Doug was the Headmaster at Maine Central Institute in Pittsfield, Maine for 18 years and before that, the Assistant Head of School at Foxcroft Academy in Dover-Foxcroft, Maine for 5 years. Prior to working in educational leadership Cummings was a teacher and coach at Penobscot Valley H.S in Howland, Maine. During his 37 years of work in the world of education he has also served as a member of the Executive Committee and President of the Maine Association of Independent Schools (MAIS) and the Commission on Independent Schools at the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Doug has chaired many accreditation teams and has also worked in conjunction with NEASC in training visiting committee professionals.
Dedicated to the continual improvement of schools and their leaders, Jim is the Deputy Director of Commission on Independent Schools at NEASC. In this capacity he oversees initial and continued accreditation of the secondary schools. He brings a lifetime of independent school involvement to the work, including 16 years as Headmaster of Vermont Academy in Saxtons River, VT. He has been the Co-Director of the ISANNE Emerging Leader Summer Conference (ISANNELEADS) and has held prior positions at Taft School (CT) and Rye Country Day School (NY).
Effective school leadership has led to several Board appointments, including as Chair of the NEASC Commission on Independent Schools; President of the NEASC Board; and member of Association of Independent Schools of New England board; the School Board of Peru, Vermont; trustee of the Rowland Foundation: and member of the board of AISAP (Association of Independent School Admissions Professionals). He is also serving on the NAIS Commission on Accreditation. Jim is a graduate of the Taft School and Yale University who earned his Master of Arts in Education Administration at Stanford University.
Raised as a faculty child at Loomis Chaffee School in Connecticut, Cynthia fell in love with the lifestyle of the independent boarding school. Upon graduation from Mount Holyoke College, Cynthia worked at the Indian Mountain School as a teacher of science and math, coach, and dorm parent. Her love of administration began at IMS, where she served also as the dean of girls. Graduate work drew her to the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where she earned a master’s degree in 1984.
While in graduate school and afterwards, Cynthia joined the administration at Cambridge School of Weston as the administrative dean and director of residence. Cynthia and her husband, Murray Dewdney, then moved north to Kimball Union, where they have worked and raised their two children since 1988. Cynthia began her KUA career as a college advisor and later was appointed the director of the department. She is now the Director of Studies, coordinating academic support and overseeing the Center for the Advancement of Learning.
Patrick F. Bassett
Prior to co-founding Heads Up Educational Consulting in 2013, a consulting firm that provides strategic, operational, governance, and programmatic guidance and consultation to educational enterprises, Patrick F. Bassett spent his entire career in education.
He began in 1970 as a teacher in an independent school, then subsequently becoming the head of two independent schools, followed by assuming the role of president of ISACS, a regional association of independent schools, on his professional path that ultimately led in August 2001 to appointment as the president of the National Association of Independent Schools. NAIS, a membership organization for approximately 2000 independent (private) schools and associations of schools in the U.S. and abroad, is the “national voice for independent schools and the center for advocacy for independent K-12 college-prep education, research and trend analysis, leadership and governance guidance, and professional development opportunities for school and board leaders. He retired from NAIS in June of 2013, and became co-founder and senior consultant of Heads Up Educational Consulting. In that role, he continues to lead workshops, give keynote address, facilitate strategic planning and executive searches, and train boards, school leaders, and faculty on what constitute great schools, great teachers, and great leaders.
Bassett began his career in independent schools in 1970 as an English teacher, lacrosse coach, and dorm parent at Woodberry Forest School (VA), an all-boys boarding school. In 1980, he became headmaster of an all-girls school, Stuart Hall (VA), where he remained until 1989, when he was appointed head of school at Pomfret School (CT). From 1993-2001, Bassett was the president of the Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS). He was also an adjunct faculty member of Teachers College, Columbia University during his tenure at NAIS.
