The National Business Officers Association’s (NBOA) highly anticipated 2021 Annual Meeting “Innovation State of Mind” is just a few short weeks away. We’re looking forward to learning alongside schools across the country and hosting a few sessions ourselves. With sessions built specifically for school professionals in the business office, IT, executive leadership, HR, and many other groups, you’ll find there’s no shortage of opportunities for your whole team to learn and grow. Here are a few of the sessions we’re most excited about.

10 Can’t-Miss NBOA Conference Sessions 

1. Association CEOs Futurecasting: Leading Independent School Innovation

Monday 3:00 pm- 4:15 pm 

Speakers: Sue Cunningham, President, and CEO for the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), Heather Hoerle, Executive Director and CEO of the Enrollment Management Association (EMA), Doona Orem, President at the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), Jeffery Shields, President and CEO of the National Business Officers Association (NBOA), and Pete Upham, Executive Director of the Association of Boarding Schools (TABS).

5 powerhouse CEOs from five major national associations serving independent schools gather to discuss how we can apply the lessons learned in the past year and from a past crisis, the Great Recession. The session is facilitated by NBOA President and CEO, Jeff Shields. Learn about strategies you can use to grow stronger and create a more sustainable future for your school community. Prepare for the knowns, and unknowns, that lay ahead. 

2. Love ‘Em or They’ll Leave You: Creating Winning Retention Teams

On-Demand Goldmine Session

Speaker: Scott Delleville, Account Director at SchoolAdmin

 It costs five times more to attract a new customer than it does to retain an old one. The same applies to our students. Keeping them (and their families) happy and connected to your school isn’t an easy task, but it can be done with the right team. In this session, you’ll learn how to create a specialized, school-wide task force to tackle retention year after year. This goldmine session hosted by Scott Delleville, Account Director at SchoolAdmin is an on-demand session available throughout the entire conference built with your executive leadership in mind. 

[Learn more about what you need to whip up a five-star retention strategy in our Recipe for Retention Ebook]  

3. Is Your School Hitting It Out of the Financial Ballpark?

On-Demand Goldmine Session

Speaker: Josh Nevarez, CPA & Partner at Armanio LLP

With financial data everywhere and extreme survey fatigue, how does your team prioritize what matters most for financial stability? In this goldmine session, you’ll get details from an analysis of 200 schools that identifies metrics for operating efficiencies, strategic initiates, and long-term stability. Find out the minimum performance levels you should be meeting and how you can become best in class for every category. This accounting, finance, and tax-focused session shared by Josh Nevarez, CPA & Partner at Armanio LLP promises to be an important one. 

4. Admission Metrics You Should Watch in 2021

On-Demand Goldmine Session

Speakers: Nate Little, CEO & Founder at SchoolAdmin, and Elyn Roberts, VP of Strategy and Innovation at SchoolAdmin

Don’t miss this informative session that will share the top metrics you should watch so you can gain a deep understanding of exactly how your school is performing regarding admissions and enrollment. Learn how to calculate these metrics, why they’re so important, and how to improve them. This is a must-attend goldmine session co-led by Nate Little, CEO & Founder at SchoolAdmin, and Elyn Roberts, VP of Strategy and Innovation at SchoolAdmin, for business operations folks.

5. Beyond “Budget vs. Actual”: Using Strategy to Guide Your School’s Future

Monday 1:10 pm- 2:00 pm

Speakers: Curtis Klotz, Director of Nonprofit Innovation at CLA, and Sarah Reichling, Principal at CLA 

Learn how to assess or create future budgets with abounding unknowns. Two CPAs, Curtis Klotz (Director of Nonprofit Innovation)  and Sarah Reichling (Principal) from CLA make a case for presenting forecasting, modeling, and scenario planning that go far beyond historical information. If you’re wondering what tools you need in the wake of a crisis, you’ll want to attend this session. 


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6. Financial Planning Tools for School Leaders

On-Demand Goldmine Session

Speakers Palmer D. Ball, President of Palmer Ball Consulting LLC

Accreditation and strategic planning are vital processes for schools. In this session, you’ll get an overview of tools you can implement for financial equilibrium. Some of the tools include net tuition revenue by grade, a 14- year financial aid model, and NBOA’s Long-Range Financial Model. Identify what questions you should ask as a leader about your school’s financial health, recent history, and future projections in this session. 

7. If It’s Not Broken, Why Fix It? Implementing Change When Not Everyone Thinks It’s Necessary

Tuesday, 1:00 pm – 1:50 pm

Speakers: Michael Dyson, PsyD, MBA, Chief Financial Officer at Gladwyne Montessori School, Susan Guerette, JD, Partner, Fisher, Phillips, and Carrie Kries, MS, Head of School at Gladwyne Montessori

Even when school staff and faculty know that making a change will advance the mission of the school, many are resistant. Change can incite anger, resentment, gossip, and challenges to attrition. Alternatively, it can lead to improved student growth, professional satisfaction, school culture, and organizational reputation, especially when change incorporates innovation. Learn how to determine when it is time to initiate change as a school leader and business officer and dive deeply into one school’s approach in this session.

8. Future-Proofing Your School With Predictive Analytics

Tuesday 1:00 pm – 1:50 pm 

Speakers: Alex Gyorffy, Senior Manager, Data & Analytics, Armanino LLP and Dean Quiambao, CPA, Chief Relationship Builder, Armanino LLP

There is a long list of factors that impact the strategy and financial sustainability of your school. Things like tuition affordability, birth rates, housing costs, and salary benefits to name a few. In this session led by Alex Gyorffy, Senior Manager, Data & Analytics, Armanino LLP, and Dean Quiambao, CPA, Chief Relationship Builder, Armanino LLP, learn how predictive analytics can help you and your board make better decisions about the long term sustainability of your school and get some actionable steps to future proof your school’s financial health.

9. Ideas to Continue School Transformation

Wednesday 1:00- 1:50 pm

Speakers: Damian Kavanagh, Ed.S., CAE, President of MISBO, and Aggie Malter, EdD, President and CEO of PAISBOA

It’s no secret that this past year was full of rapid transitions. Transitions to remote teaching, learning, and working revealed that we cannot ignore the role of innovation and change in schools. Learn about eight changes to school business models that will shift your thinking.

10. School Contract Yoga: Drafting Contracts to be Strong and Flexible

On-Demand Goldmine Session

Speakers: Janice P. Gregerson, Esq., Attorney at Venable LLP, and Ashley Sykes, Associate at Venable LLP 

Contracts abound for schools with independent school enrollment contracts, employee contracts, and vendor contracts. By having different parties bound to the school, schools can better budget, plan, and forecast their needs. But the desire for certainty and security may have unintended effects. It can leave schools bound to individuals and entities whom they need to break ties with in crisis to ensure stability for the school as a whole. In this session, you’ll review considerations and strategies in drafting contracts to ensure your school can balance the competing needs of certainty and flexibility.

With dozens of informative sessions, live meet-ups, and 15 minutes quick-bite goldmine sessions you’ll walk away from this conference (and your computer) with new information and relationships. Whether you have the whole day or just an hour to spare, the sessions at NBOA will help prepare you to take on the challenges that lie ahead. We hope to see you there.