Ravenscroft Head of School Doreen Kelly has been appointed to the board of trustees for the Southern Association of Independent Schools and attended their annual conference in Charleston, SC, this week along with two colleagues, who presented in conference sessions.
Kelly has maintained a long relationship with SAIS, serving as a faculty member at their Institute for New Heads, as a mentor in their Aspiring Heads Program, and as a member and chair of their evaluation teams. She has previously served as a trustee of their Accreditation Committee and a faculty member at their New Teacher Institute.
Kelly contributed a guest column, "Managing Polarities: The Potential of 'Both/And' for Education Leaders" to the Fall 2018 SAIS Magazine, in which she explores her growth as a leader as a result of a new perspective on polarities — interdependent pairs, such as candor and diplomacy, that support a common purpose and one another. An excerpt:
I have come to appreciate that, indeed, most of our work together in schools can be conceived through the lens of a polarity. The challenges we face are ongoing, and there is no endpoint. In fact, many challenges are not solvable. They must be managed together, and oftentimes there are two "right" answers that are interdependent. ... I have learned, with each meeting that I attend, the importance of taking time to consider — and even map out — what polarity might be at play. I have learned how important it is to start with relationship first and then move to the task at hand.
She was joined at the conference by Phil Higginson, assistant head of school for institutional advancement, who led a development session with Independent School Management's Herb Soles on "Converting the Reluctant Solicitor Into a Dynamic Fundraiser."
"The focus of our presentation was on how the focus should not be on solicitation but on the development of meaningful relationships with families who are interested in helping our schools fulfill their strategic vision," Higginson explained. "By focusing on developing partnership relationships with our constituents, we quickly realize that everyone can be actively involved in talking with families about supporting our schools philanthropically."
Also presenting at the conference was Sarah Loyola, director of educational technology, who joined Laura Tierney and E.J. Proctor of The Social Institute in exploring "The Future of Social Media Education."
"Students spend up to nine hours each day on digital devices, and cyber-bullying and reputation-damaging posts are running rampant," Loyola said. "Using The Social Institute's partnership with Ravenscroft as a model, our presentation explored how schools can adopt a new, positive approach to social media education and encourage student agency where kids co-lead and champion the program."
With 373 member schools from 13 U.S. states, the Caribbean and Latin America, SAIS is the largest regional independent school association in the country, representing more than 220,000 students. Their mission is to strengthen member schools by providing high-quality accreditation processes, comprehensive professional growth opportunities, and visionary leadership development programs.
Above, Kelly and Loyola (at center) at the conference with The Social Institute's Tierney (left) and Proctor.