Bassett has served on the board as a trustee of NAIS (1985-1989), The Multicultural Alliance (1994-2000), The Council for Spiritual and Ethical Education (CSEE 1996-2013), The Council for American Private Education (CAPE 2001-2013), the National Network of Schools in Partnership (NNSP, a public/private school consortium, 2012-2014), and his alma mater, Williams College (2010-15). He currently serves on the board of trustees of United Educators (a school and university risk management insurance company), Finalsite (a website & mobile technologies company), Woodberry Forest School (VA), the Benedict Foundation, Three-W International (an international student placement and services company), and Grab the Torch (a non-profit dedicated to inculcating philanthropy in youth).
Professional recognition has included being named a Kellogg National Leadership Fellow in 1986; a recipient of the Educational Leadership Award in 2000 by The Klingenstein Center of Teachers College (Columbia University) and global leadership awards from The European Council for International Schools (ECIS), from the Near East South Asia Council of Overseas Schools (NESA), and from NAIS. A Phi Beta Kappa, magna cum laude graduate of Williams College (’70) where he was captain of the lacrosse team, Bassett also holds a master's degree in film studies from Northwestern University (’73). He and his wife, Barbara, have two grown daughters and two grandchildren living in Boulder, CO.
Sarah P. Daignault
Sarah spent 12 years as the Executive Director of the National Business Officers Association (NBOA), an association dedicated to serving independent school business officer by providing professional development and information on independent schools finance and operations. Prior to founding NBOA, Sarah spent five years as the Business Officer at Friends School of Baltimore and four years as the Business Manager at Bryn Mawr School for Girls.
Sarah Daignault also was an instructor at the Klingenstein Center at Teachers College, Columbia University in New York City. She worked with Private School Leadership Masters candidates in the area of school finance. She also had a consulting practice working with schools and associations in the areas of operations, finance and governance.
In addition to her experience in school finance and operations, she has extensive governance experience. During her 19 year tenure on the Board of Directors of the Madeira School in Virginia, Sarah was the President of the Board for eight years. She also chaired the Capital Campaign for five years and the Head Search process. She serves on the Boards of the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools (NCGS) and the Association of Independent School Admission Professionals (AISAP). She has also served on the Board of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) as well as three other independent schools boards.
Linda Johnson is a director with the law firm of McLane Middleton, Professional Association. Linda is currently Co-Chair of McLane’s Education Law Group and focuses her practice on understanding and serving the needs of independent and boarding schools. She serves as outside legal counsel to many of the country’s top independent and boarding schools including the largest independent academy in the United States. She works closely with heads of schools, deans, financial officers, trustees, and others. She advises her clients on all aspects of school operations including employment law, student discipline, contracts, fiduciary and tort law, leadership development, investigations, compliance audits, risk management, crisis response and student safety. She trains her clients on how to operate safely, how to recognize and address signs of inappropriate behavior, and how to respond to allegations of misconduct. She is especially known for her passion and skill in developing school training programs, and has provided trainings to thousands of public and private school administrators, faculty, staff, students, parents, athletes and athletic directors around the country. She has also developed a unique boundary awareness training program for working one-on-one with school employees who need help in understanding and recognizing the lines of appropriate behaviors with students. Linda is recognized as a national authority on student and campus safety issues, risk management, boundary awareness, crisis response, employment law and independent school law issues. In 2014, Linda was one of three attorneys nationwide appointed to the Legal Advisory Board of The Association of Boarding Schools, (“TABS”) and Campus Outreach Services (“COS”) to assist the organizations in launching a program focused on independent schools and the law. Linda is well regarded by her peers and has been named as a leading labor and employment law attorney. She is AV rated by Martindale Hubbell which is the highest rating for legal ethics and services. She is also listed in Woodward's Best Lawyers in America for both employment and education law, in New England SuperLawyers, and in Chambers USA America's Leading Lawyers in Business where it is stated that her clients have commented that they "appreciate her responsiveness and ability to blend the legal and practical perspective;" and “If I really had a crisis, I could call Linda personally and know that she would sort it out immediately.”
