A Brief History of ISANNE

The Independent Schools Association of Northern New England was founded in the 1970s as a support organization for school heads. In the beginning, it included primarily a small number of boarding schools; as time passed, by-laws were adopted and more schools began to join. The cornerstone for membership from the beginning was that all schools be accredited by The New England Association of Schools and Colleges, NEASC.

In the mid 1980s the organization began promoting the idea that other administrative professionals at member schools should begin to meet as well. As a result, the deans, assistant heads, admission, development and business office professionals began organizing their own workshops and conferences under the ISANNE name.

In 1992 the Association was first incorporated and recognized by the IRS as a 501 C 6 nonprofit. From the beginning, the Association employed a part-time executive secretary. In 1999, ISANNE hired its first Executive Director, Vince Durnan, with expanded responsibilities, but still on a part-time basis. In 2004, Douglas Cummings was appointed as the Executive Director.

From 2005-2010 the Executive Director began providing more support to all affinity groups and accepting the leadership and management of all ISANNE conferences.  In 2005 the association managed three conferences, attracting approximately 125 total participants. In 2012-13, ISANNE offered over 20 conferences with a total of 679 participants.

In 2006 the organization adopted its first formal strategic plan and on July 1, 2007, the executive directorship became a full-time position. The Association was re-incorporated as a 501 C 3 by the IRS in 2007. In 2011, The Association Board adopted its second strategic plan with initiatives in the areas of professional development, inclusivity and collegiality, collective action, promotion of services and finance. Today ISANNE’s mission is to unite, support and promote its diverse member schools in a changing world.

ISANNE is an association of 62 schools, which employ over 2700 teachers and serve over 22,000 students. Among its members, there are 27 boarding schools, 16 day schools, and 19 town academies. Schools range in size from 10 students to 3,300 students. The Association represents many internationally known schools as well as schools still in their infancy. This diversity is truly valued by all members of the association.

The Association partners with NEASC in many ways maintaining a close relationship to promote the accreditation of all member schools.  ISANNE is also an active member of The Independent School Association Network, ISAnet, and NAIS.