Jodi L. McGary, LCSW
Jodi is a 1996 graduate of Maine Central Institute. Jodi was raised on the campus of MCI where her father was the Head of School. Upon her graduation, Jodi attended the University of New Hampshire where she earned a Bachelors degree in Social Work and immediately took a job working for The Department of Social Services in Massachusetts. While working there as a child protective social worker, Jodi earned her Master Degree in Social Work from Rhode Island College. In 2006, Jodi and her family returned to MCI where she worked on the Leadership Team as the Director of Counseling and Special Education Coordinator. During her time at MCI Jodi attended ISANNELEADS, where she realized her passion for Leadership Development. In 2013, Jodi opened a private practice in Dover-Foxcroft. In addition to being a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Jodi is a certified Myers Briggs Practitioner, which she uses as a tool in Leadership Development. Jodi enjoys utilizing her training and life experiences consulting at schools throughout New England helping administrative teams and school leaders recognize and develop their own leadership potential.
Jodi is married to Chris McGary, who is the Assistant Head for External Affairs at Foxcroft Academy in Dover-Foxcroft, ME, where they live with their three children, Laney, Emma, and Ryan.
Hans Mundahl has been an educator since 1995 when he first stepped into the classroom as a Fulbright exchange teacher in the former East Germany. Since then Hans has taught in a variety of settings including as an Outward Bound instructor, classroom teacher, house parent, and adjunct professor.
As a school administrator Hans served as an admission officer, strategic planning liaison, andexperiential learning program head before focusing on academic technology integration.
In that capacity Hans pioneered a values-driven approach to technology integration grounded in meaningful faculty and student engagement. This approach won New Hampton School praise when it was named an Apple Distinguished School for its 1:1 iPad program.
Hans is bringing this approach to a wider audience with his new venture: Hans Mundahl & Associates Inc. The company helps schools, nonprofits, and the businesses who serve them with technology audits, staff training, and digital marketing.
Hans’s writing and videos appear around the web including edSocialMedia, Carney, Sandoe & Associates, The Association of Boarding Schools, and InspirED School Marketers. Hans has been quoted on The Today Show website, Mashable, and US News & World Report. His own eBook Teaching with the iPad is available on the iBookstore.
Hans’s spare time is usually spent with his family but he is also passionate about the outdoors and protecting the environment. Hans is on the Board of Trustees at the Newfound Lake Region Association and when he has the chance he is also an active hiker, climber, and paddler.
Betsy Myers is currently the Founding Director of the Center for Women and Business at Bentley University. A leadership expert, author and advocate, she is also speaking at conferences and workshops around the world on the changing nature of leadership. Her book, Take the Lead: Motivate, Inspire, and Bring Out the Best in Yourself and Everyone Around You, continues to be the basis of her work as her experience spans the corporate, political and high education arena.
As Executive Director of the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, she focused the center’s teaching and research around personal leadership. Senior adviser to two U.S. Presidents, she was most recently the Chief Operating Officer of the Obama Presidential Campaign and Chair of Women for Obama.
During the Clinton Administration, Betsy spent several years at the U.S. Small Business Administration in posts that included Director of the Office of Women’s Business Ownership. She then moved to the White House as President Clinton’s senior adviser on women’s issues and Director of the Office for Women’s Initiatives and Outreach.
R. Phillip Peck
R. Phillip Peck, Headmaster, The Holderness School. Phil Peck graduated from Dartmouth College in 1978 with citations in History and Russian Literature. At Dartmouth he was on an NCAA-champion ski team, and won Dartmouth’s Robert C. Gebhardt Award for high achievement in academics, athletics, and the life of the school. After Dartmouth, Peck competed on the national circuit in skiing for several years before being named the assistant coach to the US Nordic Ski Team on the World Cup and at the Olympic Games in Sarajevo. Following the 1984 Olympics Mr. Peck joined the faculty of Holderness School, where he taught history; coached cross-country running, nordic skiing, and cycling. He served as the Dean of Faculty before being named Head of School in 2001. As Head he has led the School through four strategic planning processes, implemented a comprehensive professional development program for faculty, increased the school’s levels of financial aid, and overseen a remarkable increase in endowment. Mr. Peck has also been a Klingenstein Fellow at Columbia University’s Teachers College, earned his Master’s in educational leadership there, and has subsequently taught in the Klingenstein program. He is in the process now of earning his Ed.D.in educational leadership from Columbia.